Our mornings start early in Ponta! If we are launching one can expect to be up at sunrise in preparation for the days dolphin sessions at sea. After a quick cuppa and snack you will head down to our dolphin center where you will assist with guest preparations for their encounter with wild dolphins in the open ocean. This will include assisting with welcoming and registration, pre-briefings and gear allocation.
This normally takes about an hour, after which you will head to sea with the Dolphin Team to look for dolphins and whales during season. Once located, time will be spent collecting data that includes photography, acoustics, environmental and behavioral.
Time is dedicated to the capturing of ‘fin shots’ for the Dolphins of Ponta id project. A set of steady sea legs, a good eye and some photography skills might find you behind the lens. Private cameras can be brought along to help with the project and your images will be added to the extensive data base.
Depending on dolphins behavior, we will enter into the water for observations and further collection via underwater video & cameras. Volunteers will be asked to undertake certain tasks in the water which may include assisting participants, photography and dolphin counts. One can expect to be at sea for around two hours at a time depending on sea state.
Once back on land volunteers assist with de-briefing participants, rinsing & sorting gear. Time for a quick hour break with breakfast before heading to the office where specific post launch activities take place that include camera cleaning, capturing and sorting of days images and data. After a two hour lunch break, the afternoon is spent working on other tasks.
An early dinner is served and the evening is yours. Turtle season may find you accompanying local monitors on their routine walks which are set to the tide (ever changing).
DERC is situated in Ponta do Ouro on the southern most tip of Moçambique, bordering South Africa. To the south, there is a long line of forest covered dunes, 100m in elevation. At Ponta point, the coast swings to the west, creating a leeward protected bay. The area of the town is 10 km2, & located 117 km south of Maputo.
The area is characterised by a warm sub-tropical climate. The warm currents from the Agulhas determine the temperature, the composition of the sea water &, indirectly, the north-south orientation of the coastline. The rainy season broadly coincides with the hot months, between November & March, though most provinces have some rain for seven to nine months of the year. Winter is July to September, but in the coastal areas the average temperature generally does not fall below 12 degrees celsius in the evenings. The continental shelf extends about six NMs offshore with the easterly seaward boundary extending to 3NMs. The predominant Agulhas current flows strongly south while inshore countercurrents flowing northwards occur commonly.
Generally work time is until 4pm daily except for Saturdays and Sundays where work will finish after post launch activities. Volunteers are allocated one off day per week to explore the area, surf, scuba dive, kite board, sup or simply just chill. As tourism is seasonal, there are times where you can experience much down time. During peak periods though, we are in full swing and you can expect to work long, hot hours with extensive visitor & dolphin interaction. Participants will share the daily routine, with each person designated a specific job per time period. Volunteers may be called upon to assist with animal strandings, turtle monitoring, & guest educational & snorkelling sessions. The program caters towards individuals wanting ﬁeld experience, tourism experience, or simply a career break or sabbatical.
The ﬁrst week of the program will be spent working closely with team members in training & learning set protocols, in order to maintain the integrity of the project.