Conservation work means a lot to everyone here and there is always a buzz when new species are spotted or a volunteer gets a great photo.
In April, I chose to do the Tenerife Dolphin and Whale Conservation programme with The Mighty Roar because I’m currently on a gap year and I wanted to try something completely different. I have only done some wildlife conservation in my local area and protecting wildlife is very important to me, so I wanted it to be a learning experience too as I had little knowledge of cetaceans.
I decided to book through The Mighty Roar because I felt the programme was reasonably priced compared to other volunteer companies I had looked at and the website showed a broad range of activities you could do with lots of information. My flights there and back went without a hitch as I had kept in contact with the local team in Arona and their driver collected me on time and was immediately friendly and helpful which was reassuring for me as a solo traveller.
"I would recommend this project because being so close to these amazing creatures really does brighten up your day and it's been really interesting finding out all about the marine life. Would definitely go back!"
On my first day, I was given the tour of the facilities and then I helped cleaning the main house as this is the procedure of when you have a ‘house day’ instead of a day being on the boats.
Then for the rest of the day I started some of the conservation work; this included identifying the whales and dolphins via ‘fin shots’ which are photographed by people on the boats. The most common species I was identifying was the Short-Finned Pilot Whales and the Bottlenose dolphin.
After this day I did feel slightly overwhelmed and a little homesick but this is because I’m a bit new to individual travel! I soon cheered up because the other volunteers made me feel right at home and the next day on the boats was incredible.
The boat days start at 8.30am and last the majority of the day. The day involves recording the sightings of any species you see and getting photographs so that volunteers can identify local or migratory species when back at the house. This is as well as interacting with tourists and answering any questions they have about the cetaceans, but also explaining the effect that plastic pollution is having on the creatures. We also encouraged tourists to sign a petition ‘to end plastic pollution’ as this raises awareness of the issue and hopefully, they will make more green options in the future.
At the weekend I explored Los Christianos the local city and had a chilled day at the beach as the temperatures got up to 26 degrees Celsius. The local town of Arona is a really nice place to explore with hiking trails and lots of history. In the evening a group of us went for a meal and explored the night market at Los Christianos. We also went to an outdoor swimming pool over looking the sea, a really lovely place to relax after a busy week!
I was there with six other volunteers and three team co-ordinators, Katrina, Luke and Theresa during the time I was there, and I’ve definitely made friends for life. There is a nice atmosphere because the conservation work means a lot to everyone and there’s always a buzz when a new species is spotted or someone gets a great snap of the day. Not just the volunteers but the people of Tenerife and the boat owners are always happy to help. The accommodation is similar to hostel facilities; hot showers, bunkbeds and loads of tea and coffee – it was great!
I would recommend this project because being so close to these amazing creatures really does brighten up your day and its been really interesting finding out all about the programme. Would definitely go back!