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Bottlenose Dolphin Tracking in Belize

Program Number: 3561RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/2/2013 - 2/11/2013;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Belize
Price starting at: $2,561.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Service Learning Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 22; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt    

From the bow of the boat, smooth gray dolphins are so close you can almost touch them! For the rest of the afternoon, you observe the dolphin pod swimming and feeding between mangrove islands, seagrass beds and coral reefs. In association with the Oceanic Society, contribute to an ongoing study of Belize’s unique bottlenose dolphin population as you assist researchers documenting their ecological behavior. Observe patterns feeding, socializing and resting, and document their habitat use as part of an initiative to declare the atoll a biosphere reserve.




Highlights

• Special research permits allow volunteers to closely approach dolphins in order to obtain identification photos and biological data.
• Identify individual bottlenose dolphins and witness dolphin activity over several days.
• Full day excursion day to Lighthouse Reef Atoll for snorkeling the rim of the famous Blue Hole, visiting a seabird sanctuary at Half Moon Caye.



Activity Particulars

Participants must be able to swim. All boats have a swim ladder and protection from the sun. Boarding and disembarking vessels requires some agility. This program primarily involves dolphin observation from small boats within the atoll. Under specific conditions including the behavior of the dolphins, weather conditions and sea conditions, the researcher will determine if it is appropriate for swimmers to enter the water in order to assist with determining the sex of individual dolphins.



Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.



Itinerary Summary

Arrivals Belize City, Blackbird Caye, 9 nights; departure Belize City.



Arrival Belize City
Boat to Blackbird Caye
9 nights
Boat to Belize City for departure.

English-speaking Belize boasts the world's second-largest barrier reef and unique habitats for marine wildlife. Blackbird Caye lies amid coral islets in pristine Turneffe Atoll. Working in small teams, you study the behavioral ecology of bottlenose dolphins, their habitat use, social behavior and foraging strategies. With biologists and researchers as daily guides, you and fellow volunteers contribute to the important study as you record behavior, collect acoustic sounds, identify individual animals and plot location. Lectures discuss dolphin biology, coral reef ecology and natural history of the cayes.




Belize

Before it was colonized as “British Honouras,” Belize flourished as a stronghold of the Maya civilization. Today, the country celebrates this unique heritage while sharing in Central American and Caribbean identities. Its tropical climate supports the country’s rich biodiversity, while its coastline along the Caribbean Sea offers access to the second-longest coral reef system in the world.



Accommodations
Private island setting with beachfront cabanas, classroom with lab and dining palapa.
Meals and Lodgings
   Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
  Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize 7 nights
   Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
  Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize 1 night
 Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Type: Field Station
  Description: Beachfront cabanas each with a porch facing the Caribbean Sea.
  Ship Information: 23' research/excursion vessels with canopy top and vertical swim ladder.
  Contact info: Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize
Belize City,   Belize
phone: +8003267491
web: www.oceanic-society.org
  Room amenities: Small storage closet, fan, 110 AC electrical plugs (powered by generator)
  Facility amenities: Double occupancy cabanas (2 singles available), private baths, comfortable with basic amenities, lovely dining palapa
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Variable. Optional extensions available for snorkeling, scuba diving, or to see Mayan ruins, mainland of Belize.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Variable. Optional extensions available for snorkeling, scuba diving, or to see Mayan ruins, mainland of Belize.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Belize City 2:30pm You will be staying at Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station that night.
  End of Program:
Belize City 11:30am You will be staying at Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll
  Nearest city or town:  Belize City
  Nearest highway: not applicable
  Nearest airport:  Belize City (BZE)
  Transportation to site: Boat transfer (90 minutes). Program only participants should contact Oceanic to ensure they will arrive in time for the boat transfer.
  From End of Program
  Location: Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll
  Transportation from site: Boat transfer (90 minutes). Program only participants should contact Oceanic to ensure their departure flight is in synch with the boat transfer.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Snorkeling (mask, snorkel, fins)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Saturday, February 2)
   
 Arrive To: 90-minute boat transfer to Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station, Turneffe Atoll.
 Dinner: Buffet-style Belizean dinner served in dining "palapa" upon arrival.
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2:
(Sunday, February 3)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Presentation on dolphin research goals and objectives, methods and on use of research equipment. Late morning snorkel check out from the beach for individuals wishing to snorkel during scheduled snorkel excursions. Individuals not wishing to snorkel can enjoy beachcombing and relaxing at their beachfront cabana.
 Lunch: Join your fellow participants in the dining room for breakfast, lunch & dinner
 Afternoon: Afternoon short boat excursions to research site within atoll. Test field equipment such as wind gage, GPS, water temperature gage, hydrophone etc. Start first dolphin survey. Assist researcher with data collection.
 Dinner: Join your fellow participants in the dining room for breakfast, lunch & dinner
 Evening: Lecture on Dolphin Biology
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
(Monday, February 4)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Morning short boat excursion to lagoon. Observe birds as we motor slowly through mangrove creeks. Search for dolphins and record their behavior. Data collection includes setting an underwater hydrophone for obtaining acoustic recordings.
 Lunch: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Afternoon: reef snorkeling excursion to observe tropical fish and corals at one of the dolphins' habitats
 Dinner: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions.
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
(Tuesday, February 5)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Morning boat excursions to known dolphin hot spot. Data collection.
 Lunch: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to nearby channel often used by dolphin for entering and existing the atoll. Good visibility might offer us the chance enter the water at the researcher's discretion in order to observe dolphins underwater. Data collection.
 Dinner: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:
(Wednesday, February 6)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Field trip to meet local fishermen and learn about island life. Enjoy coconut collection and processing demonstration.
 Lunch: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to different research site within the atoll. Data collection.
 Dinner: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:
(Thursday, February 7)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Morning Field trip to the University of Belize nearby research station. Meet staff and learn about ecosystem research.
 Lunch: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to visit one of the dolphin hot spots. We visit a highly frequented area and deploy a hydrophone to collect acoustic data.
 Dinner: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:
(Friday, February 8)
   
 Breakfast: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Morning: Morning visit on of the dolphins favorite feeding sites, known for large schools of snapper, and large star fish found on the sandy bottom.
 Lunch: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Afternoon: Morning and afternoon boat excursions to research sites. Data collection.
 Dinner: Three buffet-style Belizean meals are served daily in a dining "palapa."
 Evening: Evening lectures, presentations, discussion sessions
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Boat excursions to visit one of the dolphin hot spots. We visit a highly frequented area and deploy a hydrophone to collect acoustic data.
(Saturday, February 9)

Note: Assist researcher with collecting acoustic data.



   
 Breakfast: Morning breakfast in the dining Palapa
 Morning: Excursion to the west side of the atoll to search not only for dolphins but also for manatees who are known to frequent the area.
 Lunch: Lunch provided in the dining Palapa
 Afternoon: Afternoon boat excursions to visit one of the dolphin hot spots. We visit a highly frequented area and deploy a hydrophone to collect acoustic data.
 Dinner: Dinner provided in the dining Palapa
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Full day excursion to Lighthouse Reef for snorkeling the famous Blue Hole, visiting a red-footed booby sanctuary, superb beach snorkeling from Half Moon Caye, and enjoy a beach barbeque and picnic.
(Sunday, February 10)

Note: Snorkeling at several sites. View seabird sanctuary from a viewing platform, enjoy beachcombing, and beach barbeque.



   
 Morning: Full day excursion to Lighthouse Reef for snorkeling the famous Blue Hole, visiting a red-footed booby sanctuary, superb beach snorkeling from Half Moon Caye, and enjoy a beach barbeque and picnic.
   
Accommodations: Blackbird-Oceanic Society Field Station
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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