From: alan cooper
Date: Saturday, 5 March 2005

Subject: Close up of an orca-don't forget to bring a canoe to the dolphin camp
The 3rd Vegan 'n Vegetarian dolphin camp in Wales September 1-10th 2005
A chance to see dolphins amongst kindred spirits!

PHOTO: Damian Sidnell; dolphins in Cardigan Bay Calf and Mother

The dolphins in Cardigan Bay have a population estimate of apparently 127 animals. Not a lot considering the vast area of Cardigan Bay.
Apparently they are semi-resident, moving more off-shore in the winter months I first went there looking for dolphins in 1990, on arrival my friend and we immediately saw 3 dolphins close inshore and we thought wow great, and then over the next few days saw none! So there are no guarentees and you can't chase dolphins around and the great thrill is when you are sat and they suddenly appear to you!
In 2003 I was there for a couple of weeks and saw dolphins every day.A large group of 12, including a mother and calf ( born this year). This year I found a great new observational point, looking straight down at dolphins 120 feet below, seals too and a myriad of sea-birds. Sitings were less in 2004.

What this isn't:
A chance to swim with dolphins, they are a complete integrated social group and no approach towards them should be made. However I have anecdotally been told of jumping dolphins over canoeists.
I don't see this as a group thing where we tag along together. The area where the camp site is located, is a fantastic area for sea-cliff walks, mountain walks( if you come by car), quiet cycling lanes.
People should feel free to do their own thing , walking, cycling, or just chilled out by their tents but hopefully we will create a feeling of wanting to particpate some of the time in things together or a feeling that the world isn't such a terrible place after all!
I just thought it good to bring vegan/vegetarians together to see dolphins and have a meal and beer together on the same camp site. I have been preveileged many times to see cetaceans and I know there are veg./vegans out there who would love to have the opportunity, I am just facilitating that. If it inspires one person to campaign for dolphins then it will have been a major success

Boat -trips
At the moment there is someone who runs'kosher trips' I wouldn't particuarly recommend him or not recommend him. He charges 24pds for a 4 hour trip. I went out with him for 2 days in the mid 90's and on 1 day 12 dolphins hit our boat and he wouldn't let me go to the bow for insurance reasons! Basically he has found a niche in the market with his wildlife tours, before that he apparently did angling trips!. He has WDCS affiliation and a code of conduct.There may also be the chance to book a sailing boat if there is enough interest at around £40 per person for a full days sail.

Camp site:
I will be there during the whole period 1-10th but feel free to come for the whole or part of it.
A quiet camp site( field with shower and toilet, should be available for our exclusive use at 4pds per tent per night. This is owned by a farmer, not perfect, but neither is another site owned by another dubious
person, and a BBQ sited by the next tent.
Basically If you want to come and be with similiar minded folk and see the laupers,(lovely Scottish slang for leapers!) just send me the money for the camp-site to confirm you are coming £4 per tent per night, payable to Alan Cooper. There is also a £10 booking fee to contribute to Cetacea Defence's voluntary work. On receit of that I will send you the address of the camp and directions

What to bring:
Definitely a smile, you will be with others who love and respect nature, animals and dolphins . If that dosen't appeal strongly to you then this may not be for you. If you see dolphins you will have a huge grin ear 2 ear.
The expectation to have a great time, binoculars, camera, good tent, some warm clothing and shorts( it can be hot too!) A canoe if you can do some inshore paddling safely.

In 2003, 4 people came, last year 10 and a dog, are you coming to see the laupers in 2005?

This was awesome! There's something about dolphins! When a dear friend of ours died, there was a pod of dolphins outside his hospital room window in the bay. After he passed, they turned and swam out to sea. When we went out on the ship with his cremains, which were dispersed on the water, there were dolphins following the ship out and also below us when the cremains were released. We each tossed in a flower and the dolphins came and took them away! It was just so awesome! Had the same thing happen to a family another time when we went out on the ship. There's no way to explain it but it was phenomenal!
Love ya lots,

A Dolphin Short Story by alan cooper

The man sat on top of the sea cliffs. Below him lay a blue calm sea. It seemed Cardigan Bay stretched out to infinity and in that infinity that day, there had been no sightings of dolphins. He had been there for over five hours, half-expecting half hoping they would appear. Every shimmering of life on the sea's surface, was a break of a wave or a black head of a guillemot not a dark dorsal fin . Briefly his hopes had been raised only to be dashed.

The sultry afternoon had turned into a very pleasant summer's eve. The man knew or thought he knew the movements of leapers or 'laupers' as they are know in Scotland. Other people sometimes called him an 'expert'‚ this always made him smile. This expert‚ didn't really expect the dolphins to pass by Birds rock at this late hour, that hadn't been his experience, but while there was the slightest chance he would stay. He had seen them every day but at mid-day not at this time. One day there had been over ten dolphins dazzling him below in their ballet.

During his time gazing out to sea, he watched the kittiwakes; guillemots; razorbills; possibly choughs and a lone kestrel circle the rock. It fascinated him that a small group of guillemots could peacefully co-exist of a space no bigger than a large coffee table. He contemplated the notion of an experiment and how long it would take a group of humans on an equivalent sized area, before they began throwing one-another off the ledge !

The sun was beginning to dip below the horizon of a fiery red sky. "Sod you Apollo and yer dolphins, if you had only come, the clearness of sea and air would have made seeing you even better than usual", he uttered in jest.

As the man stood up to leave and walk the mile back to his tent, five dolphins breached clear of the sea in unison, scattering jewels as they reached for the sun . Behind them followed a mother and calf, emulating the others. The first five leaped again mockingly hey Mr dolphin expert we've only been a short way, to a dolphin that is, down the coast and you've been sat there five hours looking for us‚ , te he he. The man enjoyed the irony of their joke. Even the calf, a miniature of perfection , seemed to be laughing, aw mum, why do I have to do this for the dolphin man, how high should I go, how far is it, am I nearly there yet!

* "Diviner than the dolphin, nothing yet has been created Oppian the Greek philosopher wrote.

The man knew moments like this were rare and every second had to be memorised and locked into the heart and brain to recall in times when he only dreamt of the freedom that was theirs. Angels messengers from the gods," thank-you Apollo he cried and as he did they were gone and he knew they wouldn't return.

The man waved, for a wave even if unreturned is still a wave. Come back earlier tomorrow" and with that he turned and walked back to his tent, living felt good and dreams were dreamt straight from heaven.

A. Cooper

* Observation has shown that dolphin mothers have a dolphin aunt who help in upbringing of the calf. For as divine as their babies are, they may like human mothers be stressed by their off-spring !

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