Francesca Mancini 19 February-28 July 2013
It’s not easy to describe my experience as a volunteer at CBMWC with few words. I can tell you how it started: it was a very cold winter and I was alone in a foreign country. I can also tell you how it ended: it was a warm and sunny summer and I was surrounded by friends. I was just looking for some field experience to embellish my CV, but my time in New Quay was much more.
I spent six months at CBMWC and the everyday work was never boring nor repetitive, every day was different and exciting. Even the worst land surveys, with the worst weather conditions, were worth it. Boat surveys were just magic: when four dolphins approach your boat and bow-ride for half an hour, and they’re so close that you can actually hear their whistles, well, that makes you forget your seasickness. It was also very nice to talk to people in the visitor centre or during the land surveys about my work at CBMWC. I had the chance to work with the photo-ID catalogue, identifying dolphins from the marks on their fins, and that was one of my favourite things. I learnt so much during my time as a volunteer and I will always be so grateful to the CBMWC team for what they taught me.
New Quay is a beautiful place; imagine a place when you wake up in the morning, look out of your window and see dolphins in the sea. People are incredibly nice and there’s a lot to do: water sports, long walks on the coast path or simply sunbathe on the beach. Living with the other volunteers was incredibly fun, we spent some quality time together watching films, going to the pub, baking, shopping or bird watching. I also celebrated my birthday there, and it was one of the best parties of my life. I’m still in touch with them and I hope to see them again.
Working at CBMWC was a special experience to me; besides what I learnt and the friends I made, the greatest thing was the feeling of being part of something important, doing my bit to help protect the environment. And the bottom line is: I hope to go back there soon!