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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Sea, Cetaceans, Saltire – Volunteering with WDC Shorewatch…

Growing up beside the sea meant that the beach was and still is my favourite place to be. I was always fascinated by the little beasties that lived in the rock pools and nibbled at your toes when you went paddling and I would quite happily spend hours turning over rocks and gazing out to sea hoping to see something bigger…something dolphin like. The fascination with dolphins lead to my parents adopting one of the WDC dolphins (Rainbow) for me for my tenth birthday and in turn this lead to my first dolphin sighting up at Chanonry point that summer. To say I was hooked would be an understatement!

I got involved with WDC as a Shorewatch Volunteer in Nairn in June 2012. I had just left school and was looking for something to do over the summer. I didn’t want to spend my last summer before university working full time so I started looking for voluntary positions. I spotted the Shorewatch training advert in our local paper, got in touch and got involved. After a move for university in September 2012, I now live and watch in the bottlenose dolphin capital of Scotland – Aberdeen – and love every minute of it.

Abigail dolphin watching at Torry Battery

Wind back a few months and in early 2012 I was introduced to the Saltire award scheme. Saltire is a Scottish Government initiative to encourage young people between the ages of 12 and 25 to volunteer in their local communities. I would encourage any young volunteers to sign up for Saltire, it is a great way to keep track of what you are doing and get recognition for your excellent contributions! In September 2015 I achieved my 500 hour award for hours undertaken between 2009 and 2015 with various organisations including WDC.

Through volunteering with WDC I have been able to do something I love at a time that works in with my studies and I have learnt a lot doing it. I have met some brilliant people and have had an immense amount of fun working with the other volunteers. The amazement in the eyes of the children we speak to, in Aberdeen especially, when they see dolphins leap out of the water is a feeling that will never get old. I will never forget the first time I saw dolphins bow ride out on a boat, to say I got a little bit excited and got a few weird looks from passers-by would be an understatement. I think it is fair to say that volunteering with WDC has become a part of my life which I really enjoy and as long as I live by the sea…or remotely near it, I will continue watching for the smallest hint of a tail or a fin…

Images copyright Abigail Hay

Saltire volunteering award