Volunteer with orcas in the Westman Islands, Iceland.

Earthwatch

Orcas and their Prey in Iceland


Who
: Earthwatch

Where: Vestmannaeyjar in the Westman islands, an archipelago in the south of Iceland.

Focus: Study the feeding behaviour of orcas in Iceland to better understand the potential threats to this species.

Suitability: Over 18s

When: June – August

Duration: 12 days

Cost: Expedition starts from GBP 2825.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Take part in essential orca research from both land and boat.
  • Learn more about the feeding habits of orcas, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the threats to orcas, and therefore what policies can be established to better protect these animals.
  • Explore a stunning volcanic landscape and search for the presence of orcas in the study area.
  • Assist in tracking, monitoring and recording the behaviour of individual orcas.
  • Help scientists collect small skin and blubber samples from orcas to record their diet, pollutant levels, and genetic material.
  • Spend time spotting seabirds such as guillemots, gannets, kittiwakes, and Icelandic gulls, not to mention the most iconic symbol of the Westman islands – the puffin.
  • Get a chance to see other marine mammals such as pilot, minke, and humpback whales, harbour porpoises, and seals.

The Base 

Expedition participants will stay in a comfortable apartment in Vestmannaeyjar town centre. The apartment has a shared kitchen, dining room, and living room with has electricity, heating, internet access, conventional toilets, and hot water.

  • Sleeping: Shared, dormitory-style single-gender rooms with bunk beds.
  • Food: 3 meals a day. Staff and volunteers cook on a rotational basis.
  • Base size: 6 volunteers and 3-4 staff members.

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