Looking Out To Sea With The Couple….For Whales!

Today we were in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. The town is home to the Couple: a pair of sculptures, one on the shore and a larger 12.5m version out in the bay on the breakwater.

We were there to join members of the North East Cetacean Project for an afternoon of sea watching. Cetaceans are whales, dolphins and porpoises. We were at Church Point, by the 13th Century St Bartholomews Church. This promontory makes a great vantage point.

I noticed this bollard on the way from the car park.

The conditions were not great for sea watching , with quite a swell breaking on the rocks.

K took Buddy for a walk along the beach (the labrador was getting far too interested in everyone’s lunches) and found this shell (yes, that’s my knitting needle gauge). He found others but this was the least damaged.

I can usually identify these, but I’m really not sure what species this is. Its certainly not like any of the shells I usually see around here. Interestingly, the beach at Newbiggin is artificial. After years of erosion the sands had all but gone but in 2007 the beach was reconstructed with sand brought from Skegness. Maybe it’s from there!

I did enjoy meeting the other watchers. Some are members of other marine conservation organisations too – I’d never heard of Sea Shepherd until recently but was really interested to find out about their work internationally and locally. Round here, for example, local volunteers do a lot of seashore litter picks. I’ve also seen Sea Shepherd volunteers at Boulmer (they have very distinctive logos on their jackets) collecting broken lobster pots and washed up fishing gear.

We all know how important it is to reduce plastic pollution in our seas – the issue was brought to global recognition by David Attenborough in the Blue Planet series. For me, this issue was brought alive looking at microscopic plankton samples in an aquarium a few years ago. The samples were full of microfibres – nylon and other materials. That’s why I’m trying to repurpose old yarn with charity knits and buy natural fibre (biodegradable) yarn wherever possible.

The wind strengthened and the sea got rougher so it was time to go. We left shortly before two bottle-nosed dolphins put in an appearance, so the more tenacious watchers were rewarded for their vigilance. There have been no further reported sightings of the off-course sperm whales I wrote about recently. They may well have died way out at sea: at least that way they be feeding the scavengers and return to the food chain, away from human interference.

To end on a happier note, it was lovely to spend the afternoon meeting new people with a shared interest.

Sea Watchers at Church Point, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

I’d love to know if any of my fellow knitters are developing their own environmental policies. If you are please share them.