Kangaroo Island / Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch were delighted to welcome their wonderful Ambassador Melody Horrill http://www.melodyhorrill.com and her partner Grant Robb for Survey 239 on Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures http://www.kimarineadventures.com.au on February 14th to Dashwood Bay in the middle of the Mission Blue Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot. http://www.missionblue.org

Ambassador Melody Horrill with her inspirational book “A dolphin called Jock” – a must read!

Other special guests were Dolphin Watch collaborator Eleni Atsikbasis – Mission Blue Hope Spot Champion for the Lesvos Hope Spot on the island of Lesvos in Greece with her associates Patricia and Nicholas. Nicholas is performing a role as a two-way youth ambassador between Australia and Greece over the next two years as he completes his secondary schooling at St Peters College in Adelaide.

Nicholas, Patricia & Eleni Atsikbasis preparing to board
Eleni Atsikbasis, Grant Robb, Melody Horrill, Cecilia Gunnarsson & Fred Peters on KI Marine Adventures, Dashwood Bay

The Lesvos Mission Blue research initiative engages science and society to protect, preserve, and revitalize the Aegean Sea using a citizen-science approach. It aims to ensure that the Aegean Archipelago is sustainably managed, safe and flourishing with marine life while the society is supported and empowered.

Eleni is the founder of ‘Healing Lesvos’ not-for-profit organization, http://www.healinglesvos.org made up of passionate people who care about protecting their community – the ocean, waters, beaches, now and in the future. ‘Healing Lesvos’ in conjunction with the University of the Aegean aims to set up a prototype of best practices that can be adopted by other islands or regions in Greece and the Mediterranean, with an emphasis on environmental conservation through the engagement of youth and empowerment of the most vulnerable social groups, including refugees.

Eleni and Coordinator Tony – collaborations in action during a Dolphin Watch Workshop at the SA Whale Centre in February 2023!

Eleni and partner Chris Kourakis had previously joined Survey 142 in Victor Harbor in December 2023 on the Big Duck Boat Tours http://www.thebigduck.com.au following Eleni participating in her first Dolphin Watch Survey 132 in Victor Harbor in February 2023.

Tony and Eleni during the Survey briefing – Feb. 2023
Happy Citizen Scientists and guests on the Big Duck in Feb. 2023
Eleni, Chris, Birdlife Australia Coordinator Kerri Bartley and crew enjoying the Christmas Survey briefing in Victor Harbor by the man himself!

Wonderful to be collaborating with such a passionate advocate for marine biodiversity and for her to meet and connect with Dolphin Watch Ambassador Melody who similarly is a highly regarded, tremendously experienced marine conservationist. A match made not just in Heaven but in nature.

Citizen Scientists, special guests and Skipper Andrew Neighbour on station at Dashwood Bay, KI

Melody is an amazingly accomplished author, journalist, producer and dolphin advocate who brings to Dolphin Watch a wonderful breadth of knowledge, skills, acumen and passion – it means an immense amount to the project! An integral part of the team with our Dolphin Watch mentor Dr Mike Bossley AM, which saw the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary declared in 2005, and the formation of the then Australian Dolphin Research Foundation, Melody has acted as a Board Member of the Dolphin Research Institute and has more recently taken up a role as Co-chair of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Cetacean Committee. www.janegoodall.org

Tony Bartram, Melody Horrill & Grant Robb on survey

It was as if the dolphins were fully aware of the special nature of the remarkable survey as they were observed in large numbers. Seventy plus Bottlenose dolphins with two calves, one new, and a number of juveniles surrounded the vessel while they rested, socialised and played in the turquoise waters.

A delightful display for the special guests and first time volunteers Artist Cecilia Gunnarsson and husband Colin joining regular Citizen Science volunteers. A debrief at the Kangaroo Island Brewery www.kibeer.com.au allowed the crew to share their delight at the brilliant observations of dolphins totally at ease in their critical habitat, and the urgent need for greater protection and conservation.

Delightful KI Brewery Post Survey Debrief

Dolphin Watch sincerely thank Ambassador Melody, Hope Spot Champion Eleni, special guests, wonderful Citizen Science crew and as always, fantastic Skipper Andrew Neighbour.

When amazing passionate souls who care about dolphins and their habitats come together, magic happens.

#ambassador #hopespots #champions #specialguests #collaborations #missionblue #magic

#love #gratitude