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Jacqueline Simoneau - Tenerife Whale and Dolphin  Conservation

There are all sorts of reasons to go volunteering, you just need to find yours! In Tenerife, one volunteer and Canadian Olympian joined the project for a change of pace from competition. Have a read of how Jacqueline got on.

1.    Why did you choose this particular project?

I chose the Marine conservation project in Tenerife because I wanted to try and learn something completely out of my realm of knowledge. Curious by nature, I love to learn new things and learning about Cetaceans and conservation work interested me. I was also looking for a change in my daily and monthly routine. I came to Tenerife right after competing in the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest where my schedule consisted mainly of training and competing 12+hrs of the day. The Marine Conservation project in Tenerife was a great change of pace after a busy competition. It provided me the time to rest and recuperate after my competition but also allowed me to learn new things and have a hands on experience.

2.    What kind of work and activities did you do during your project?

There were many activities throughout the project. I took part in coastal surveys, monitoring the migration of whales and dolphins and how the tourists may have an influence on this. We also did beach cleans followed by some community work, educating tourists on various facts including legal and illegal whale watching boats. We also went on a boat and saw whales and dolphins. We collected data upon each sighting on the boat.

3.    How did the culture and people differ to home? What were the locals like?

The locals were very friendly and welcome. Spanish is my third language and this was a wonderful opportunity to practice and converse with some of the locals.

4.    What was the accommodation like?

The frontier volunteer house was different than anything I have ever stayed in before. I'm fortunate to travel the world for training competitions but have never stayed in an accommodation like this one before. What made it unique was its location up in the mountains by the banana plantations. Walking/jogging to the store down the hill in the morning is something that I will never forget - such a nice way to begin the day with such beautiful desert like scenery.

5.    What were the staff and other volunteers like?

I was very lucky to share a room with two other passionate volunteers. I believe there was about 38 volunteers or so total in the house and there was always something to do! Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

6.    What was the most amazing moment and what's your best memory?

I find it hard to just pick one moment that stood out because there were so many amazing moments in Tenerife. I will never forget my second day in Tenerife when we went kayaking with dolphins in Los Cristianos. Going up Mount Teide and doing the Masca trail were two other incredible moments. Seeing a whale for the first time on the boat survey was an unforgettable moment as well!

7.    What were you hoping to learn while on project and have you achieved those goals?

Prior to the project I was curious and wanted to learn more about Cetaceans and marine conservation. I have now achieved this goal and have even put this knowledge to test when going whale watching in Iceland a few weeks after the project.

8.    What sort of wildlife did you encounter?

During the boat surveys and while we were kayaking we got to see short fin pilot whales really close as well as a few other types of dolphin including bottlenose and common. It was amazing!

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

To future volunteers: have fun and come in with an open mind ready to learn! There is so much to see and do in Tenerife that you will never be bored!

10.    What do you have planned next?

Either before or after the next summer Olympics I would to go and volunteer in Africa. I think I would like to gear my volunteer services more towards the first aid/ medical field, but would also love to give teaching English as a second language a try!

By Jacqueline Simoneau - Tenerife Whale and Dolphin Volunteer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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