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Focus week: Quay West, New Quay

Have we found the best family day out you can experience in New Quay, South Wales?
When I started zooming in on the best days out in New Quay, one activity really stood out above the rest.

Before I go on about it, let me just say thanks to Rachael and Chris who shared their best things to do in South Wales with us. They both work at our brilliant Quay West park and when it comes to having fun in in the area, we can definitely depend on them two for suggestions.

Here’s what we found out …

Spotting dolphins from a boat in Cardigan Bay 7         

Distance from Quay West park:1.1 mile
(Fourminute drive, 25 minute walk, eight minutes on the bus, which comes every hour)
TripAdvisor rating:4.5 stars
Age range: Suitable for all ages
Price bracket: £15 – £55 (adult prices)

Photograph by Sarah Perry

Photograph by Sarah Perry

I’d heard about dolphin spotting off the coast of Wales before but I never realised the trips set off just a mile from our Quay West holiday park.

And the more I’ve looked into these dolphin survey boat trips, the more I’ve decided that I now NEED to go on one.

“Every time we go dolphin spotting and my dad comes along, every time he turns his back we see them and he keeps missing them. After two years, he still hasn’t seen a dolphin.”
~ Chris, EntertainmentManager at Quay West holiday park

It’s not just the bottlenose dolphins you’ve got to keep any eye out for, because harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals hang out here too!

According to Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC), even Minke whale and a thresher shark have been spotted near here in the past.

The boats head out every single day (unless the weather’s dodgy), from Easter until October. Kids hop on-board for £10 (two hour trip) and grownups for £18. You can get four hour trips for less than double the price and the chance to join a team of scientists an all-day trip at £55 per person (lasts approx. eight hours). Any kids under 12 months go free.

The trips are run by Dolphin Survey Boat Trips, who partner with CBMWC – inviting their volunteer researchers on-board every time to collect important data.

I got to speak to Sarah, who’s the Science officer at CBMWC, and she was lovely. She revealed some amazing stuff to us …

It’s not guaranteed that you will see any wildlife on a trip … but these guys know what they’re looking for and they’ll always do their best to get you a sighting.

Close to New Quay, the dolphins are usually just looking for food. So, Sarah likes the longer boat trips because the further dolphins are away from the bay, the more likely they are to be socially active. She also likes to keep an eye out for mothers and their calves here, as well as all the different seabirds that flock in every year.

Throughout May, June and July, you’ve got a good chance at spotting a razorbill or guillemot (they look a bit like penguins, but as you know, we don’t get penguins too close to home) on New Quay headland. Their chicks are called ‘jumplings’, and it’s the father who looks after them at sea once they leave the safety of the cliff ledges.

Between August and October, the grey seals start to have their pups too. I reckon this’d be the best time of year for me – just at the tail-end of the summer holidays.

Source Cardigan-Bay.com

Source Cardigan-Bay.com

 

If you’re thinking about booking a trip, then you might want to look out for Sarah’s favourite dolphin – ‘007’ (that’s just his name… because he was the seventh dolphin photographed for the catalogue…Sarah thinks he could well be a secret agent J).

“My favourite dolphin is probably 007. He comes into the bay quite a lot and you can tell it’s him by spotting his well-marked dorsal fin.”
~ Sarah Perry, Science Officer at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre

 

You can see loads more dolphins, their names and how to identify them, using the latest Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s photo-identification catalogue. Or if you want to adopt a Cardigan Bay dolphin and get to know them properly, you can sign-up on the website (you get a certificate, a photo, a cuddly toy and everything!).

There’s a visitor centre at the CBMWC headquarters too, so before you head out, you can learn all about the wildlife in the area (free admission, and open April to November). There are even some interactive games for the kids to get stuck into, an aquarium of rock pool species to study, an education room(open during summer) and a gift shop to grab a cuddly version of your favourite sea life animal.

Have you spotted a dolphin yet?

So, after everything I’ve read and heard, this definitely sounds like the best South Wales day trip for me. And I love Chris’s story about his dad who keeps missing the dolphins when they show up! Bless.

Have you ever seen a dolphin in real life?

If you end up in New Quay, try and spot ‘007’ for us – or his friend ‘Nick’, a female dolphin that pops up in the bay sometimes too. It’s not easy … but you can always ask the researchers for a bit of help.

Share your story in the comments beneath this post and send us some photos if you have any – we’d love to retweet them for you. Here’s the Twitter account: @haven

And let me know if you’ve got any more ideas for amazing things to do in New Quay – we can start building a list.

 

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