I would not creep along the coast but steer
Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars. – George Eliot
We have bottlenose dolphins in our waters. A semi-resident population of bottlenose dolphins stay in the Cardigan Bay for the better part of the year. They leave only when the water becomes too cold in the winter – which, for the record, it does. Crazy cold. The Cardigan Bay is a relatively shallow body of water, extending for about 30 miles at an average depth of only 20 metres. This means the water may be a little warmer than the average UK sea temperature in summer. The opposite is true in the winter – it’s colder than average.
This sea has another effect too. Boats sailing these waters were once especially designed for the Cardigan Bay. They were cut high, ready to steer through its short, choppy waves in a storm – since shallow water behaves differently with wind then deep water. The sailing industry was more locally-oriented back then.
We remembered the sea temperature difference when we were in Cornwall last week. The deep, Atlantic, Cornish water was what our sea felt like at the end of April/beginning of May. Ouch! We couldn’t swim with ease. On the flip side though, this means the sea temperatures are higher in Cornwall in winter than the Cardigan Bay. So, if you’re into winter swimming.. Cue the smug shrug. I’m not planning on doing too much winter swimming. Plus we don’t have as many tourists doing adventure stuff as in Cornwall. Our tourists like buckets and spades and sitting on benches a lot – probably watching the dolphins frolic.
Vronnie takes photos of the dolphins on her balcony every time she notices them passing through. Often times this summer, these photos are either side of my kayak time. The dolphins and I haven’t met – yet. I’ve swum with them once before, a long time ago when the girls were babies and I used to swim from our little fishing boat, before we had Quest and plans of distant travel using flappy things, to shore. One day, I jumped off our boat and began to swim in to Borth. Suddenly I could Jack calling out from behind, ‘Dolphins!’ I might have caught a glimpse, but I didn’t stop to check. Instead, I swam harder to get to land. Why? These bottlenose dolphins are huge and could hurt you badly if they chose to… and also I might be the biggest wild animal scaredy-cat in the world. Instead of being in the water with these wild, intelligent creatures as an amazing, fulfilling experience, they just scared the bejesus out of me. I mean, they are huge! These steel-grey small submarines can make a rocket launcher proud. I swear these Cardigan bay bottlenoses could be the steroid-taking ones – the Welsh beefcakes.
But from my kayak, well, I could see them from my kayak. I’d paddle round the bay with them and catch a little glimpse of their world. I don’t think it’s going to happen though. Why? I’m not sure really; it’s a feeling. I’m ok with it, too.