Northern Aegean Dolphin Researcher

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founded in 1988
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Coordinator | Dimitri
Coordinator | Dimitri
Take part in our project to record the dolphin populations in the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
In the summer of 2013, the non-profit, non-governmental organization MOm / Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal initiated the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project (N.A.D.P.), a research project for evaluating the conservation status of Cetacean populations (i.e., dolphins and whales) in the wider area of the National Marine Park of Alonnisos, Northern Sporades (NMPANS) in Greece. By monitoring the dolphin population, we can also evaluate the status of the Park (fish stock, water purity, etc.). 
Over the past few years the interest in the project has been growing steadily and we now have reached a point where people from all over the world visit Alonissos in the summer to participate in the project. The first available dates are in the beginning of June and last all summer long until mid - September. 

The expeditions are daily and for 7 days you will get the chance to witness and photograph some of the most fascinating wildlife in the Aegean Archipelago, visit unique locations and come across amazing landscapes and breathtaking sceneries. At the same time, you will be able to meet new people from all over the world and exchange ideas, make new friends and share this experience with other like-minded individuals! Most of the participants have been coming back year after year and have brought more of their friends and family to share this adventure with!

The participants of the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project reside in MOm's very own apartment, located in the port of Alonnisos. It is just a two-minute walk from the port and from MOm's Information Center. The apartment has a panoramic view of the port and it includes two bedrooms, a living room and a fully-equiped kitchen. All the cooking utensils are provided by MOm, however, participants are always welcome to bring anything they might need for their dietary needs. The electrical supply is rated at 240V, so please make sure to bring appropriate chargers and adapters to avoid any accidents if your country has a different voltage rating. There is also free WiFi Internet access. Cleaning takes place once every week, however, during that time, the participants are responsible for keeping their living quarters tidy. 

The apartment features a fully-equiped kitchen, complete with all utensils, both for cooking and dining. The participants are provided with a daily budget to purchase supplies from the local stores and supermarkets to prepare and cook their own breakfast and lunch. They can also pack it and take it with them aboard the boat to enjoy on deck during a break in the expedition out at sea. We encourage participants to prepare different recipes from their home countries and share them with the rest of the team, as part of the cultural exchange process of the project. This process is the reason why we ask for any specific dietary needs or intolerances of our project participants so that the rest of the group is aware and to properly prepare the right kind of lunch or breakfast. For dinner, the participants are free to go out to town and try the local cuisine in one of the many restaurants and tavernas around the island.

Every morning, after the participants have had their breakfast and prepared their lunch, they head out to the port and board our 13 meter-long research vessel, "IFAW - Odysseia". It's a traditionally crafted Greek caique, fully modernized and equipped with the latest in safety and research equipment. It is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and shower, as well as two cabins for the participants to rest if necessary. The captain is a local resident of the island with decades of nautical experience, who knows every nook and cranny in the National Marine Park. During the surveys in the field the participants will look out to the open sea for any signs of dolphins using the equipment provided by the project and will take pictures that are going to be used later on to identify individuals and groups in order to catalog the local dolphin population. Because this activity can be challenging, each expedition includes several breaks in beautiful, secluded and inaccessible beaches to have a snack or a lunch, rest and swim. The participants are always encouraged to record and photograph their experiences, so if you have any special equipment, you are welcome to bring it on board and use it. If you wish to scuba dive or snorkel, being an experienced diver is required. The expeditions are, however, always dependent on the weather conditions, because even slightly rough seas make it nearly impossible to spot dorsal fins at a distance. In any case, the participants will have the chance to visit other parts of the island, go hiking and sightseeing and experience the local culture during the time they would otherwise be out to sea. 

In order to participate in the Project, applicants must be:
  • Older than 18 years old. Minors from 11-17 years old may participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be fully responsible for them throughout the Project.
  • Able to speak English or Greek in order to communicate with other project participants and team members. Seminars are also held in English and Greek.
  • Highly adaptable with life on a boat.
  • A good swimmer.
  • In a good physical and mental health. All project participants must inform MOm of any possible physical/medical conditions before coming to the field.
  • Willing to share a room with people of the opposite sex.

Typical day

A typical day is described below:

  • 8 a.m. - Wake up and prepare breakfast
  • 9 a.m. - Meet with the boat and the captain in the port and board.
  • 9 to 10 a.m. - Some time before the recording starts, ideal to prepare the equipment and get set-up
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Dolphin spotting and recording
  • 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Lunch break
  • 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Second stage of dolphin spotting and recording
  • 4 p.m. - Return to port and the apartment
  • 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Rest period
  • 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Photograph import and preparation for next day (e.g. lunch etc.)
  • 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. - Free time

Free-time activities

The participants are offered free time after 19:00 to enjoy the island and what it offers. The coordinator can accompany them if they wish to or give them directions and suggestions about where to go. 

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Required Documents
Student ID (if applicable)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by MOm

The fee covers everything in the project, including breakfast and lunch, accommodation and the daily expeditions. Discount available for students (high school, college or university).


The apartment consists of two rooms, a two-bed bedroom and a four-bed bedroom, 1 WC and one bathroom, a living room and a fully equipped kitchen.

Food & Beverages

Breakfast and lunch included. Everything is prepared by hand every day. A budget is provided to purchase ingredients from the supermarket. The kitchen is equipped with all utensils and cooking equipment. It also includes all necessary condiments (salt, pepper, etc.). 

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) in Athens. We assist you to find cheap flights to Greece.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Greece provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Greece you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Greece.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The project is weekly and lasts for 7 days (6 nights). Participants are expected to arrive on Monday of each week and leave on Sunday. Depending on ferry schedules, they might have to leave on Saturday evening. 

To get to Alonissos, there are 3 ways:
  • From Athens, you need to take a bus to Agios Konstantinos or Mantoudi or Volos - and then a ferry to Alonissos.
  • From Thessaloniki, there is a direct ferry to Alonissos from the port (or you can catch a bus to Volos as well)

Please keep in mind that depending on the route you select, you might have to spend one night in either Athens or Thessaloniki (if you are arriving by plane for example) and one more night for your return. DO NOT BOOK YOUR PLANE TICKETS THE SAME DAY (ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE). It takes about 6 hours to get to and from Alonissos and you are facing the risk of missing your flight. The schedule for the ferries depends on the tourist season and is not always stable (beginning of June and end of September). 

The first week of the project is on 10th of June 2019 (Monday)
The last week of the project is on 17th of September 2019 (Monday)

Every week in between is available (starting Monday)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 1 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 1,099
1 week (max. stay)
$ 1,099
Average fees
$ 1,099 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. MOm will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with MOm during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or cash at arrival at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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All program fees are charged directly by MOm.

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  Europe Southern Europe Greece  Alonissos, Patitiri

Northern Aegean Dolphin Researcher

Take part in our project to record the dolphin populations in the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades


from $ 1,099
see price table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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