My first week as…

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Emma Watton, WCA Intern

08/07/2016: My first week as a WCA intern…


As I made my way to the World Cetacean Alliance’s head office in Brighton, I was feeling enthusiastic, excited and a little nervous. I had made sure I was organised and had given myself plenty of time to park up and find the office – so I thought. After spending lots of time finding an actual parking space, the clock was ticking and my time was running out. Panic overcame me as I realised I didn’t have enough change for the parking meter and was unable to get some from any of the nearby cafe’s. With just three minutes to spare before my supposed arrival time of 10am, I phoned the number on the parking meter only to hear an automated voice telling me I didn’t have enough credit – yes I’m on pay as you go, the joys of being an intern! With fumbling hands I managed to add credit and finally pay for parking. Already slightly late I headed on rushed feet to find the WCA headquarters, but failed miserably. Luckily one of my fellow interns Eva, whom at this point I had only communicated with over Facebook Messenger, came to my rescue and led me to the wonderful yet cosy WCA head office.

Introductions were made and the kettle was boiling, along with lots of custard creams being passed around. After the meet and greet it was time to start with the mission – untangle the sea. Dylan Walker, the friendly and charming CEO of the WCA gave us an idea and plan of what needed to be done and away we went. Discussions, debates and ideas were thrown around the office (along with more biscuits) and a solid plan was laid out. My first job for the week was to help my fellow intern Pippa Hayter create a story for children that would explain the effects of ghost fishing gear on marine wildlife; this is when ‘Netty the Net’ was born. Netty went from being a story, to a comic, to a video; however, we needed somebody artistic to help with the drawings. Emma Brown, another WCA intern was brilliant at drawing and offered to draw the images of Netty the Net.

Whilst Netty was being created, the other interns worked hard on different stories about ghost fishing gear that would be part of a free online resource. Ideas were also conjured up on simple ways to get the message across to members of the public on the effect entanglement has on marine mammals. We wanted to be able to demonstrate these simple ways whilst on board whale watching boats, and luckily for us that’s exactly where we will be heading. Some of the interns will be going to Cape Ann Whale Watch in Massachusetts (ahem myself); other places include Brazil; Argentina (again myself, not to brag); South Africa; Mozambique and Spain. You can find these simple ways on our ‘Free Resources’ page.

Not only have I learnt so much about ghost fishing gear and other marine conservation issues, I have met some amazing people, laughed a lot, eaten biscuits until they came out my ears and most importantly had ‘tea in the sea’ for the first time in my life. And this is all in the space of five days; I’m excited to see what the rest of the internship holds. Through extremely hard work we have achieved so much already; the mission has begun and there is no stopping us now.


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