20 – 30 May · 11 days
Starts in: Almerimar, Almeria
Ends in: Tarifa, Cadiz
Area: Alborán Sea and Strait of Gibraltar
DOWNLOAD FULL INFORMATION: Alboran_2023-compressed
Alnitak crew and volunteers will monitor the open sea ecosystem and in particular sites such as the “Seco de los Olivos” seamount, Cabo de Gata Natural Park, the waters around Alborán Island and possibly even off the North African coast (conditions permitting), ending around the Strait of Gibraltar.
Alborán is known to be the most biodiverse basin of the Mediterranean Sea, but wildlife here is exposed to multiple threats. Of these, Alnitak focuses on illegal fishing and ghost gear, and in particular pelagic drift nets which have been prohibited since 2002 but are still in use. In recent years, Alnitak has observed a perceived decline in cetaceans in the region, but we need to do more research to confirm this. Taking data and imagery of species such as common dolphins and pilot whales, while also monitoring the threats they face, is our main aim for these expeditions.
Volunteers are vital to our work
Your share of 1100 Euros (calculated at 100 euros/day) covers living costs while on board plus supports the scientific programs. It also includes membership, and is tax-deductible.
Life on Toftevaag
Depending on the weather and sea conditions, there are different types of days. Ideally, when conditions are adequate we aim to spend as much time as possible in the open and deep waters of the Mediterranean. This means waking up often as early as 5 AM to get going. You will be divided into pairs and trained to help take scientific data on wildlife and human activities, help sail the ship, and do other chores such as cooking and cleaning. When the weather is less ideal, there is still plenty to do such as ship maintenance, data entry, coastal clean ups and our “Monitoring the Open Sea” lectures. Every single expedition is unique due to weather, sea state, wildlife that we may encounter, harbours, the crew and volunteers on board, and more variables, meaning that there is an aspect of uncertainty and excitement that adds to the sense of adventure.
Below is a video made by one of our volunteers, Siri, who joined Toftevaag in 2021. Here, she tells her experience on board: