We have spent the last few weeks trying to get all the permits from the relevant Ministries to visit the island of Kos for our project. Last week we received the final permit and here we go!!!
As I am approaching the island, I am feeling more and more nervous about the first field expedition. Together with the team, we are reviewing, again and again, our protocols and the locations of the sightings trying to make sure that everything is ready for the next days. Tomorrow morning, we will have a one-hour briefing, for organizing ourselves and setting the goals of the first field expedition.
The COVID crisis did not allow us to travel earlier on the island. The majority of the observations we already collected were starting spring, picking up in the summer. Our initial plan was to visit the island in early summer, having higher possibilities to detect both the spiny butterfly rays that are common in some diving locations but also guitarfish. However, the COVID crisis changed our plans and here we are starting in late winter. In any case, we are all feeling challenged by the fact that we might be able to provide the first videos of alive guitarfish swimming in the Greek seas.
Once we reach the island and get to our rooms, I am planning to go for a run. This will help me to relax and concentrate on my thoughts for tomorrow. I would like to visit as many fishing ports as possible and discuss with fishers about our target species. This is the easy part of our local ecological knowledge survey because professional fishers never stopped working during the lockdown. However, it will be much more difficult to discover recreational fishers and scuba divers but we fully trust our local facilitators on this.