WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?
Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in one of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trusts Cetacean Research Surveys. Participants will assist our Science Officer aboard our research vessel, Silurian, collecting valuable visual and acoustic data in the Hebrides (off the west coast of Scotland). Volunteers will learn about the different species that inhabit the waters off western Scotland, learning fundamental techniques used to study the populations and witnessing them first hand in the wild. Volunteers will live aboard Silurian, travelling all over the Hebrides, exploring the remotest parts of the Scotland and experiencing it’s awesome land and seascapes.
HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?
The Cetacean Research Surveys run from May until October and the duration of individual surveys is between 9 and 12 days.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?
No qualifications are required and full training will be provided to all volunteers. By the end of the survey you will be proficient in UK cetacean species and UK seabird identification. There is also the opportunity to learn sailing skills during the survey.
WHAT LANGUAGE WILL I NEED TO KNOW?
All communication aboard will be in English.
HOW DO I GET TO YOUR LOCATION?
The surveys rendezvous in either Tobermory (on the Isle of Mull) or Kyle of Lochalsh (where the bridge to the Isle of Skye is). While remote, these locations have good transport links and HWDTs Volunteer Coordinator can assist in helping you make travel plans. The nearest international airports are in Glasgow and Edinburgh. You would then need to undertake either a train or bus journey and (if rendezvous in Tobermory) a ferry journey too. As mentioned, both locations have good transport links and advice can be provided if necessary.
ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER?
Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with HIBRIDEAN WHALE AND DOLPHIN TRUST.
WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, MEALS AND FACILITIES CAN I EXPECT TO BE AVAILABLE TO ME?
HWDT have catered for many dietary requirements in the past and have yet to come across one that we couldn’t provide for.
WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?
Common dolphin, Minke whale, Bottlenose dolphin, White beaked dolphin, Orca. However, there is also the opportunity to see porpoise, Risso’s dolphins, basking sharks, sun fish and a myriad of sea bird species.
WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?
Each evening Silurian will anchor in a different island location (there are approximately 550 islands in the Hebrides), usually off remote islands that are difficult to access via public transport. Volunteers will have free time in the evenings to explore these islands; their wealth of terrestrial flora and fauna, each with a different history and culture that make them unique. By joining HWDT aboard you will have the ultimate Hebridean experience.
HWDT is a bonafide research organisation, having published many scientific papers and contributed to the better understanding of cetaceans off western Scotland. HWDT have helped quantify the populations of bottlenose dolphins, minke whale and orca, detailed the fine scale habitat preference of porpoise and helped develop acoustic tags for white beaked dolphins. HWDTs Cetacean Research Surveys are a grass roots project run by the charity itself so no money contributes to an umbrella or marketing organisation. All contributions made by the volunteers go directly to the charity and enable HWDT to continue monitoring the cetacean populations in the Hebrides.
For more information on HEBRIDEAN WHALE AND DOLPHIN TRUST, please visit www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk
For important information on travelling overseas, please read ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO WILD!‘