Red Sea Dolphin Project

About this Adventure



Fact File:
Duration: 10 days
Price: £1,800 GBP minimum contribution




At least fifteen species of dolphins and whales are present in the Red Sea, but a lack of data hampers efforts at protection.

In some of the Egyptian Red Sea’s most pristine areas, you’ll be among the first using boat-based survey to help marine mammals.

The Red Sea is one of the richest marine wildlife environments in the world. Yet despite millions of visitors to the region every year, little is known about the ecology of its marine life – in particular the whales and dolphins inhabiting its waters. How many other species are present? Which habitats do they prefer? And most importantly, are they threatened by human activities? We need to answer these questions to help select appropriate management measures to preserve these wild populations and their habitats for the future generations.

On board HEPCA’s vessel, you’ll search for dolphins, track them, listen to them, closely observe their behaviour and collect essential data. You’ll carry out visual surveys looking for cetaceans and other animals, such as sea turtles, birds, jellyfish and flying fish. You’ll also learn how to record physiographic information such as wind strength and direction, wave height, and characteristics of shoreline and reefs, essential to understanding the habitat preferences of cetaceans. Through the use of a towed hydrophone you’ll listen to dolphins and use dedicated software to “see” their vocalizations. While anchored in small remote reefs you’ll snorkel to collect data about the reef and the fascinating marine life surrounding it.

This is your opportunity to learn about the sea, its marine wildlife and biological mechanisms while experiencing one of the world’s most unique and colourful underwater environments.

Meals and Accommodations
For the ten days spent at sea, you’ll live on board a 36 metre-long safari boat. The vessel is equipped with ten en-suite cabins, each with two single beds, a wardrobe, bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. Air-conditioning is available in the sleeping area.

The spacious saloon offers a comfortable lounging/dining space and is ideal to congregate, present lectures, watch movies and organize discussions and quiz games. Outdoors, there is an open semi-shadowed area (the sun deck) where volunteers can relax after day-work. Upstairs (the sky deck) there is a main observation platform, also offering a comfortable area for resting or simply enjoying the sun.

Meals are prepared by the crew and served in the large saloon. Water and soft drinks are included. (Fresh water from taps is not drinkable.) Breakfast is likely to include, bread, eggs, ham, baked beans, cheese, yoghurt, jam, butter, juices, tea, coffee and milk. Lunch and dinner may typically be rice or pasta, two different cooked vegetable dishes, fresh salad, one meat/fish hot dish, and fruits. Due to the remote location of the study area where only few shops are present, food choice availability may be limited and, unfortunately, veganism and severe food-intolerances cannot be accommodated.

About the Research Area

The Red Sea contains some of the world’s most important coastal and marine environments and resources. The great variety of reef types shows a structural complexity unmatched on Earth. The diversity of coral species is greater than anywhere else in the Indian Ocean and the number of endemic animals and plants is extremely high. More than 1,100 species of fish have been recorded, with about 10% of these being endemic. This rich diversity is in part due to 2000km of coral reefs, and other particular habitats, such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds, salt marshes and salt pans, distributed throughout the region. These unique habitats support a wide range of marine life, including sea birds, sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, sharks, rays, and hundreds of thousands of invertebrate species. Plunging into the Red Sea’s natural beauty is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.

The richness of the sea contrasts with the extreme aridness of the coastal landscape. The Red Sea is surrounded by desert or semi-desert area with no major freshwater inflow. Air temperatures range from 39 to 42°C in the summer and from 6 to 13°C in the winter. Average water surface temperature shows a minor variation, ranging from 27 to 31°C in summer with a minimum of 20°C in the winter. The region is sparsely populated, and no more than five million people are estimated to live along the coast. The major industries in the region are linked to oil exploration, extraction, processing and transport. Fisheries and tourism play an important role in the local economy.

For more information check out Earthwatch at the link below.

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