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MEET THE TEAM

A  LITTLE  BIT ABOUT US...

 

On this little page you can get to meet and find out a bit more about myself, Sam, the guides and our fantastic skipper's and their boats which we are all very proud of and immensely lucky to work with. As you can see they all boast a impressive knowledge and have dedicated their lives to the sea and just like myself, are passionate about what they do. These really are a dedicated group of skippers and we take great pride in the teams that we use, not only there experience and skills at sea, but also their knowledge, values, passion and drive for conservation and wellbeing of all marine life.

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SAM CUNNINGHAM

 
Dolphin Watch UK
Tour Guide and Trip Organiser, Passionate about Dolphins

The sea has been, to put it mildly, a complete infatuation of mine since I was small. I remember all the hours spent at the beach waiting patiently with my dad by rock pools, in an attempt to try and catch the little gobies and bennies in a net. Or enthusiastically turning over every rock and mound of seaweed I physically could, in a search for shore crabs and shrimps.

This, in turn, from an early age drove passion for the larger marine animals with dolphins, whales and seals being the creatures that I truly fell in love with. Many happier hour was spent gazing seaward in an attempt to glimpse one of these truly beautiful animals, I so longed for.

In my teens, I met Ross, and he has a been a life long friend since, we would spend days together at the coast fishing and camping or mucking around on his boat, this is where my true passion for dolphins arose. Hours were spent studying the horizon, waiting for the backs of a pod of common dolphins to breach the surface of the water, on the flat calm days we were out. We’d steam to them, in a hope that they'd be enticed to come and play with the boat, riding the bow waves and surfing the wash along side us.

In 2014 Ross along with his dad, designed and built his new boat, a very stable, comfortable and spacious 10M Cougar Cat known as Spot On and she's been happily living and working out of Brixham since. I was lucky enough to be asked to work for Ross crewing and aiding him on his Fishing trips, that is where his knowledge lies. This has since led me to take my RYA Powerboat qualification and I will be working towards both Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper later this year.  I am also a WiSe accredited wildlife safe operator.  Click HERE for more details.

Working closely with Ross at sea has enabled me to build a rather extensive knowledge of all marine life and fuelled my thirst to devote as much time as possible to these rather mesmerising dolphins that frequent us on the trips.

As of 2020 I have been able to offer fully guided dolphin watching trips or sea safaris as I call them. Working closely with other dedicated and exceptional skippers alongside Ross I can now offer trips in Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall....Exciting times lie ahead!

TOM BRERETON

 
Dolphin Watch UK - MARINElife
Tour Guide - Trip Survey and Research Specialist

I am very pleased to welcome Tom to our team for 2021.

 

Tom has been has been a keen bird watcher since the mid 1970s and has worked in wildlife conservation research for over 30 years. Having previously been a seabird warden for the RSPB, his current role (since 2007) is Research Director for the charity MARINElife, carrying out extensive research and survey work on dolphins and seabirds in Lyme Bay.  

 

Tom has also been a wildlife guide for over 20 years leading many seabird, whale and dolphin watching trips around Norway, the Canary islands, Iceland, the Faroes, the Bay of Biscay, the Azores, California, Cape Verde and West Africa.

Tom is certainly amongst the top few when it comes to both experience and knowledge of all MARINElife... see what I did there!!

 

An all round really really nice chap!! Tom also won our recent Facebook Poll for Sexiest DWUK tour guide..so he's easy on the eyes too hey ladies!

 

Toms scientific publications can be viewed HERE.

BEA CHATER

 
Dolphin Watch UK - Cetacean Guide
Tour Guide - Trip Survey and Documentation

Its great to be able to add Bea (or Bra as my autocorrect frequently changes her name to) to the team for 2021, as you can see i'm sure she's gonna be a fantastic addition to us in the coming seasons.  Here's a few words from Bea herself below👇🏻👇🏻 

 

Hi my name is Bea and I am really excited to be joining the Dolphin Watch UK team.

 

I have always loved spending time in the great outdoors, especially in or near the sea, and have been curious and passionate about wildlife and it's conservation, from a young age.

 

This led me to complete a degree in Zoology from Cardiff University and since then I have been lucky enough to spend time volunteering and working for a number of wildlife and conservation organisations.

 

2019 was spent as a marine awareness assistant for the Devon Wildlife Trust, exploring the rocky shoreline at Wembury, and showing the amazing variety of species there to school groups and families on rockpool rambles and snorkelling trips.  I have also spent time conserving marine turtles in Crete and Costa Rica, and volunteering and working for Whale and Dolphin Conservation in Wales and Scotland.  

 

These experiences have been deeply rewarding, and I am particularly passionate about whales and dolphins. Nothing beats seeing these intelligent and beautiful animals in their natural habitat, learning about their lives and culture, and sharing these experiences with others.

 

I am really looking forward to getting out at sea and showing people the wonderful marine and bird life we have along our coastline.

AMBER CORAM

 
Dolphin Watch UK - Masters Degree 
Exeter University Student - Trip Survey and Documentation

From May and right through the season we will be welcoming Amber to the team she's an Exeter University Student that we are helping with her Masters and we like to think she's made a great choice in joining us this summer.  Here's a bit more about Amber...

 

Hi, my name is Amber and I am really excited to be joining Dolphin Watch UK to undertake my Master’s research project!

 

I have lived by the coast all my life, and I have always been fascinated by the marine environment. Whilst growing up in Dorset, I was always on the lookout for dolphins- no luck as of yet but can’t wait for some encounters this summer during my project!

 

My undergraduate degree was in Biology at the University of Exeter where I was fortunate enough to pursue my interest in marine conservation through field trips to the Bahamas and the south of France. My passion for marine mammal science in particular led me to write my dissertation on the impact of plastic pollution on cetaceans around southeast Asia and the importance of citizen science for improving our understanding of these animals. I am now taking a Master’s in marine vertebrate ecology and conservation, where I am studying the ecology of common dolphins throughout Devon and Dorset and observing their population trends. I saw my first common dolphins last week (and my first dolphins in the UK) which makes me excited to get out with Dolphin Watch UK and learn more about these incredible animals.

Amber's Masters details are below....

"The ecology, population status and changing distribution of Short-beaked Common Dolphins off Devon and Dorset Short-beaked Common Dolphin has increased rapidly in recent years in Devon and Dorset waters during the summer months, yet there has been little research on the species. Existing MARINElife data and newly collected data will aim to quantify distribution and elucidate the environmental factors driving the changing distribution, whilst photo-identification studies (and matches with other photographed animals from other regions) will shed light on population size, structure and fidelity. The project will involve daily boat surveys from Brixham, south Devon whilst a suitable camera will be needed for photographing fins at high resolution."

SIMON PALMER

 
Dolphin Watch UK - AfriCat
Photographer, Cameraman and Presenter

Meet new team member Simon!  Its great to have Simon on board and we are all very much looking forward to running the NEW PHOTOGRAPHY TUITION TRIPS with him, pop over to the trip pages to find out more about the shortly.

 

Simon has been a photographer and cameraman for many years, starting with the “wildlife” of music photography, photographing  some very well known artists on stage. He swapped those late nights for very early mornings working with horses, filming the American Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts, for over a decade and winning an international award for his film work. But, he finally settled on conservation and the creation of images that support charities such as AfriCat, of which he is now an Ambassador. Simon previously taught photography in his own clinics and speaks regularly at photographic clubs about his work and the issues of Human Wildlife Conflict.

“I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and seeing people enjoy the same thing. I started out enjoying music and had a few lucky breaks with the bands I enjoyed. It certainly was a different type of wildlife but it taught me so much about the connection between the artist and their music. Using that knowledge I found the same thing between horses and their owners. Fast-forward a few years, and I find myself doing the same thing with big teeth and claws. Nature is an amazing world, and I wish I had come to the party a lot earlier than in my forties!

My passion for supporting wildlife ended up with me becoming an Ambassador for a charity that provides research, education, and support to wildlife in Namibia and the communities around them. Now I find myself switching sand, and droughts, for a large amount of water, and some of the most intelligent sea creatures that also deserve our support and care!"

Welcome On Board!

 

GEORGIA SMALL

 
Dolphin Watch UK -
Cetacean Guide and Researcher
Tour Guide - Trip Survey, Documentation and Reasearch

Let me introduce the newest member to the Dolphin Watch UK team, meet Georgia.

 

Georgia ticks all the boxes when it comes to who we want to be helping lead our trips, her knowledge given her young age is exceptional and her passion for conservation and her drive to change the seas for the better is more than admirable.

Here's a little bit more about her.

 

Hello, my name is Georgia, and I am so excited to be joining the Dolphin Watch UK team!  I am hugely passionate about conserving our oceans and studying the marine life within.

I have spent most of my life by the sea which has led me to study a Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology degree at the University of Plymouth. Alongside my degree, I am currently the chair of the Marine Biological Society and I also volunteer as the School Representative for Biological and Marine Sciences. 

I spend the majority of my free time volunteering for organisations and have completed placements at the Marine Biological Association, Bournemouth Oceanarium and Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary in recent years. I love working in educational roles such as my position with Dorset Wildlife Trust as a Marine Warden, volunteering at BioBlitz events and my volunteering role on the public engagement team at the National Marine Aquarium. I am particularly interested in the study of cetaceans and have completed training with Marine Life, ORCA and BDMLR to broaden my knowledge and skillset. It is my aspiration to pursue a career in cetacean research and I am so excited to share my enthusiasm of our local marine wildlife with others on these fantastic boat trips!

 

SHAUN PEDLEY

 
Our Joe-L
Paignton, Torquay and Brixham

Shaun Pedley another great skipper we've added to the 2021 trips list.

 

The Pedley family have run business situated in the coastal town of Paignton, South Devon since 1989.

 

​Shaun Pedley is now Skipper of Our Joe-L following on from his farther Simon.  The family run business has spent over 30 years  at sea looking after both fisherman and photographers alike.

 

OUR JOE-L runs out of Paignton, Torquay and Brixham.  Shaun works with numerous wildlife groups along side running bespoke fishing holidays here in Torbay.  Check out his Facebook page as the family also run and own Parkholm Hotel making accommodation for trips easy.

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Our Joe-L is one of the best kept charter boats around, a 35foot Offshore 105.  She can safely accommodate up to 10 passengers.  She is licenced and coded by the MCA for Cat 2 for 60 Nautical miles offshore with 10 passengers and 2 crew.  She is a comfy vessel offering both covered and uncovered seating, on deck toilet and hot drink making facilities.

When not working out at sea, Shaun has numerous hobbies which mainly involve being out to sea... either Gigg Rowing or Paddle Boarding.  Salt water flows through his vains and this is just one of many reasons we are excited and very much looking forward to working with him in 2021.

 

 

DAN GUMMOW

 
Borlewen II
Fowey & Loe

Dan is new to us as a skipper this year but is far form new to being at sea, he’s an around great guy and certainly knows whats he’s doing when it comes to searching for dolphins

 

Dan started commercial fishing at the at the age of 16, as crew aboard a local boat. While handlining and netting, he studied for his NVQ Level 2 in fishing operations, which on completion he received the award for the top student of the year.

 

After six years aboard several different boats engaging in different fisheries, Dan bought his first boat; an 11-metre trawler. Since then, he upgraded to a larger trawler before selling it and buying the Borlewen in 2015, for charter fishing in summer months and commercial fishing in the winter months.

 

With 19 years of experience as a commercial fisherman and extensive knowledge of the local grounds, Dan can provide anglers with a great day on the water. Since the success of Borlewen I, Dan purchased a 10-metre Cheetah catamaran, the Borlewen ll, for the 2018 season.

 

Dan is a fully qualified skipper, including all safety certificates.

 

We are very pleased to be working with Dan and now able to offer these wonderful trips out of beautiful Fowey!

 

LUKE PETTIS

 
Snapper Charters
Weymouth and Portland

Luke, the skipper of Snapper, has been at sea for as young as he can remember. He learned the ropes aboard the family boat and crewing for other charter boats in the port before buying the original Snapper, an Offshore 32 at the age of 18.  After 2 years Luke purchased a larger Blyth catamaran, which he completely refitted. Luke is an experienced and qualified skipper with a vast knowledge of the waters around Weymouth and Portland. If anyone can find the wildlife in this area its our man Luke.

Luke has also worked in the commercial fishing industry, crab and rod and line bass fishing as well as on wind farm survey boats and so is the perfect choice of skipper, he knows these seas like the back of his hand.

Snapper is a 12m Powerglide, state of the art charter fishing boat. Based in Weymouth harbour and with access to some of the most stunning Jurassic coastline in the UK. She is licensed to carry 12 people and fitted with all of the latest safety equipment and fish finding technology (although we don't use these really to find cetaceans). With a 16ft beam she offers the largest deck spaces in the port providing ample space to manoeuvre, and a super stable platform for viewing and wildlife watching, as well as filming and photographing from.

Weymouth is an area I've wanted to add to the list of ports for a long time now, it holds a group of resident Bottlenose dolphins, masses of common dolphins and Porpoise as well as fairly frequent Risso's and occasional White Beaked.

Once again another person we are really excited to be joining the DWUK team for 2021. 

 

ALAN AND HILARY HEMSLEY

 
The African Queen
Dartmouth And Kingswear

Owned and run by husband and wife team, Alan & Hilary Hemsley, both qualified, experienced skippers with over 20 years experience running out of Dartmouth.

 

On the African Queen we can offer a variety of pleasant trips, ranging from 2 hour early bird and evening trips to half days and whole days.  Dartmouth itself is a picturesque port and an excellent part of Torbay with plenty of wildlife to be seen up and down the river, as well as out to sea where we can find a variety of Dolphins, Whales, Porpoise, Seals, Sharks and Tuna along with a large diversity of pelagic bird species as well, the possibilities are endless.

A trip with Alan, Hilary and the Dolphin Watch team is an ideal way to explore the beautiful South Coast of Devon and Cornwall.  You can enjoy the use of the on board toilet and hot drink facilities while we cruise as well, we can even warm your lunch if required on the longer trips.

 

The boat is licensed to comply with the new Department of Transport code of practice category 2, 60 miles with 12 passengers plus 2 crew. She carries full safety equipment which is inspected by the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) annually.  She offers safe and comfortable cruising for both adults and children. The well equipped wheelhouse has VHF radio, GPS navigation system, Echo sounder, Radar and all other necessary equipment for safe, pleasant and trouble free free cruising along Devon and Cornwall's South coast.

For a long time now Alan and Hilary's minds have been set on conservation and this can be seen in their approach to both wildlife cruises and the other fishing trips they run.  In the past they've had involvement with Plymouth University aiding students in both research and surveying.   

It is for this very reason that we have chosen to team up with Alan and Hilary and are yet again very excited to offer another destination to be running from for 2021.

 
 

PETER AND SIMON FREEMAN

 
Prime Time
St. Ives

Another Boat that's new to us this year is Prime Time ably Skippered by Peter Freeman and his son Simon who has been skippers of their own fishing and charter boats from St. Ives for over 60 years between them.

We really love Prime Time and they really are a hard hard working family business with Peter's Daughter Sally and her Daughter Sara also helping with the running of what is without doubt in our eyes is St. Ives best dolphin and seal watching boat. 

Wild about Sea Life, Passionate about Dolphins.