As August began the annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch came to a close, after nine days of fun activities and family events. The Sea Watch Foundation is a national charity working to improve the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters. From the 25th July to the 2nd August, Sea Watch celebrated a national whale and dolphin watching event, successfully raising over £700 to improve the protection of the local marine mammals. The event kicked off with a sunny day on the pier where we had an education table of bones and baleen, a photo cut-out and a reading of our book ‘The Magic Dolphin’ by the author Kirsten Hintner, along with face-painting and of course, dolphin spotting. Using the old coastguard lookout we had a cliff watch for wildlife and a family picnic just before the weather took a turn for the worse.
Moving out of the gale to our indoor education room, we had children cover the walls with paintings, drawings and activities sheets which soon overflowed into the hallway. Nearly 200 people created ocean art on our walls over the 9 days, while grabbing a treat from our bake sale or playing with our marine life puppets, which were popular with both the children and our interns! On Tuesday we introduced ‘Percy the Porpoise’ to the public – a life sized porpoise made of rubbish collected from a beach clean. A powerful message of how much damage we can do if our litter ends up in the sea. This encouraged people to get involved in our beach clean where we collected a massive four bags from Dolau beach. The beach activities continued the next day for our sand castle competition where ten families participated, making judging the castles a demanding task, but the winner was ‘Nature Castle’, pictured below, which used seaweed, flowers, feathers and stones to complete the look.
The final event on the 2nd August was our raffle, with over 25 prizes from local shops and business we sold out of tickets on the last day (after a daring, but successful, rescue mission to save a ticket which was blown into the sea!). With the wind against us, we sheltered inside to draw the winners of free meals, boat trips, wine, a ukulele and more. With 11 different species reported over the period and 100 events around the UK, this year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch will be difficult to beat next year!