We will work in what is probably the Balearic Island’s best kept secret: the Tramuntana mountains. Here we will immerse ourselves in our ongoing marine conservation and research programmes while enjoying the day to day of a Mediterranean rural lifestyle.

This is a new and exciting type of Alnitak expedition, in which volunteers actively participate in its development and hopefully success in years to come. The end goal is to establish ourselves here in Tramuntana, developing our scientific projects on wildlife and the risks they face but also actively working alongside locals such as artisanal fishermen. The mountain range of “Serra de Tramuntana” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with villages surrounded by valleys planted with orange and almond trees, with terraces where ancient olive trees grow. It extends for 90 km.

Our base camp will be a small mountain rural house “Cortijo” owned by one of the local fishermen, Gori, who we collaborate with. On good sea days we will work either from Alnitak’s RIB “Iruka” or Gori’s small artisanal fishing vessel “Passador”. On bad sea days, we will dedicate time to a variety of chores such as renovating our new campsite, the rural house, data entry, and more. We will do our best to live sustainably, acquiring our groceries from the local farmers markets, and breaking up daily chores between the whole team. 

Our main port will be the picturesque town of Sóller (about 15 minutes from our base by car), and transects at Sea will be designed to survey the Tramuntana escarpment, home to a variety of species such as striped dolphins and Risso’s dolphins. The Risso’s dolphins were recently classed as Endangered by the IUCN in the Mediterranean Sea, and we will try to take as much data and imagery as possible from encounters. In the case of loggerhead turtles, our main goal is to tag them with satellite trackers which allows us to learn about their ecology. We will also be reporting on drifting ghost gear, such as “ghost FADs” which are rudimentary artefacts that often entangle and kill turtles and cetaceans. 

Julia Ochs and Alexander Sanchez surveying the sea