Before settling in to a sea turtle rescue center for hands-on research and conservation work, spend the first few days orienting yourself to the astounding beauty of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Upon arrival in Naples, the group has time to get acquainted, then it’s off to a villa-style hotel in the scenic and artsy village of Ravello. Take in the stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea then set out to hike the Valle delle Ferriere, a nature reserve teeming with rocky pathways, clear streams, waterfalls and ruins. The trekking continues on the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ or ‘Walk of the Gods.’ Discover wild gorges and make stops along the way to peer out at the colorful Italian towns and beaches down below. Then, find yourself in the midst of lemon groves where you’ll learn all about lemon production and the art of cooking with the citrus
Channel your inner biologist
Arrive in the rustic, coastal town of Policoro, home to a wildlife refuge and the setting for our focused work with sea turtles and dolphins. After an open water snorkel, spend mornings delving into the history of turtles in this region while also performing daily nest walks. Learn turtle monitoring techniques from experts and put them into practice as we survey loggerhead turtles. Summer is nesting season for this fascinating species, providing numerous opportunities to engage in hands-on caring, including rescue, rehabilitation, assisted tagging and turtle feeding. A mind-blowing day trip to the nearby canyon town of Matera will enlighten you as we descend into cave dwellings that were home to Italy’s earliest settlers. Once we’ve gotten our hands wet working with turtles, it’s time to venture out and begin our dolphin research. Climb aboard a catamaran and head into the Gulf of Taranto and Northern Ionian Sea. Here, you’ll learn to use nautical instruments that help track dolphin in open waters. Practice species identification, record sightings, plus analyze dolphin behavior.
Explore, adventure, repeat
Next stop: Greece. Set up camp in Rethymno, a picturesque beachside town on the island of Crete, and spend days conducting sea turtle surveys, relocating threatened nests, building turtle pathways to the sea and constructing protective barriers. You and your team of fellow turtle researchers will also take part in a public awareness campaign to help educate locals on the significance and importance of sea turtle conservation. During downtime, take a small wooden boat through Diros Cave, navigating caverns dripping with awe-inspiring stalactite and stalagmite formations. We even find time to learn about olive oil production at a nearby olive grove.
In the footsteps of the Ancient Greeks
The last part of our journey is no less thrilling as we spend two days and nights in the remote and mountainous Chora Sfakion. Stay in a quaint and authentic Greek village and spend days snorkeling, hiking the majestic Imbros Gorge, exploring caves and relaxing on the beach as only Greeks know how. Before flying home, ready to build upon our knowledge of marine science, we close the adventure with a delicious Greek meal and a trip to the Acropolis, the ancient citadel that towers proudly over Athens.