It’s been about two weeks since we hosted our biggest event of the year, the Really Wild Festival, and it was great fun being part of it. We had amazingly good weather and around 2000 visitors came along on the day including lots of children who had a great time joining in with all the fun activities. The best part of the day was when the osprey and some dolphins decided to make an appearance.
So now it’s back to business as usual at the Scottish Dolphin Centre. But that doesn’t mean things are getting boring for us volunteers, quite the opposite really. A couple of days after the Really Wild Festival, the residential volunteers headed to Aberdeen to join a BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) training course. After a day of refloating whale dummies and jumping seal models on the sunny beach of Aberdeen, we are now official Marine Mammal Medics and ready to assist marine mammals in distress!
As different conservation organisations around the world often work closely together to achieve common goals, we were delighted to welcome a delegation from the Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation in Taiwan last week. The 4 charming ladies spent several days here at the centre, asking loads of questions about WDC’s work and our educational programme and sharing great insights into their own work in the far East. It was great to see so many similarities and get inspirations for future projects or eventual collaborations. In the end, it is always nice to be reminded that it doesn’t matter where in the world you operate, the passion for the protection of nature burns just as bright in all of us. I really enjoy meeting people from different cultures, as there is so much to discover. Usually they are just as curious as me, which leads to the best and most interesting kinds of conversations. The ladies took the chance to visit the Gordon Castle Highland Games at the weekend, to get an intense experience of Scottish culture and even stopped by our stand for a while. It seemed like they had a great time here in Scotland and, despite the cold they have lots of impressions to take back home. I hope to stay in touch with them and maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to visit their centre in Taiwan.
So, as mentioned, the last big excitement for me lately was representing the Scottish Dolphin Centre at the Gordon Castle Highland Games last weekend. Matt and me had a great spot with a view of the Highland Dance stage and got the chance to invite many people to visit us in Spey Bay. We occasionally alternated in taking little breaks to stroll around the festival area and enjoy some of the numerous performances and the Pipe bands. I even got a short glimpse of some of the actual Games taking place with men in kilts hauling around heavy objects of different shapes. I treated myself to a delicious, freshly baked pasty for lunch and generally enjoyed an eventful day, with mostly sunny weather and lots of friendly faces. I would count that as an overall success.
While I will spend the next few days with preparations for several upcoming specials at the centre before I go on a short holiday home, my fellow volunteers Matt and Andrew are busy organising their Shorewatch events. Andrew – our “Orca expert” – is heading up north this weekend as the representative for Orca Week and will surely have a great time. I can’t wait for his report!