There are some beautiful stories worth telling. Oceanus is one of them. It is an international nonprofit organisation created by some sea lovers, biologists, scuba divers, skippers and scholars. All people who know, study and love sea. All people who are committed to protect and supervise it.
Oceanus was born 11 years ago with the aim to take a census of marine mammals, whales and dolphins, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Atlantic Ocean. Today, it conducts some environmental awareness actions, scientific research promotion and development to defend and preserve marine ecosystems.
The boats used in their campaigns are often provided by their partners. A small crew has just leaved on a Lagoon 45 from Les Sables-d’Olonne, on the French Atlantic Coast, to Gibraltar, where they will be joined by some other partners from all around the world.
From left, Fabio Siniscalchi, Markos Spyropoulos and Franco Casagrande on Lagoon 45 just before leaving from Les Sables-d’Olonne
“ From Gibraltar, we’ll sail in the Mediterranean Sea for about three weeks – explains Fabio Siniscalchi, President of Oceanus – to take a census of whales and dolphins. But, above all, we’ll act as sea sentinels“.
Fabio tell us a typical sighting day. “First of all, weather must be good, 4 beaufort at most, otherwise waves could be confused with animals. We respect some shifts: some people take care of navigation, others of sighting.
Sightings must cover a 360-degree-view. When we are provided with a hydrophone to register and locate big cetaceans, like sperm whales, a person takes care of it.
“When we finally see mammals, the first thing to do is to follow some routes parallel to the animals in order to be not aggressive and to not disturb them.
We identity their species, number, what they are doing, their attitude and more technical data, like barometric pressure; then, we elaborate, schematise and classify our meetings and photos. Each of us has his own duties; this way, we can do some different activities even in very small action groups”.
The collected data are used by many international universities (in Israel, Scotland, Greece, Australia and USA) and research centres. “Our activity consists in collecting data. It’s important to do as many sightings as we can in order to compare them over the years and to have an idea of cetaceans’ distribution and number in our seas”