Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphins, Smoothy and Lumpy entertain visitors a few metres off Dolau beach, New Quay
On Thursday 20th August, DolauBeach in the centre of New Quay, West Wales was packed with people enjoying much more than the bright afternoon. They crowded the sand, sat shoulder to shoulder on the rocks exposed by the receding tide and gently bumped their inflatable dinghies together in the surf whilst watching extraordinary visits from two of the local bottlenose dolphins.
Mere metres from the shoreline and swimming in just a few metres of water were two of our adopted dolphins. The sunshine threw the arc of the dorsal fin into sharp relief, clearly showing the deep nick, prominent notch and shallow scoop that marked its back edge. This dolphin can only be Smoothy, the highly recognisable Cardigan Bay resident and star of the SWF Adopt-A-Dolphin scheme. Along side her, a smaller, lighter coloured fin followed in staggered tandem which was her calf Lumpy.
Smoothy was seen chasing fish in these shallow waters seeming undisturbed by onlookers a few metres away on the beach. As Smoothy and Lumpy foraged along the shoreline, they passed close to children body boarding and swimmers in the bay. They remained in the shallows for over an hour before heading back out to sea. And the whole event was to be repeated by the same pair just a few days later on the 24th! Hundreds, if not thousands of photographs were taken in the general direction of Smoothy and Lumpy, helping secure the identification and great memories for the visitors and locals.
Although dolphins can be seen almost daily from New Quay, it is always a welcome event. To have a mother and calf come in so close, feeding happily and untroubled by the presence of tourists and residents is an excellent and reassuring sight. It reinforces in the public eye the importance of the region’s designation as a Special Area of Conservation. Ultimately it is great that so many people were there to enjoy the spectacle of these wild animals in their natural habitat.
If you would like to adopt Smoothy and Lumpy please visit http://www.adoptadolphin.org.uk/