Balearic Islands


Research expedition: whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and rays

As a research participant aboard a marvelous old, yet newly refurbished sailing boat, you will explore the ocean searching for sea turtles, dolphins and whales with the help of binoculars. With expert guidance, you will document the sightings and help to identify the marine animals via photo identification. By doing so, you will significantly contribute to the pioneering work needed to protect these dolphin, whale and turtle species in the Mediterranean Sea off the Balearic Islands.

The sea around the Balearic Islands shows special oceanographic characteristics, like a steeply sloping underwater topography. This makes it an exceptional location for the study of the open ocean ecosystem and the ecology of great pelagic species. For large migratory species, such as sperm whales, pilot whales, loggerhead turtles and bluefin tuna, the waters of the Balearic Islands are considered to be an important habitat.

These species are legally protected by EU legislation as well as numerous other multilateral agreements. However, major gaps in knowledge prevail with respect to their distribution, migration routes, habitat use, and ecology, as well as the threats to which the sea turtles, dolphins, whales and tuna are exposed. Further research into these factors is a prerequisite for proper protection of marine biodiversity and habitats.

Alnitak’s successful citizen-science project has seen over 3000 volunteers, scientists and collaborators on-board its decks, from over 90 different countries. It bridges the gap between research and the general public, empowering citizens to protect and cherish our planet’s natural resources. Alnitak has recently joined forces with SAVE THE MED.

Under a new banner, known as SAVE THE MED EXPEDITIONS, it will continue to survey Marine Protected Areas around Cabrera National Park and Menorca. The expeditions will continue to map the abundance of key species like whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, seabirds and bluefin tuna, contributing to the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive and to the management schemes of MPAs.

Experts from Save the Med team are expanding the turtle-tagging program, as a team of elasmobranch researchers joins the surveys. The OASIS “Turtle Oceanographers” project becomes “MEDTOP- Animal Oceanographers”, as the expeditions aim to collect data on the threatened population of Mobula mobular in the Balearic Sea.

SAVE THE MED is also addressing the alarming rise of ghost fishing gear in the Mediterranean Sea, which poses a high threat of entanglement for many species of marine life, from turtles to cetaceans. Their team of scientists are putting forth a multi-level action plan to tackle this issue in 2020.

Endeavour for the protection of dolphins, whales and sea turtles

OceanCare endeavours to improve the management and conservation status of the dolphins, whales and sea turtles in the waters surrounding the Balearic Islands and thus co-operates in the international project OASIS together with the Spanish partner organisation SAVE THE MED (formerly know as ALNITAK and Asociación Ondine) More information. As part of this project, research on the movements, habitat use and ecology of loggerhead sea turtles, sperm whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, striped dolphins, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and bluefin tuna is conducted by using visual and acoustic methods as well as photo identification. OceanCare and SAVE THE MED are looking for research participants to assist in this research and conservation project for an unforgettable adventure.

Dates and Cost Participation

Living and conducting research aboard a marvelous old, yet newly refurbished sailing ship
Course language: English

Programme info & booking

Data protection
We, OceanCare (Club seat: Switzerland), process personal data for the operation of this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in our privacy policy.
Data protection
We, OceanCare (Club seat: Switzerland), process personal data for the operation of this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in our privacy policy.