Coastwise members are impressive..... if we needed reminding ! At our annual member's event, we were again reminded how knowledgeable and enthusiastic our membership is.
Jim Monroe talked about Mighty Molluscs, a very diverse phylum that includes sea slugs, squids, chitons, octopuses (yes, really...), and bivalves. We were amazed by some of the facts - an octopus has one heart for its body and one each for its two lungs, and a brain for its body and one for each arm. Yes....nine brains ! Jim explained with film clips how the octopus' astonishing intelligence has been tested and proved - use of tools, working together, cognitive reasoning and learning by observation. Makes most of Homo sapiens look stupid !
Chris Mandry of Ilfracombe Sub-Aqua Club gave us a fascinating overview of the Lundy marine conservation story, starting when Gosse visited the island in Victorian times, right up to the statutory designation in 1986. Chris has been part of this process ever since he returned to Ilfracombe and gave us many personal insights into the conservation journey.
Rose Roberts, Ranger for Ruda holidays/Parkdean Estates, told us about her project to stabilise the Croyde dune system, which has been suffering from severe storms and holidaying hordes. Her vintage comparison pictures showed how much the dunes have changes over the last 70-80 years, but her plan to provide temporary stabilisation with discarded Christmas trees until the Marram roots re-establish themselves is yielding very ecouraging results.
Finally, Hillary Fletcher of the Combe Martin Shore Safari Group gave us a very uplifting account of how the local museum supporters have organised themselves to provide a very well supported series of shore events for visitors and locals.

[Pictures - Sea Slug courtesy of Paual Ferris and Octopus courtesy of Jim Monroe]

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