Getting up at the crack of dawn only to go perch solo on a lonely stone pier for hours, sometimes without so much as a gull in sight – “who would do such a thing?” one may wonder. Especially when considering the often rainy, windy, grey and chilly spring conditions typical of the otherwise charming coastal town of New Quay…
We’re Sea Watch Interns, of course! And to clarify why, it’s quite simple really; the dolphins! There is absolutely nothing quite like seeing wild cetaceans; such spirited, uninhibited, yet intelligent beings that have captivated humans for centuries – just ask any of Sea Watch’s newest additions, the 2014 Research Season Interns!
Who are we?
Quite an international bunch, we have come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and even one as far as North America – a cetacean-crazed Canadian (that’s me)! Despite coming from very different backgrounds, and each of us with a wide array of past experiences, we have all come together for more or less the same reason… Perhaps this is why seven people are actually able to cheerfully share a single-bathroom house without complaint?
What are we doing here?
Why come so far to this quaint little town in West Wales? Surely not just to see how many of us can contentedly squeeze into one tiny house… Joking aside, we are all here because we share a true passion for cetaceans, marine conservation and scientific research, or at least some combination of the aforementioned. In addition, we are hoping to further develop our research skills through various fieldwork and assignments. This is exactly why we are all so happy and eager to assist with the running of the “Cardigan Bay Marine Mammal Monitoring Project”. This project involves a combination of conservation, research and education to aid with the management of bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations in Cardigan Bay.
As Research Interns, we take part in the monitoring of abundance, distribution, reproductive success and population structure through the use of line-transect, photo-identification, land-based and acoustic surveys. We are also regularly involved in public education initiatives, increasing awareness and communicating the importance of our research in New Quay. With so much to do we have been very busy and are definitely learning a lot!
So far, life here in New Quay has been pretty wonderful; living in such a lovely town, surrounded by a team of very bright and inspiring individuals, and of course those infamous dolphins! Whether it is the crisp sea breeze, the constant crashing waves or the brilliant species we have come from far and wide to study that reminds us, one thing we know for sure; we are certainly lucky to be here!
Sea Watch Research Intern