This Sea-ecotrip includes acoustic and visual cetacean surveys, especially of the three species of dolphins that live in these waters and visual observation of the biggest seal species in the world, the Medditeranean monk seal, Monachus monachus. We will also snorkel and get acquainted with pristine underwater habitats with the help of our biologist who will introduce you to the basics of fauna and flora identification.
• Watch the cetaceans and listen to their communication received with a hydrophone.
• Participate in locating the cetaceans by searching with binoculars and using the hydrophone.
• Assist in recording the visual and acoustic observations of cetaceans.
• Collect micro-organisms by employing a towed net and observe via the aid of a micro-scope the different living organisms.
• Get further informed about cetaceans and the research methods used, by being exposed to lectures and printed material.
• Enjoy observing the cetaceans in their natural environment or through videos.
• Visit remote and beautiful cavern-cave systems, which are the habitat of the endangered seal species Monachus monachus at the end of the work day.
• Experience the unique traditional tastes and the local nightlife.
Day 1 (Saturday)
After a short briefing on board at about 5pm that the mistral wind has already built up we set our sails heading south towards Meganisi island, where we will spend the night away from the crowdy and noisy marina of Lefkas town. There will be plenty of time to settle down on the boat and get to know each other over a nice meal at Errikos Fish restaurant, famous for the variety and freshness of seafood.
Day 2 (Sunday)
We wake up early in the morning, as today sailing and dolphin spotting is on our agenda by the use of our Hydrophone that will help us listen the vocalizations of dolphins in the inner Ionian. During midday we will have a stop to the deserted island of Atokos, which is an area that offers hospitality to many rare species, like the pigmy cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus and the best spot to get acquainted with pristine underwater habitats with the help of our biologist. By late noon that Mistral will be at its strength we will set up our sails towards the picturesque village of Kioni, where we will spend our night and where you can taste the local delicacies of Angeliki.
Day 3 (Monday)
The route from Ithaka to west Kefalonia is one of the best places for dolphin spotting. Herds of few members are foraging in the area and the more common species are the bottle-nosed dolphin Tursiops truncatus, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis and the stripped dolphin Stenella caeruleoalba. We’ll take advantage of the hydrophone in our boat in order to listen to their magical voices and track them down. We sail towards Kefalonia where we spend the night in Assos.
Day 4 (Tuesday)
We sail early morning towards the west till we reach the contour of 600-1000 meters, which is the habitat of the sperm whales and the short beaked whales; by using the hydrophone we locate them through their vocalizations. This is by far the best place of the Ionian where these species live and hunt the giant squids. We end up in Ag Nikolaos, a nice harbor at the north east part of Zakynthos.
Day 5 (Wednesday)
Early morning we sail at the northern part of Zakynthos, where we will visit the numerous blue caves, home of the protected species of the Monachus monachus seals. During midday that the mistral wind starts to blow we will sail towards the east part of Kefalonia and end up in Poros from where we can visit the Melissani caves. In Greek mythology, Melissani was the cave of the nymphs. The cave was rediscovered in 1951. The groundwater of Melissani cave outflows at the “Fridi” beach. This brackish water is part of a famous hydrogeological phenomena : seawater is sucked in the west part of the island of Kefalonia, near Argotoli, and expelled in the bay of Sami. In Argostoli, the seawater flows into sinkholes, named katavothres, where water mill turns.
Day 6 (Thursday)
We sail northwards towards the bay of Polis, where we will spend the night at anchor. On its left coast used to stand the Cave of Loizos, which was used as a temple of worship to the Nymphs and Odysseus (Ulysses) during the ancient times. We will hike up the village of Stavros and visit the small but interesting museum of Ulysses and then have a lunch stop at the restaurant of Polyfymous.
Day 7 (Friday)
We sail towards the island of Meganisi and end up in Atherinios bay where we can visit the traditional and unspoiled village of Katomeri for a dinner and probably a nice Greek night out with live music and dancing.
Day 8 (Saturday)
Early in the morning we sail towards our base at Lefkas marina. Please note that all the photographs and specimen that you may collect during the week will be offered to scientists to assist them in their data collection and researches.
All observations of cetaceans by the Homo Delphinus team are done according to the concerning National and European Laws, the ratified by Greece International Environmental Agreements and the IFAW and ACCOBAMS guidelines concerning the observation of cetaceans (A review of whale watch guidelines and regulation around the world version 2008), in support of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of cetaceans in Greece (Notarbartiolo di Sciara G and Beargi G.).