Tracking dolphins in Italy



For 30 years this mission has been taking place around Ischia, an island in the Gulf of Naples in Italy. On board a sailboat, you go every day to make observations at sea and collect data on cetaceans living in the Pontino and Campano Archipelagos. You will spend your evenings at the port, which will allow you to discover this typical Italian island.

DUREE : 1 minimum week

DATES May to September

ACTIVITY : Full nature (sea)

SPECIES : cetaceans

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level B1)

PHYSICAL LEVEL : easy to moderate

INVOLVEMENT : morning to evening

PUBLIC : Any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students

TO KNOW : sailing


By participating in the study mission dolphins in the Gulf of Naples, you will have the opportunity to observe the blue and white dolphins, but also many other species in the Mediterranean this area such as fin whales, dolphins risso of, or sperm whales.

The project is interested in studying the populations of different cetacean species living in the area around the island of Ischia, the main objective being to preserve their habitat as much as possible. The protection of cetaceans in this area is necessary for the obvious threats they suffer such as harassment by recreational vessels and uncontrolled fishing.

In the past, the data collected thanks to the participation of ecovolunteers were used for the establishment of the marine protected area “Regno di Nettuno” as well as marine mammal protection areas in the coastal waters of Iscia and Ventotene. as well as in the archipelagos of Campanian and Pontino. The research work carried out on board therefore serves a conservation program on cetaceans, with the scientific community and environmental organizations. In addition, the project engages in educational actions for the general public focused on cetaceans and their environment.

On board the boat for a week, you participate in the collection of data on the distribution, ecology, behavior and acoustics in cetaceans. You learn different techniques for field research cetology (photo-identification, bioaccoustique, behavioral observations ...), but also have the opportunity to discover navigation on board the wooden sailboat 18 meters.

Location / Habitat

Each mission takes place this week in southern Tyrrhenian Sea, around the large volcanic island of Ischia. 

The island of Ischia is the largest of the Naples Gulf Islands (approx. 47 km² area) with some other islands, it is part of the Archipelago Campano. The island is formed by the lava Epomeo which rises to 787 meters. Ischia is one of the most famous seaside and tourist spas in Italy. However the villages of the island have kept their authenticity.

The study area is relatively small. It centers around a deep underwater canyon called Cuma, located north of the island. The canyons are important in marine ecology, and they are often the center of a high density and diversity of life, compared to those observed at other sites of the platform and continental slope. 7 cetacean species have been observed, as well as other animals such as manta rays, swordfish and tuna.

For more information on local weather conditions


common dolphin population, delphinus delphisDeclines significantly for some time. This species is followed in the study area since 1997, 99 individuals are listed in the database of photo identification, 60% of them are regularly spotted around the island.

The study area is well known for its high biological diversity: it is a feeding site to the fin (Balaenoptera physalus), a feeding and breeding site for Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) And striped dolphins (stenella coeruleoalba), And a transit area for social groups of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). In addition, you may be able to observe the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) And pilot whales (globicephala mela).

Other animals are also present on the site: sea turtles, tuna, swordfish, schools of fish, rays, moon fish and seabirds ...

Involvement ecovolunteer

If time allows it; the boat leaves every day on the search area. On board, you help the project in its daily work: observations, use of underwater camera, behavioral data collection, photo identification, acoustic recording, etc.

The ship follows lines of predetermined transect. The work team alternates every hour on the bridge, so as to ensure an optimal concentration. In addition to whales, other animals are also taken into account in the comments: sea turtles, tuna, swordfish, schools of fish, rays, moon fish and seabirds. The sound system set up under the boat to detect whales at a distance of miles 3 and their management.

Once identified, the animals approached and behavioral monitoring carried out, in which each will have a definite role to film dolphins under the boat, make behavioral observations, record sounds, photographing animals, ... and help navigation.

During the day, there is usually enough time for a swim, or a navigation theoretical and practical course by the captain.

In case of bad weather the ship will stay in port. You can help scientists by putting order into the data collected, recording in the computer and helping in their preliminary analysis. Additional conferences and video screenings will be offered by the team.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission, you must:

  • Able to withstand the heat and spend time in the sun, be steady on your legs and comfortable on a boat;
  • Having 18 years minimum;
  • Being highly adaptable, essential to live on a boat;
  • Follow all safety instructions given by the crew;
  • Accept responsibility to pay for damages caused by you to the boat and research instruments;
  • The minimum level of English required is B1: view details you self-assess
  • Having an interest in conservation of nature;
  • Accept the presence of a dog on board.

Weather conditions will define each missionAnd allow whether the boat trips can take place or not. The project is in charge of the weather anything.

Covid-19 : during the pandemic, the project asks the members of the crew to respect a sanitary distance of 1 to 2 meters between them. wearing a mask is compulsory on board. Before each new embarkation on Sunday, the boat is disinfected.

Before you register:

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download.
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

Language (s) used (s)

English or Italian

The minimum required level of English is B1 : view details you self-assess

Conditions for minors

The project accepts children accompanied adult (s) 12 to 17 years. Rates are the same for adults and children. The projects are not an environment with all safety requirements for children. The children will stay with their parents to be the ones responsible for their actions.

For participants minors, parents must provide a disclaimer to Cybelle Planet.


Day 1: meeting at the port of Ischia at 16:00 p.m., on the boat. Presentation of the week, safety rules, life on board and the research program.

Day to 2 6. The ship departs every morning at sea on the study area. Each evening went to the port.

7 Day: The team cleans boat, ecovolunteers can start after lunch in early afternoon.


You are accommodated in a wooden sailboat 17,7 meters long dating from 1930. Inside there is a kitchen with a table and large windows, a cabin for six people (2 single and two double berths), two bathrooms, a cabin and a bathroom reserved for the crew, and a "sailor's cabin" with two / three places (with a child).

You can rinse on the deck of the boat, but for hot showers you will have to go to the health of the harbor (free).

Life on board is simple, community and ecological.

Meals are not included in the price of the mission, a common fund board will be set up upon arrival. Meals are taken on board and prepared by all members of the crew. You help with everyday tasks on board (shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, dishes ...).


Following the Coronaviruses, the project accepts a maximum of 4 eco-volunteers at a time.



Each mission lasts 7 days, Monday to Sunday. The project differentiates 3 different periods for the calculation of mission costs, low season, intermediate season, and high season. Below the scheduled boarding dates:

2022 dates

The dates for the 2022 season will be published in early 2022.


Due to the pandemic, Cybelle Planète has set up specific conditions for participation. Please consult our conditions of participation before signing up for a mission.

See information related to Covid-19

Travel Information

You will need to arrange your own transport to Ischia port.

The appointment is expected to 16h00 the first day (Monday) in port (Casamicciola Terme) in Ischia. The island is connected to Naples by ferry. Participants ship and dock in Casamicciola Terme, one of the 6 villages of the island. The last day (Sunday) the ecovolunteers can start after lunch.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 


Amount of Don Biodiversity

Low season

  • one week: 1038 €
  • per additional week: 754 €

Intermediate season

  • one week: 1125 €
  • per additional week: 832 €

High season

  • one week: 1164 €
  • per additional week: 871 €

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 1164 € will only cost you 396 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 1164 € will only cost you 466 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • coaching on board the boat,
  • logistics (sailing, port, fuel, ...),
  • your accommodation.

He remains at your charge:

  • the trip A / R to the port,
  • food (a dashboard box is set up for the races, count around 80 € per week),
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.

Car insurance

In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers