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A little bit about us...

 

On this little page you can get to meet and find out a bit more about myself, Sam, 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.

 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 gobbies 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.

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 this year I am able to offer fully guided dolphin watching trips or sea safaries 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.

Ross Parham

 
Spot on Charters
Brixham & Torbay

Ross Parham, top skipper and life long friend, and although he makes an awful cup of tea we don’t let him near the kettle on our trips. luckily his skills lie in better areas. His knowledge of the sea, fish and dolphin movements are second to none.  We are very lucky to have him and his boat on board with us for these trips.

 

Ross, along with his father designed and this brand new boat back in 2014, built for stability and reliability along with speed and comfort this 10M cougar Cat really is a beautifully built and finished.  This makes her the perfect viewing platform for our dolphin trips and with the added bonus of on board toilet and plenty of tea, coffee and hot drink making facilities.

 

Ross has been on the sea and involved in fishing and boats from as far back as he can remember. He worked on the Lochin 33, the original 'C cheetah' out of Plymouth. He is a very keen angler and enjoys catching fish and helping others, his knowledge of tackle and tactics is very useful and he is always keen to share this with with the anglers.

Ross has fished in many waters of the UK so has a large knowledge from offshore wrecking to inshore reefs and banks. Having had boats moored and fishing from Plymouth, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Brixham, Weymouth and Watchet and he has gathered valuable and useful knowledge along the way.

Ross has worked closely with Marinelife and also heavily involved in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls "Wild West" which featured the search, locating and filming of dolphins.

He has achieved the following qualifications:

Full Seafish endorsed Commercial fishing Skippers certificate for 16.5m unlimited

Department of transport marine directorate full skippers certificate with commercial endorsement.

RYA Day skipper for both power and sailing craft (Shore Based).

RYA Yachtmaster for both power and sailing craft (Shore Based).

RYA Competent first aid.

NUCO First aid.

Seafish/MCA Commercial First aid.

RYA VHF radio telephony.

SEA SURVIVAL STCW 95 Reg.

Seafish/MCA Commercial SEA SURVIVAL FULL.

Boatmasters up to date Medical.

RYA National Power boat Certificates levels 1&2.

RYA National Sailing boat Certificates levels 1&2.

RYA National Dinghy Sailing Certificate Level 3.

BCU Kayaking Certificate 2 star.Seafish/MCA Commercial watch keeping and Navigation.

Seafish/REHIS Commercial Hygiene Certificate.

Seafish Care of the catch Certificate.

Seafish/MCA Health & Safety Certificate.

Seafish/MCA Fire Fighting Certificate.

 

As you can see He’s more than just a skipper!

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

 
 

Peter and Simon Freeman

 
Prime Time
St. Ives

Another Boat thats 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.