Eleanor Johnson, Stratford-upon-Avon grammar school, 30th July-3rd August 2012

Within moments of arriving at New Quay and spotting three bottlenose dolphins in the harbour, I knew it was going to be a good week and it certainly was! The welcome I received from Laura and all the volunteers was fantastic and their friendliness and willingness to help me out was great. I am hoping to study Marine Biology at University and so it was very relevant spending my week here and also very useful talking to many of the volunteers who are at University as I could talk to them about their course and University.

I was very impressed by the fact that I was able to have a go at basically all the jobs that the volunteers carry out at CBMWC which made it much more exciting than most work experience placements where you are limited as to what you can do. Being able to carry out the land survey on the harbour wall was a great experience and by the end of the week I had learnt how to fill it all in. This included the location of sightings, their behaviour, encounters and responses to boats as well as the weather conditions, sea state and wind direction. It was interesting learning about the code of conduct and seeing if boats complied with it when encountering dolphins.  I knew only a little bit about dolphins before coming here and so now I feel more knowledgeable about their behaviour and characteristics. It was good to go through the whole process of collecting the data and then inputting this same data into the database later on. This made me feel that I really took an active part in the research they carry out at CBMWC.

The highlight of my week was going out on the boat trip as we were able to see two bottlenose dolphins right up close to the boat which was amazing! I am very pleased I was able to go out on a boat trip so thank you! My week also ended well being on land watch seeing many dolphins very close to the harbour wall as well as an Atlantic grey seal which was a funny moment as Sophie was sure that she had attracted it in with her bright blue wellies!

It was a very enjoyable week and I would love to go back there, thank you!