WHALES, dolphins and turtles were among the amazing sights students saw on a science trip.

Lewes Old Grammar School (Logs) students sailed across the Mediterranean in search of marine life.

The Year 9 pupils were enlisted to help four cetacean researchers at the port of Sanremo, Italy, where they helped to collect valuable data about whales and dolphins while living on a 72ft research sailing boat.

Over the course of the trip, students saw more than 100 striped dolphins, a loggerhead sea turtle, two sperm whales, and two fin whales.

They also spotted bottle-nosed dolphins, only the fourth sighting of the pod for the entire season.

Teacher Abigail Nagamootoo said, however, that the most incredible discovery came later: “We saw one sperm whale called Erico twice in the course of the week – which was incredible considering he hadn’t been seen by researchers in the entire Mediterranean sea for more than a decade.

“Best of all though, was when we came across another sperm whale. We soon realised he’d never been seen before and had the unique privilege of naming him Lewes, in honour of the school.”

Students were also put through their paces as amateur sailors on the expedition and tasked with cooking, cleaning and maintenance duties while also spending one-hour shifts working with a marine biologist on the sighting platform every day.

In a rare turn of events, the captain steered the group out from Sanremo and into French waters, where they anchored overnight between two islands in the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera). Pupils had the chance to leap from the boat into the water to swim and snorkel in the middle of the ocean.

Mrs Nagamootoo added: “The expedition gave them an insight into marine life which they could never have experienced had they just been studying within a Sussex classroom.

“It was quite literally a chance to expand their horizons by sailing into the vast expanse of the ocean and we’re so grateful to the Tethys Institute for being so insightful.”