From 16th to 20th February we have visited our partners in Greece, Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, who will host 8 participants during the months of April, May and June 2020, for an internship in the marine conservation field and within the framework of the TLN Mobilicat program. During the visit, we closed the last agreements of the project, together with visiting all the facilities and knowing firsthand what kind of tasks the group of participants is going to perform.
Yasas (hello) or efcharistó (thank you) are some of the words we have learned these 4 days in the quiet as well as authentic Island of Samos, Greece. This territory in the middle of the Aegean Sea, a few kilometers from the Turkish coast, has captivated us in all ways; its friendly and considerate people, its emblematic streets, its enchanting landscapes, its throbbing history, etc.
As we arrived at the hostel in Pythagoreio, a seaside town where the mathematician Pythagoras was born, a very amusing woman opened us the door inviting us to get in her cozy pension. From that moment onwards we felt that the trip would go smoothly.
And indeed it was. On the first day of work, we met Anastasia, a hard-working biologist with strong convictions who inspired enthusiasm by simply looking into her eyes. After exchanging first impressions, she drove us into our first destination: the Samos Marina. The port of Samos was our first stop and a large boat, which was being repaired, was waiting for us to see in firsthand the amount of work involved in maintaining and preparing the engines devoted to protect the Mediterranean.
Under the sunlight and reflection of water, the Aegean Explorer was being conscientiously rebuilt by a team led by two skilled captains and sea lovers. Theodoris, who is the founder and director of Archipelagos, and Vasilis, who is the head of marine operations, had a clear goal: complete the transformation of the ship within few weeks to be able to sail the Aegean as soon as possible to commit with their target: defend the Mediterranean Sea under the name of ARCHIPELAGOS INSTITUTE OF MARINE CONSERVATION. These three sea enthusiasts, together with Panagiotis, another boat captain, have shown us the importance of effort and teamwork to change the world and make it a better place, both for humans and animals.
ARCHIPELAGOS, with research bases and stations on the island of Samos and six other Aegean islands, do an admirable job of action, education and outreach regarding biodiversity in the Mediterranean. The ethical bases of their organization together with the desire and energy to work for an optimum world are fuel enriching their 3 vessels and the motivation spread to students and young graduates working in their bases to learn and professionalize themselves. Day after day, with care and determination, ARCHIPELAGOS will achieve great milestones and support them is key for their cause. As Theodoris repeatedly stated: “If we, with a small amount of money and a small group of people, we have achieved so much during the past 20 years, imagine what can be achieved by inspiring all these young conservationists who have such a head start in their lives”.