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Steve Hartley is the founder of Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, New Quay. He now runs Dolphin Survey Boat Trips, however previously fished the waters of Cardigan Bay.

A member of our Living Seas Team sat down with Steve, to discuss his memories of life in the Bay. Here, he discusses a memorable encounter with bottlenose dolphins off New Quay in 1887/88.

Recollection as follows:

"I remember a lovely old couple came down. Dr Schmink he was called – he sent me a lovely letter afterwards, from Holland or Northern Europe somewhere…He said they were interested in the dolphins, he was a Dr or Professor, and asked if I would take them out to see them.

So, I said we don’t do that round here…but I might be going out myself later on, so if you want to come along…But it wasn’t a 'paid trip'.

So, we went out in the evening/late afternoon. Sure enough, straight away we were heading out to the north west, and a group of animals joined us. And we went for miles, we were going out at the same speed – maybe 4 knots – for over an hour, with this group of animals riding along with us. In the end, I remember saying: “I’ve got my supper to get back to!” …I’d have to turn around, as I had to get home. So, I slowly turned the boat around.

The couple were both on the bow watching. So, I turned gently and as we slowly started to pick up speed, as it was such a lovely experience for then, so I slowly began to pick up some speed. Him and his wife were on the bow, and they were saying: “oh, there’s two down here, two here…then there was four down there…and then more down there…”. And just as I was starting to pick up, we got to about 7 or 8 knots, all of a sudden all six came up absolutely synchronised in front of the boat, then went down, and they were gone.

It was absolutely stunning – if that wasn’t saying ‘goodbye’/’cheerio for now’!

This couple was blown away, and so was I – for them to have a random trip, to cadge a ride on a boat, and see something like that, they were really chuffed as well!"

To learn more about Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, please visit:

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