Check-In: Watch the whales

Volunteers are wanted to help scientists from the field research organisation Earthwatch to study the puzzle of grey whale migration.
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The Independent Travel

The research has been prompted by concern about changes in the animals' feeding, breeding and migration patterns. The project has been designed to harness the enthusiasm of volunteers, who provide invaluable support and fresh eyes and ears. They work from a converted fishing boat along the rugged shorelines of temperate rainforest in British Columbia, or from open skiffs in the tropical waters of Baja, Mexico. Each day is spent spotting whales, photo-identifying individual whales, recording data and assisting with navigation. In the evenings, informal lectures, stories and music complete the experience.

"As a long-distance migratory animal any impact on this species from climate change, seismic testing, pollution or whaling could have massive global implications," said Dr William Megill of Earthwatch.

Teams from Earthwatch (01865 318 838; www.earthwatch.org/europe) run year round. Trips last between six and 12 days. Costs range from £675 to £1,300, which covers all food, accommodation and training.

Asia in Paris

One of Paris's oldest museums, the Cernuschi Museum of Asian Art, founded in 1898, has reopened after three years of renovations.

The number of items on display from the collection of 12,400 will double. Chinese and Japanese objects from the 17th and 18th centuries form a significant part of what will be on show. (00 33 1 53 96 21 50; www.paris.fr/musees/cernuschi).

Roam over Rhodes

A series of 18 walking trails has been launched in Rhodes by the island's tourist authorities.

Walks range from two to around five miles and include a hike around the medieval surrounds of Rhodes town, taking in the Grand Masters Palace and the Tower of Spain. A second walk climbs up to the Tsambika monastery, which is 1,115 feet above sea level, while a longer walk of five miles joins Vlicha to the town of Lindos via a series of goat-tracks and olive groves. Some walks are featured at www.rodosisland.gr, while the free 50-page walking guide is available by emailing protour@rodosisland.gr.

Wake-up call for lights

An alarm call service has been introduced on ferries along the north Norwegian coast to ensure that passengers do not miss the northern lights.

Passengers on the Norwegian Coastal Voyage can arrange to be woken if the lights appear while they are asleep. The lights can be seen from September to March. For more information call Norwegian Coastal Voyage on 020-8846 2666 or visit www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.com.

Severn up

Coracle makers and paddlers will converge on Ironbridge in Shropshire for the annual regatta on Bank Holiday Monday, 29 August.

In addition to races there will be a craft fair and a display of traditional coracles, which are keel-less, flat-bottomed boats constructed from woven wood covered in skins or canvas and waterproofed with tar.

Before the advent of the Ironbridge, they were used to ferry people and goods across the Severn. For more information call 01952 432769 or visit www.green woodcentre.org.uk.

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