Being a popular outing, split shifts were the order of the day for our visit to Ilfracombe, half the group visiting the Aquarium, whilst the other half visited the Ilfracombe and North Devon Sub-Aqua Clubhouse where Chris Mandry kindly hosted a microscope workshop. At half-time, the teams swapped round. Simple, really.
At Ilfracombe Aquarium, founder Lawrence Raybone gave each group an open-air induction in the sparkling winter sunshine, outlining the aquarium theme of the journey of rainfall from high on Exmoor down to the sea. The anmals are indigenous, most being donated by local fisherment whom Lawrence has carefully trained to spot anything interesting and unmarketable ! Members then made their way round the exhibits with Lawrence and his staff on hand to answer questions about the animals and their way of life.
At the Dive Club It was heads down for tiny snails, Rissoa Parva, sea spiders, Achelia echinata, complete with eggs clasped in ovigerous legs, and Caprellid shrimps inch-worming through the algae. Perhaps most striking of all, the nudibranch Limapontia senestra was spotted by Janice Whittington & identified by Rob Durrant. Janice had earlier found another more commonly found nudibranch Goniodoris nodosa, unmissable as the only animal of the day clearly visible to the naked eye. We got to see a wide range of animals in the Corallina samples from Croyde and Lee Bay using x20 field scopes on loan from the Biosphere Foundation and Braunton Library. Such was the enthusiasm several members resolved to get their own.