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Being a volunteer with Underwater Wales

Posted: Thursday 30th March 2017 by LivingSeas

Volunteering with Underwater WalesVolunteer training day

Sue describes her thoughts on her first 9 months as a volunteer for Underwater Wales

I have had a blast over the last few months & my calendar is looking nice & busy for 2017.

I’m Sue Timperley, I’m in my late 50’s. I moved to Anglesey in late 2005 having spent many holidays here visiting family. Until June last year I worked as a medical sales person, averaging a thousand miles a week in my car when working full time. Having cut down to 2 days a week in 2014, last June I made the decision to quit working all together, so what to do with all this new found free time? My dogs are my main priority &, since moving here, we have spent many hours on the beaches, so unaware of all that lay at our feet.

I wanted to get involved with some form of volunteering that didn’t involve any driving, so I contacted the North Wales Wildlife Trust & completed the volunteering form, thinking I’d help on their reserves once or twice a month. How wrong was I……….Underwater Wales got to me first. Little did I know how it would change my life!



Shell ID course run by Dr Ian Wallace at Treborth Botanic Garden



I was so lucky to attend a range of training days: shell ID, bird ID, seaweed ID & lots & lots of “on the job training”. Volunteering with Underwater Wales has enriched my life, as well as my knowledge & understanding of marine wildlife & I get to excite & enthuse kids & their parents at the pop up events on our beaches around Anglesey. Over the last 9 months I have learned to identify a variety of shells, shark egg cases (rays are still a work in progress).






Checking for porpoise off Bull bay


I now know the difference between a dolphin & a porpoise – the quickest training ever! From Valley to Bull Bay I had expert tuition from Dawn & within minutes of getting out of the van was teaching people who had come along to “picnic with a porpoise”. Holyhead Festival was another lovely afternoon, we saw scallops in the shallows on the beach, which had one young boy squealing with delight when the scallops squirted water to move along – you can’t buy that sort of joy. I was as excited as the kids were.


Initial briefing before going into the water for Snwdling

We also held the Olimpet games, when we joined the Conwy branch of the NWWT at Colwyn Bay, a great day which also included a beach clean with MCS & fun strandlining where there are treasures to be found. Then there was night time rockpooling; a chance to see who is out & about on our shores after dark, and Snwdling; snorkling & drawing (doodling) under water. It was a lot of fun.

Working with Underwater Wales has led to other new experiences by introducing me to MCS, CoCoast & the Friends of Anglesey Coast Path & I volunteer with all of them… BUT Underwater Wales is my number 1.


Dog whelk eggs with anemones an top shells





















And once I had all this wonderful knowledge, between NWWT events, I get out onto the beach on my own, turn over rocks (making sure to turn them back when done) and find such wonders, like these dog whelk eggs alongside beadlets & periwinkles. 

I have had a blast over the last few months & my calendar is looking nice & busy for 2017.



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