This blog was written by Anna Clay, a work experience student from Lancaster who volunteered with us earlier this month. We wish her all the best in her future studies!
I was thrilled when Danielle very kindly accepted me as a work experience student at Sea Watch, I learnt a lot and really enjoyed my time there. All the people I worked with were very friendly and willing to explain the protocols of all the different aspects of field work. I had the opportunity to experience both field work and office work which I feel I benefitted from.
My first task was a land watch with one of the volunteers-we saw lots of dolphins on my first day! I really enjoyed it and soon learnt the protocol and how to fill in the data sheets- Marta and Sam were very good teachers! I completed several land watches throughout the week and feel I could now conduct one myself. I won’t forget my last land watch when Geanie sat in bird mess!
On the second day of my work experience I wrote a blog for the website about the issues raised in the IWC meeting in Panama. I did a lot of research before writing my blog and found it a very interesting topic; it was also a good experience of office work. Rachel very kindly showed me her presentation on the history of whaling which gave me some background to the topic I was researching which was very helpful and I really appreciated it.
I enjoyed the boat surveys and learnt the protocol of this type of field work as well. I learnt how to use a GPS devise and how to record the data for this particular type of field work. The volunteers I worked with were always really friendly and happy to explain the protocols to me. I did three boat surveys throughout the week but it will definitely be the last one I remember the most! It rained the whole time and by the end of the trip I was dripping wet from head to toe- I didn’t mind, it was still good fun and we saw dolphins! However, the rain did make it quite difficult to fill out the data sheets, I had to keep the GPS and paper dry-my hands were so cold by the end I could hardly write and the paper did end up dripping wet!
I also enjoyed the work I did on the cliff top, using the theodolite to track dolphins and boats in order to discover the reactions the dolphins have to the boats- this was a project that one of the volunteers, Amrit, was doing for her dissertation at university. For me it involved looking for dolphins and writing down coordinates of dolphins and boats and recording the dolphin’s behaviour. On one of the days there were so many boat encounters I had to quickly draw more tables to record the data in, and on that same day the batteries for the theodolite ran out and I had to run down to the town to get some more-running back up the cliff proved quite difficult though! It’s so steep and seems never ending! It’s all good fun!
My week went so quickly and I wish I could have spent longer there. It was definitely a fantastic experience and it made it clear to me that marine biology is definitely what I would like to do in the future. I hope to come back and do more work for Sea Watch. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there with such friendly people and I learnt so much.