Arran Dunn, Hampton Boys School, 19th-23rd August 2013

By the time it came to my last day at the CBMWC it seemed like a lifetime since I had I arrived on the Monday morning thinking that I would be lucky to spot one dolphin during my week of work experience. From the moment I arrived I immediately felt part of the team because everyone was very friendly and quickly allowed me to be involved. In only a few days I did so many new things and learnt so much. I carried out five land watches, which involved sitting on the harbour wall with binoculars at the ready, and I saw at least one dolphin almost every day, including a mother and calf. In fact on the first day alone I saw seven! On one day a dolphin jumped clear of the water not far from the rocks below and I also saw diving gannets and a seal that appeared only a metre from the sea wall. It was fantastic!

At the centre it was no less interesting: I inputted the data from our watches into various databases, including writing up notes which I posted onto the CBMWC website and facebook page; I also went down to the beach with another volunteer to collect mussels and a shore crab to put inside the rockpool tank then spent an hour weaving through hundreds of sunbathers to pick up over four hundred pieces of litter!

Friday arrived too quickly and there was still one thing I had not done: I had not gone out on a boat to see the dolphins in the bay and this would only be possible if the boat was not fully booked. I was worried though, because the Dolphin Survey Boat Trips are very popular and my final day was almost coming to an end with the final trip booking up quickly. I waited patiently in the visitor centre hoping that there would be enough space for me, although it wasn’t looking likely as customers kept on arriving to book their places. In fact I had almost given up hope. Then 3.30pm arrived and suddenly my wish was granted. I managed to get a place and this proved to be the finale of my week and something that I will always remember. Out in the bay I spotted several dolphins and then two dolphins dived directly under the boat as we made our way back to the harbour. They were beautiful and they came so close that I could see them perfectly from above as they swam through the clear water.

Thank you to everyone at the CBMWC for making my week with you amazing and probably the best work experience ever.