In the autumn of 2002 Maren took part in a dolphin study in Greece. The research was carried out from a catamaran based in Athens. In order to reach the main study area in the Gulf of Corinth, the boat sailed through the Corinth Canal. Even for our catamaran, the Canal felt tight, so it must be a bit claustrophobic for bigger ships! A short trip was also made to the island of Cephalonia, and the nights were either spent alongside in small harbours or moored in some sheltered bay.
Occasionally, we encountered bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) - they all seemed to be right old bully boys!
The main focus of the study were the striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), which behave very differently in the Gulf of Corinth compared with the same species elsewhere, and actively approach vessels to bow-ride! With the two bows of our catamaran we could accommodate plenty of bow-riding dolphins, sometimes well over a dozen, which made for quite some spectacle!
In the clear, calm waters, we had great opportunities to watch the dolphins swimming along and interact with each other under water.
In one group we even found a short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) mixed in with its striped relatives, and apparently sometimes they see mixed groups of striped, common and Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus)! Unfortunately, we didn't manage to spot any of the latter.
At times some of the striped dolphins surfacing from greater depths appeared almost like ghosts.