Cetacean Research Center - Elba Island
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Three days with the Cetacean Research Center
An experience of nature, sea and ... dolphins!
Most of us can say we have been to the sea at least once in our lives, but sailing the dolphin route, living for three days on a sailboat, is certainly not an everyday thing.
The Cetacean Research Center offered me the opportunity to board the "Altair" and make this experience, immersing myself in a world little known to me.
It was not, in fact, the "usual" boat trip, but an opportunity to get to know the sea, navigation techniques and, above all, the dolphins, these extraordinary mammals, which have always fascinated and intrigued us. Who, taking a ferry or a ship, has never hoped to see a group of dolphins jump on their own? Or the spray of a whale alongside the boat? Sailing with the boys of the Cetacean Research Center this desire can become a reality.
So much so that, thanks to the preparation of these expert researchers, it took me a few hours of navigation to come face to face with a group of dolphins intent on eating behind the train of a fishing boat. Attracted by our presence, the sub-adults immediately began to interact and "play" with us, swimming and "whistling" chaotically to the side and under the boat, just like euphoric teenagers. A few meters away, the mothers with their babies watched their "boys" have fun with us, giving the impression of keeping the situation under control.
I would never have thought I would be able to see dolphins so closely and be at the center of their attention, so much so as to strongly feel their liveliness and their marked sociability.
Alongside the joy and emotion of the sighting, however, we must not forget the research, the primary objective of the Center and fundamental in the knowledge and protection of our cetacean friends. Here, as soon as you return from the monitoring day, you move on to the actual study, through the analysis of the photos just taken for the identification of the specimens and theoretical lessons on the biology and ethology of cetaceans.
Reviewing the photos, comparing them with those contained in the database to recognize the characteristics of the dorsal fin and trace the identity of the individuals observed, makes you feel even more in tune with these beautiful animals. For example, imagine the excitement of discovering that the dolphin we have just seen was exactly the one adopted a short time before.
Surely, the encounter with the dolphins is the most exciting part of this adventure, but even in the event that bad luck persists, life on the "Altair" is not monotonous and between sailing lessons, sea stories and seminars on cetaceans , boredom is a feeling that just doesn't seem to exist. Furthermore, living for several days in close contact with other people, collaborating at all times for common goals, represents an opportunity for cultural and spiritual growth for everyone.
If all this is inserted in the enchanting setting of Elba, with unspoiled landscapes and breathtaking sunsets, the experience can only be truly unforgettable.
- Non-copyrighted image: Courtesy Photo Credit NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration);
- Non-copyrighted image: Courtesy Photo Credit NOAA.
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