A whale of an opportunity

Young people with a passion for the environment are invited to join the whale research expedition.

Want to read more?

We value our content, so access to our full site is only available on subscription.

Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device.

And there’s more – your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?
Problems logging in and require
technical support? Click here
Subscribe Now

Argyll teenagers are being invited to play their part in vital research while living on the high seas.

Two free spaces onboard a whale research expedition are being offered to west coast residents aged 16 or 17.

The opportunity is part of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s  (HWDT) work monitoring Scottish whales, dolphins and porpoises from onboard their research vessel, Silurian.

Anyone with a passion for the marine environment can join HWDT on board to become citizen scientists, participate in a research expedition and become trained in how to collect important data.

This vital data is used to deepen understanding of the different species found in the Hebrides and help protect them for future generations.

Thanks to sponsorship donations HWDT is able to offer two free spaces to young adults living on the west coast of Scotland on its expedition from August 2 to 8.

No experience is required to join this live-aboard expedition; full training is provided in all aspects of the trip by the four crew members onboard; from identifying different species, to using the toilet at sea. All meals are provided, and the teens will share twin-berth cabins.

The trust’s communications manager Morven Summers said: ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet like-minded people and share in a truly unforgettable experience.

‘Young people are so engaged with environmental issues and this generous sponsorship will provide a fantastic opportunity to someone to gain hands on experience in conservation.

‘We would encourage any young adult on the west coast with a passion for our seas to apply to join us on board.’

One of the sponsored places on board has been made possible by the Suggitt family, in memory of their son Henry Suggitt.

Henry was a passionate young conservationist who was due to study zoology with marine biology at Bangor University, but tragically died a week before he was due to start the course.

Henry’s mother Brigette Suggit said: ‘Henry was an extraordinary young man with a zest for life and adventure.

‘His interests ranged from reptiles to marine life, and he had completed many conservation placements.

‘He had a passion for ensuring that marine life was protected. Henry visited Oban on his grandfather’s boat and absolutely fell in love with that part of the country.’

Over the last 20 years, with the help of more than a thousand people, HWDT has surveyed 130,000 km of Hebridean seas – equivalent to five times around the world.

More than 9,000 hours of underwater recordings have been collected and more than 50,000 individual animals have been observed from almost 16,000 sightings, with a count of 16 different species.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs have been collated, analysed, and catalogued to track individual whales and dolphins across Hebridean seas and better understand population range and social interactions.

The vast volume of data collected on board by citizen scientists over the past 20 years provides a unique and powerful body of knowledge, which is having a real impact for the protection of whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks found in the waters off western Scotland.

Teenagers interested in this opportunity can apply via https://hwdt.org/sponsoredberth