Marine educator and television presenter Maya Plass runs her business "Learning to Sea" from her base near Plymouth. Coastwise was able to again get her services to give two days of guidance on capturing photo data for the AONB Coastal Creatures project, and leading and enthusing the public in marine life on rockpool rambles.
Day one was based in the village hall at Lee Bay for the talkie bit, and then down at the beach to put theory into practice. Members learned how to use the Coastal Creatures rough/wet service cameras to capture images that can then be uploaded and validated to provide reliable data.
One highlight was finding an, unfortunately dead, Angler Fish (R bottom), which did give an opportunity for members to photograph the fearsome array of teeth and 'lure' for prey.
On day two of our workshop members learnt how to engage the public with marine life. Maya, a master of the craft, gave a thorough briefing before letting members loose to practice on one another.
Her presentation included plenty of fascinating facts about the animals likely to be encountered. Who can fail to be interested in sea spiders with eggs in their legs, starfish stomachs extruded into the narrowest of cracks to get at the mussel meal?
And it is not just children that respond to snails whose development leaves them pooing on their heads and barnacle penises 8 times their body size. Intriguing facts work with all ages and Maya equipped us with plenty.
Members heard all about what makes a good rock-pool ramble, attendees touched on plankton trawling, and seaweed pressing – and even had a go themselves later. Then it was their turn to take to the shore in small groups and test the theory, which all did with enthusiasm, though nothing beat watching Maya in action.