A group of marine degree students have started their uni experience with a splash.
The students, all in their first week of studying Applied Marine Zoology and Marine Conservation degrees at Cornwall College Newquay, were lucky enough to see a pod of common dolphins on their first boat trip of the year.
The spectacular encounter happened just off Watergate Bay, while the students were getting to grips with their Marine Survey Techniques module.
Marine Lecturer Rebecca Allen from Cornwall College Newquay, said “it felt like an amazing privilege” to be able to observe the dolphins in their natural environment.
“We had an amazing experience today,” she continued.
“It just highlights what extraordinary marine life is right here on our doorstep. We work with Chris Lowe from Newquay Sea Safaris, a brilliant and wildlife sensitive operator, so were able to cut the engines and watch an incredible wildlife spectacle unfold before our eyes without creating any disturbance.”
The dolphins continued with natural feeding behaviour and the students could listen to their social calls and echolocation through an underwater microphone called a hydrophone.
“Every now and then a few dolphins would break off and head over to the boat and have a look at us,” Rebecca explained.
“I’m sure it inspired this new generation of budding marine biologists.”
The excursion was made possible by Newquay Sea Safaris, and the students were treated to around 15 minutes of watching the dolphins swimming around the boat and listening to them through the hydrophone.
Student Gaia Casciello who is studying a foundation degree in Marine Conservation was one of the lucky students on the boat who witnessed the dolphins up close.
“It was amazing, we saw several dolphins jump out of the water, swimming along the surface and slapping their tails across the water to stun the fish,” Gaia said.
“I’ve never seen dolphins before and it is an experience that I will never forget. Watching them in the water is memorising as they are so quick and playful, and it is incredible watching them leap out of the water. We were incredibly lucky so see so many dolphins on the first boat tip of this year.”
For more information on the range of Zoological, Marine & Environmental courses available at Cornwall College Newquay visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.