Western Ecology Tour: Notes from the Field – Pembrokeshire
Scubaverse blogger, Donovan Lewis, is currently on the Western Ecology Tour. The aim of the expedition is to travel to the northern reaches of Scotland, along the West Coast to the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, and finally onto Pembrokeshire, diving the best the west has to offer. The expedition is looking to live life in a minimalist way, camping and cooking out in the open air.
The teams aim is not just to dive sites, but to tackle conservation issues and shed light on projects up and down the UK, they have three projects which the trip will be focusing on. These projects include the Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland, Project Seagrass, and Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC). The team will be accompanied with a Biologist or expert that works on each of the 3 projects to aid and guide the team, but also help shed extra light on the critical conservation work being carried out.
Here are Donovan’s notes from the third and final leg of the trip:
Hello once more the final field report from expedition WET, as the expedition reach es its final leg its amazing to see how much we’ve done as a team. In our final leg we we’re in Pembrokeshire where we were covering NARC (Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners) with Lloyd Jones.
Our first dive was at Hobbs Point at Pembroke Dock. This dive was a sad one, NARC had been called to the area due to a report of several oil drums and other rubbish that had been thrown in the water. We were able to lift four oil drums, nets, a scooter, and much more. There was also a huge amount of fishing gear tangling around the kelp and seabed and even when we were in the water there were anglers on the wall above the dive site.
The next dive lead by Lloyd was at Martins Haven a mere five-minute drive from where we were staying at West Hook Campsite, this site is part of the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve. Here we saw lobster, mating Spider Crabs, a Pink Sea Fan and Moon Jellyfish.
The Final Dive which was also led by Lloyd as he was determined to find us huge amounts of catsharks was at Stackpole Quay on the South Pembrokeshire Coast, This site was a shallow dive at no more 7.5 metres but the dive was full of life with once again loads of mating Spider Crabs, lobster, Pollock, Sand Eel and huge amounts of catsharks.
As the expedition was ending, we found out there were some spaces on the Saturday and Sunday on Celtic Deeps Puffin and Seal snorkel Trips and some of us booked on to go out with them. Let’s just say that day was incredible, but you’ll have to wait for the images in the full trip report.
If you’d like any further information on the Expedition Western Ecology Tour check out the webpage https://andythenortherndiver.com/expedition-wet/
Jeff chats to… Ana Filipa Sobral, Founder of The Manta Catalog Project in the Azores (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ana Filipa Sobral, Founder and Project Leader of The Manta Catalog Project in the Azores.
Ana Filipa Sobral is a marine biologist and conservationist based in the Azores Islands. She moved to the Azores in 2011 and once there, realised that this was one of the few places in the world where Sicklefin Devil Rays (Mobula tarapacana) gather in large groups, making it a strategic place to study them. She started the The Manta Catalog Project and through this project, collects photo ID and occurrence data on Mobulid Rays, with the precious help of divers and dive operators as citizen scientists.
Ana is also finishing her PhD which focuses on population genetics and connectivity of migratory elasmobranchs in oceanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The main goal fueling my research has been to help fill the knowledge gaps on elasmobranch biology and ecology to ultimately assist in the design of effective conservation and management plans aimed at protecting their populations in this remote region of the North Atlantic Ocean.
You can find out more about Ana’s important work at: https://mantacatalogazores.wixsite.com/mobulaid/project.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
Jeff chats to… Arlindo Serrao, Founder of PortugalDive.com about diving in Portugal, The Azores and Madeira (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Arlindo Serrao, Founder and General Manager of PortugalDive.com. They talk about diving in Portugal, The Azores and Madeira, as well as The Diving Talks International Diving Congress 2022.
Arlindo describes himself as “a father of three, a cave diver, and I love to share what Portugal, the Azores archipelago and Madeira islands have to offer.”
“After 25+ years working in multinational companies, I decided to start doing it for fun! I founded Portugal Dive, the “We worry, You dive!“ concept: a boutique dive concierge that organizes group and solo trips for guests to experience Portugal’s underwater highlights on the mainland and in the Azores and Madeira. More recently I founded Diving Talks, an international diving congress that brings Portugal divers, explorers, scientists, researchers, to share with the diving community their most recent subaquatic achievements and discoveries.”
Find out more at www.portugaldive.com and www.divingtalks.com.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.