Through The Eyes Of The Field Staff 

Xiana, from the snow in the peruvian Andes to the salty ocean of Tenerife!

Tenerife is an island. OK, you might say, we already know this. But it´s always worth pointing it out, because somehow, that physical isolation gives it some of its unique features: loads of endemic plants, many native reptiles (of the Lacertidae family -lizards- but surprisingly not a single native snake!), absence of natural predators (big issues due to introduction of cats, who unfortunately love hunting lizards)... and ocean, ocean and ocean. The blue ocean you see everywhere, saying hello and goodbye to the sun every day!

The particular physical characteristics of the aquatic surroundings here in South Tenerife makes the area ideal for cetaceans, so ideal that some of them stopped migrating! This is the case of the short-finned pilot whale (Globycephala macrorhynchus, calderón tropical in Spanish). This member of the dolphin´s family is the iconic species that attracts thousands of people from over the world. Actually, it is claimed that this is the place of the world with the highest number of whale-watching tourists of the world. This might be due to the nice weather all year round (even though winter is kind of chilly, especially if you are off the coast), but also because you just have to go a couple of miles off the coast to see whales, dolphins, bryde´s whales...

After my first boat trip I understood why this charismatic animals are so loved around the world, just to see a group of mothers swimming with its babies makes your day bright, and hearing them communicating gives a meaning to life! (Yes, I´m dramatising here, who says I can´t?)

But Tenerife land treasures are great also, I specially love plants here, because they´ve gone through. For example we have this, they look like cactus but they´re not, they are euphorbias. And many crassulaceas, plants specialized in storing water, like the celebrity Aloe vera (not putting it in the picture because it is a celebrity indeed).

This first few weeks have been hectic around here, hectic and fructiferous, going on the boats, training research assistants, organising talks with boat´s captains... and the most tiring activity of all: lying-on-the-beach-swimming-in-the-ocean. My best part was when after sailing for hours on the Bonadea II, trying to spot a bryde´s whale (Balaenoptera edeni), the captain decided to come back to port, and on our way back a beautiful calve of bryde´s whale emerged a few meters from the boat! Life is awesome.

Here my proof (the picture was taken by Sandra, one of our great volunteers):

And I´m ending with a picture of a real cactus, (sorry, don´t know the species right now!) around the project´s house, just because I love it (and notice the soil, so volcanic!)

By Xiana - Project Manager

Find out more about Frontier's Whale & Dolphin Conservation Project in Tenerife.

Check out what volunteers in Tenerife are up to right now!


I feel like I am making a difference

I arrived on the project on Sunday to find out I was the first volunteer on the project. I helped the staff get ready for the rest of the volunteers and also had some time to relax in the sun.

It was nice to meet the other volunteers and find out their backgrounds. Both staff members are very friendly and helpful which is great. We had an introduction to the project were I learnt about some of the different types of whales and dolphins. This made me excited to go out on the boat. My first trip on the boat was amazing as I saw both Pilot Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins. It is lovely to see them in their natural environment, instead of in aquariums. Although they did not come close to the boat, you could still see them clearly.

The project has the right balance of work and leisure. In my free time I am able to go to the beach or stay by the pool. At the weekend I will be going snorkeling, which should be fun.

I wanted to do this project as I have a huge love for all animals and dolphins are one of my favorite animals. I also wanted to gain experience volunteering and feel like I have made a difference. I am enjoying the project and would recommend it to my friends and family.

By Emma

Find out more about Frontier's Whale & Dolphin Conservation Project in Tenerife.

Check out what volunteers in Tenerife are up to right now!


I’m learning a lot!

I always wanted to study marine biology so I thought this project would be a great opportunity for me. I wanted to work as a volunteer for this summer and I found this great company which is Frontier. I’m really keen on animals and its conservation so that’s another reason why I choose this project.

The volunteer’s house is great! It’s quite big and really nice, we keep it pretty clean. I share room with other volunteers and each of us can get their own food and prepare their meals; however, from Monday to Friday we take turns and cook for the rest of us, we have a great time while cooking and it gives you the chance to learn new recipes. The staff and our coordinators are amazing, they are always there to help and suggesting new ideas or activities. There are volunteers from different cultures so we can learn from them and make new friends! People here are so friendly.

We are trying to find out how boats affect cetaceans behavior, we go sailing and take some data as well as pictures of the different cetacean species and this allow us to know how many residents we have around the island. We also inform tourist about these incredible animals to raise awareness among tourists of the importance of their conservation.

In our free time we do different activities such as parasailing or scuba diving. This project allows you to combine work and leisure living new experiences that you will never forget. We also have some time to look for some information and work in personal project as well as doing some trips about the island and get to know Spanish culture better.

To sum up, I’m learning a lot with this project and I’ll be able to apply new knowledge in my personal career. At the same time, I’m feeling so great about myself because I feel I’m helping to protect animals and its natural habitat.

By Sandra

Find out more about Frontier's Whale & Dolphin Conservation Project in Tenerife.

Check out what volunteers in Tenerife are up to right now!


Life out in Tenerife

Why did you choose this particular project?

We chose this project because it was only a short flight from Irish airports and the currency and time was the same. We also were drawn to this project because of the age profile of 16+, but what made us decide definitely to go here was the opportunity to work closely with cetaceans and have a positive impact in their lives.

What kind of work and activities are you doing during your project?

We spend some days on whale watching boats observing and photographing the animals. We are monitoring their behaviour towards the boats and also trying to identify family groups and new individuals. When we are not doing this we are in the house uploading the photographs and working on personal projects about the island’s wildlife and the cetaceans.

How does the culture and people differ to home, and what are the locals like?

All of the local people we meet are very friendly and happy to help us out E.g. on buses and in shops. Most of the people here speak English and are very happy to have tourists. A lot of the people here were on holidays from the UK or retired from the UK. Everyone is very laid back and there is always a brilliant atmosphere.

What is the accommodation like?

The house we are staying in is very spacious. The bedrooms have bunk beds and hold 4-5 people. The bathrooms are clean. There is a roof terrace and balcony with lovely views of the town and countryside. The ocean, town centre, supermarkets and bus stops are only a 5-minute walk from the house. The kitchen is well equipped and there are lounge chairs and a swimming pool outside.

What are the staff and other volunteers like?

The frontier team are very informative, helpful and on-hand to deal with any problems and organise activities and day trips for our free time. The other volunteers are brilliant, interesting people who make the trip so enjoyable. Although we were of all ages and ethnicities, we have become like a big family.

What is your most amazing moment or your best memory so far?

We can’t even start to pick a favourite memory from our trip. In our free time we are able to explore the area and find beautiful coves to swim in. We have done a range of activities from scuba diving to site seeing. We definitely have to say that seeing the whales and dolphins in their natural habitat is spectacular and unforgettable.

Do you feel the work you are doing is worthwhile?

We feel that 100% that the work that we do here is worthwhile and beneficial to the animals and future volunteers. We are gathering a large amount of data whilst being here and have also collected signatures for a petition against whaling. The more we observe the animals the more motivated we are to get people to sign and stop these intelligent creatures from being killed.

What sort of wildlife do you encounter out here?

We encounter many different types of cetaceans like short finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins and many other animals such as lizards, indigenous birds and turtles.

What are you hoping to learn whilst on the project, and are you achieving these goals?

We are both hoping to make a positive impact on the lives of the amazing animals that live here and we definitely hope we can achieve this goal. Also we want to gain independence and life experience for the future and the freedom of the project allows us to achieve this.

Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?

Bring lots of sun cream and wear it even when it’s cloudy, learn a few Spanish phrases such as “where is the bus station” or “I don’t speak Spanish”. You will have a lot of free time so bring books, movies and cards to entertain yourself.

By Orla Walsh and Katherine Battles.

Find out more about Frontier's Whale & Dolphin Conservation Project in Tenerife.

Check out what volunteers in Tenerife are up to right now!

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