Whale and Dolphin Monitoring Survey

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Program Description

The Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust's research surveys are designed to better understand the whale, dolphin and porpoise (collectively known as cetacean) species found in the Hebrides (the islands off the west coast of Scotland). The Hebrides are one of the most important areas in Europe for cetaceans, with 24 different species recorded. However, there are also some very vulnerable populations, notably the West Coast Community of orca (the UKs only resident pod!) and the small, resident population of bottlenose dolphin.
HWDTs team of scientists and volunteers conduct visual and acoustic surveys to find out more about the distribution, abundance, movements and behaviour of cetaceans and other fauna such as basking sharks, seals and seabirds. With this information, better management strategies can be implemented so that we can conserve the rich biodiversity that exists in Hebridean waters for future generations.
By joining HWDT aboard you will travel from island to island, surveying the rich waters, whilst exploring the remotest parts of the UK, venturing ashore in the evening to set foot on uninhabited islands. You will have the opportunity to encounter some truly amazing wildlife spectacles and witness the best of British wildlife. This is the ultimate eco-tourism venture and HWDT would not be able to undertake our research into the various species without the contribution of our volunteers.


The biggest highlight will be the numerous encounters with amazing wildlife: whales, dolphins, porpoise, basking sharks, eagles and a myriad of seabirds. The Hebrides are truly the last wilderness found in the UK and the wealth of wildlife present is testament to that. The experiences are memorable: from bow-riding minke whales to orca hunting porpoises, from super pods of common dolphins numbering into the hundreds to basking sharks so close you can see inside their mouths!
The other main highlight is exploring the beautiful landscapes and remote islands (there are approximately 550) in the Hebrides. HWDT survey as far north as Cape Wrath and as far south as the Mull of Kintyre.


No qualifications are required as full training will be provided. Decent eye-sight and hearing is required to ensure reliable data collection. Participants will live aboard a research yacht for the duration of the survey so a good pair of sea legs is an added bonus.

Volunteer Types

What`s Included

All accommodation for the duration of the survey is included - this is a live aboard experience, with the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust's research yacht, Silurian, becoming your home for the duration of the expedition. All food costs are included and all diets can be catered for. All insurance while aboard is covered. Heavy-duty waterproofs are also provided whilst aboard.

Program Locations

Tobermory, United Kingdom

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Program Details

Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust
  • United Kingdom: Tobermory
Fall, Spring, Summer
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks
£845 to £1,395
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