Sussex students broaden their horizons in Italy

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Sussex students broaden their horizons in Italy

Year 9 students from Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) visited the port of San Remo, Italy this summer for a one-of-a-kind conservation trip.

Accompanied by LOGS staff, nine students teamed up with local Cetacean researchers while away, to collect valuable data about whales and dolphins.

Throughout their time abroad, they spent their days on the Mediterranean waters. Sleeping in small bunks on a 72ft research sailing boat, students were put through their paces as amateur sailors on the expedition.

They were tasked with cooking, cleaning and maintenance duties while also spending one-hour shifts working with a marine biologist on the sighting platform every day.

Over the course of the week-long trip, students spotted more than 200 striped dolphins, several shoals of tuna, a loggerhead sea turtle, a sperm whale, and a fin whale. They also spotted a puffin, which was unusual for this location at the height of summer.

This year, students also monitored the amount of plastic sighted in the ocean.

“We saw a huge volume of floating pieces of plastic, including a large plastic washing basket, hundreds of plastic bags and a plethora of bottles, straws and containers,” saidAbbi Nagamootoo, Geography Teacher. “There was a marked increase in the volume of plastic compared to what we observed last year, which was really quite worrying because it’s really having a detrimental impact on the wildlife.”

Close to the end of the week, the Captain navigated a little further from San Remo into French waters, where the boat anchored overnight between two islands in the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera). Students had the chance to leap from the boat into the water to swim and snorkel in a beautiful cove.

As the trip coincided with Bastille Day, they were also treated to an unexpected firework display from the water.

“The trip really gave students an insight into marine life,” Abbi Nagamootoo continued. It is our hope as a school that trips like these instil an appreciation for the environment and wildlife in our pupils. This conservation expedition was quite literally a chance to expand pupil’s horizons by sailing into the vast expanse of the ocean and we are very grateful to the Tethys Institute for allowing these young people to be part of their research.”