The boat love story

…..and as in all love stories there are ups and downs but if they are good ones eventually they progress forward!

Passion meets passion: Duretti Boat Manufacturing, in the flesh Dan, was the first potential supporter I met when the UAE dolphin project initiative was still in its embryonic stage, with no image and clear structure. Yes, there was the idea and the passion to make it happen, but ideas can easily remain so if they are not translated in concrete actions.

When I told Dan about my idea of the project, explained the lack of information about dolphins and whales in this part of the world and that we were in need of a small boat to run the research survey, Dan simply believed in the idea. And he said: “Yes! I can make a boat for the project! How big do you need it?” and he truly did it! I am sure he will not regret it, although it has taken an immense effort on his behalf.

Dan has always had this great passion for boats that translated in his hobby but he takes it so seriously and with such determination that anyone would struggle to believe that it is only his hobby: “I can use all my money to buy Champagne or I can use it to make something that I like: boats, and these last a lot longer.” he says. So Duretti Boat Manufacturing was born from love, passion and determination and its products can only be outstanding.

I went to visit the boat last November when it was just a shell but you could see it taking shape: it is now a fantastic 30 ft long Duretti Sportfisher with beautiful lines, fantastic space, comfort and two great engines.

We have been through the bottleneck of bureaucracy and the registration process, that is a story itself, but now this fantastic boat has a great name: Harman and it has finally reached the water!

From its birthplace in Umm Al Qwain, on September 16th, we went to pick it up and we travelled south to Dubai.  Its new home is at Dubai Marina Yacht Club that has kindly agreed to host us for the duration of the research survey.

When passion and determination meet the outcome can only be good! We are positive we will make the best possible use of the boat for a great cause! There are not enough ways to say “thank you” to Dan. Simply without his support we couldn’t have made it where we are today.

Welcome to the project Harman!


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Trakhees invites UAE Dolphin Project and Atlantis to talk about dolphins…

IMG_6112Dolphins are starting to raise interest among some major local stakeholders. On June 10th, the Environment Health and Safety, the regulatory arm of Trakhees-Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), invited the UAE Dolphin Project and Dolphin Bay, Atlantis to talk about dolphins in a joint workshop.

The workshop was presented by Ada Natoli and Ana Salbany and saw the participation of members of the Coast Guard, DP World and EHS and was presided by Dr. Hamad Al Falasi, manager of EHS.

It was divided in two sessions: the first illustrating basic knowledge about whales and dolphins and the importance of these species as ecological indicators to monitor the status of the marine environment. It highlighted the lack of information available on the local population and discussed what can be done to gain more scientific data. It also drew attention to the “Report a sighting” initiative promoted by the UAE Dolphin Project. The second part focussed on whales and dolphins’ strandings, potential causes and first stranding response in case of a dead or alive stranding, citing the scientific value of data that can be collected during a stranding event and the importance of a stranding network, still lacking in UAE. We emphasise the importance of having a centralised information system to unify the information and then redistribute it to the public and how everyone can contribute to gather a better understanding of these species in UAE waters.

IMG_6110All participants were very interested in the presentation and in how they could contribute in the future to promote further awareness of these species among their organisations. These the words of Dr. Hamad Al Falasi: “The efforts of the people behind the UAE Dolphin Project and Dolphin Bay of Atlantis to disseminate information that dolphins and other marine mammals do exist in the UAE waters is truly interesting.  This points-out the importance for regulators, such as Trakhees – EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) to have a more active regulation of activities in the marine environment to assure their protection and survival.  With the information that we’re highlighted in this workshop, we further commit that these will be embodied in the regulations and guidelines that we will implement.”

Following the workshop EHS Trakhees officially endorsed the project: “ appreciation of the ideals of the initiative aiming to establish a comprehensive baseline data for the dolphin of the Gulf to eventually design conservation programs for these marine animals. In support of the program, we shall be developing activities that would tap direct stakeholders within our jurisdiction.”

We would like to thanks Dr. Hamad Al Falasi, all the EHS team and Heidi Perez Cao, Vice president of Dolphin Bay, Atlantis for their support.

First Dubai Marine & Heritage Festival: UAE Dolphin Project was there!

[slideshow_deploy id=’1718′] We are extremely grateful to the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and especially to Mr. Nasser Juma Bin Sulaiman, Director of the Diving Village and Chairman of the Festival who invited us to participate to the first Dubai Marine & Heritage Festival.The event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Chairman of Dubai International Marine Club and took place at the Umm Suqeim beach from April 13 to 20, 2013.

The event aimed to celebrate and revive the Dubai marine cultural heritage, and it was dotted with activities representing the local traditions from making fishing nets out of palm material, to traditional music and dances, food and traditional dhow races. It was an extremely interesting to be as the only research project on the marine environment, and a great platform to reach a wide public from the local community to international tourists. Many children enjoyed discovering the dolphins species more common in Dubai waters by playing with our puzzles. Interestingly, the majority of people were surprised to see a research project on dolphins in Dubai and even more to learn that dolphins occur along Dubai coastline!

We hope this event will be the first of many and we hope to be back next year with more news for the public about dolphins in Dubai.



World Environmental Day 2013: UAE Dolphin Project joins the Paddle for the Planet

Last weekend the UAE Dolphin project was in the spotlight with its stand at theIMG_4737 annual Paddle for the Planet event held on Kite Surf Beach in Dubai to mark World Environment Day.

The event sees hundreds of paddlers take to the water to show their solidarity in protecting the environment in a global relay started in New Zealand an involving countries all around the world.  In Dubai over seven hundred crafts, from surfskis, kayaks, stand up paddles, outriggers, surf boards children from the Pirates Surf Rescue Team, paddled out early in the morning. Well done everybody!

Following the event the UAE Dolphin Project stand was visited by many participants and was used as the back drop by the television for their interviews with the organisers of the event. Check our photo gallery on the project facebook page!

Divers instructors learn about dolphins in UAE…

IMG_8133On March 28th, the Pavilion Dive Centre instructors were the first dive instructors to host the UAE Dolphin Project presentation that aims to inform divers about the local dolphin population. We received extremely positive feedback from all the attendees and we hope to extent the presentation to other members of the Pavilion Dive Centre in the future. A special thanks goes to Elena and Laurent for supporting the organisation of this event.

The one hour talk provided general knowledge about whales and dolphins, the adaptation challenges that this group of mammals have overcome to spend their life in an aquatic environment, their classification and the role they play in the marine environment. Furthermore the dive instructors received information about dolphins species in UAE waters: what is known and what is unknown about the local populations, which species are most likely to be encountered, how to identify the species and to be “dolphin SMART”  in case of sightings to minimise stress to the animals and risk to the observers. Most importantly it was illustrated how dive instructors can play an important role in supporting research by actively reporting sightings and teaching other divers what they now know about dolphins.

If you are a diver or a dive instructor and you are interested to know more about the local dolphins and how you and your club can actively support the local research, please contact us at: