Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Second week with AWDF – Tenerife

Second week with AWDF – Tenerife

Hola! How are you? 

So I finished my time in Tenerife with The Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation (AWDF) and it’s time to tell you all about my second week!

Boat Work

Going on the boats was one of my favourite opportunities at AWDF! You do have to help the boat crew but it’s nothing strenuous, just tasks like emptying bins, rolling and putting out towels, rolling the mats at the end of the day and helping to serve the passengers. It’s very enjoyable!

Every time we saw a dolphin or whale, we would note down the coordinates, time, the number of species, their behaviours and take photos of their fins so we could identify them. It is very important to get photos and upload them when you get back to the house. It is also important to sit and watch their behaviours because if you are too focused on writing the information, you may also miss an important behaviour or unique activity. The other important task to do on the boats is speaking with the passengers! It is so important to spread our passion for conservation and have an impact on others and our planet!

We were able to see pilot whales and dolphins every day even though it’s not a 100% probability. I saw the Atlantic spotted dolphins which are migratory species and the other volunteers saw a sperm whale which was huge! I’m gutted that I missed it! Also when I left, the boat crew witnessed this beautiful display from the dolphins…I was so upset I missed it!


Activities and Eco-Tourism

At AWDF we are trying to promote eco-tourism and part with tourism which can contribute to pollution or negative impacts on our planet/wildlife. Eco-tourism comprises nature-based activities, rural accommodation, cultural activities and supporting local restaurants and businesses etc.

Some of the activities we are able to do with AWDF are:

  • Diving (you can also gain your PADI licence)
  • Boat excursions to see whales and dolphins
  • Snorkelling
  • Paragliding
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing
  • Canyoning
  • Climbing Teide

The main tourist attraction that I am strongly against is Loro Parque because they keep animals in captivity. The wild orcas kept in captivity have shown signs of stress and health problems such as losing teeth because they have been biting surfaces out of stress, bite marks on each other as they attack each other and collapsing dorsal fins. This is all a heart-breaking result of keeping them in captivity. Their tanks are far too small considering they’re supposed to be able to swim up to 100m a day in the wild and they’re unable to behave naturally in captivity.

A much better alternative would be to go on the boats and witness them in their natural environment. They have the whole ocean to swim around and yet they choose to swim near the boats as they’re inquisitive and intelligent creatures. It is so beautiful to witness and learn about their behaviours. You should definitely go and visit them. 🙂

Daily Changes

As you may have read in my previous blog, our research base/house sadly burned down. Therefore, I was living in the house next door and we decided to strive forwards and create a beautiful environment for ourselves. I planted some flowers and plants to resemble coral reefs near the wall. My friend planted a herb garden and other volunteers helped to paint the garden and lay down some slabs. Everyone really helped make it look beautiful! So if you volunteer with AWDF in the future, we hope we have helped to create a lovely environment for you. There are also a lot of geckos on the island and I managed to hold three in our garden. 🙂 They’re lovely!

Living in the house we always had volunteers coming and going, it was lovely to meet such nice people. However, I am so glad that Karolina was on placement with me the whole time… we made great friends!


I am so so grateful for this amazing opportunity! AWDF has really opened my eyes and made me realise how much of an impact we can make on our planet. Not only am I passionate about AWDF’s mission, but I am also just grateful for the overall amazing experience. I felt lighter while I was in Tenerife, it felt like a huge health boost… it was so good for my soul. 🙂

If you would like to get involved and make a difference to our world, visit AWDF’s website and get in touch with Ed! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Charley x

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