Mike and Pine had never driven to North Wales before so this was going to be an adventure. After leaving the M4 at Newport we started to make our way north following faithfully Google’s idea of how we should get there. After we missed a turning off the A4 whatever we found ourselves looking at Pine’s road atlas for help. Fortunately this proved much easier to follow and Mike guided us along some B roads back to civilisation. It was a fantastic little diversion with tiny bridges that no normal-sized car could cross and sheep lining the road that might dart out at any minute.
All this excitement and we haven’t even seen a dolphin yet – how are we going to cope when that happens?!?!
As we journeyed up the A470 we passed RAYDAR (Rhayader) as we continued in our massive assault on the Welsh language.
Disclaimer: Please note that any resemblance the place names in this article may have to real places is simply the difference between reality and Mike and Pine’s grasp thereof.
When we got to Pwllheli, we stopped to pick up some supplies before heading off on the final leg to Aberdaron. This is where the Google directions really let themselves down and we had to rely on calling the farmer’s son whose caravan we would be inhabiting for the next 3 weeks to get some directions.
Day 1 in the Little Welsh CaravanMike has settled himself in the master bedroom while Pine has acted with shock horror at the size of the plates and mugs in the kitchen.
Pine has declared that for future fieldwork projects, we should not have to set up camp in a caravan. At the very least she expects a holiday cottage that has normal sized beds (one is only suitable for a dwarf, the others are only suitable for stick insects. If you happen to be broad shouldered you are out of luck). And more than one tea-towel.
Searching for the right spot
Whilst we despaired with the GPS as we tried to find the correct vantage points, we did manage to see Ireland in the distance with our binoculars. Mike then got a text message informing him of roaming charges now that he was on o2 Ireland ? while he was physically still in Wales!
After we had found our vantage point for St Mary’s Well and for Pen y Cil, we established our fieldwork office and looked up the tide times online.
That afternoon we decided that we should do some surveying at St Mary’s Well. In the space of 2 hours we saw many porpoises foraging and feeding in the Bardsey Sound. When I say “we”, I mean that Pine saw lots of porpoises, and Mike saw just a couple – his eyes not being as well accustomed to the act of porpoise finding. It was still a really great end to our first day on fieldwork.
Day 2 in the Little Welsh Caravan
This morning Pine was first up and experimented with the shower. It was favourable compared to showers used in Thailand, so Mike decided to brave it as well.
We set off to St Mary’s Well and spent the morning seeing very little except for a couple of boats and interesting and deceiving swirls in the water that pretended to be a whale’s footprint.
Then we went to Pen y Cil for lunch and managed to see 5 bottle nose dolphins coming around the headland. There was even a calf with them. There was much excitement as we followed these for a few minutes and Pine took some photos.
By 3pm we had only managed to record a couple of extra porpoise sightings so we decided to call it a day as we had to get back to receive the “Big Eyes” that were coming down from North Kessock.