Each day of an Earthwatch teen expedition offers a balance of hands-on research and the chance to explore your surroundings and get to know the scientists and your teammates. Your team is led not only by professional researchers but also by at least one Earthwatch facilitator, who will always be around to help you get the most out of your experience.
Expect days full of variety and activity. After breakfast at the accommodations, the team will split into two groups, which will:
- Look for whales and dolphins at sea. One group will take to the sea on a boat and follow transects—set paths along the shore—to photograph each animal they spot and record its location, behavior, and any human disturbances in the area.
- Look for whales and dolphins from shore. The other group will be stationed at a lookout point on shore, where they’ll also scan the sea for marine mammals and record the same information.
- Analyze data. The group that's on land may also spend morning working with data, creating GIS maps of sighting locations or matching photos of individual whales with those taken at different places along the North American coast.
The small groups will rotate tasks, so everyone will have a chance to try every task. After your days in the field, you’ll have leisurely evenings to cook, share meals, relax at the accommodations, or otherwise enjoy the mild Southern California nights.
Although we of course can’t guarantee whale sightings, your expedition coincides with peak numbers of foraging whales, such as blues and humpbacks, in the area, along with permanent resident populations of dolphin species. We look forward to welcoming you to the Pacific Ocean and introducing you to some of its most impressive, yet vulnerable, inhabitants.