Fish are friends not food. It’s worth reading up on your local aquariums before your next trip.
Rather than even bother with learning the devastating truth about the 50 clownfish in a tank that all look hilarious and just like nemo, why not just nip that in the bud and think about 8 things to do before you even consider visiting sea life (or other entertainment aquariums).
1. Whale and Dolphin watching –with The Seawatch Foundation
Live by the sea? Grab your binoculars and head to the nearest cliff or hill. Park yourselves down and watch the sea, and be surprised at what you might see. There are recommended areas where you’re more likely to see dolphins and other cetaceans, and it’s a great free activity for a family, a couple, a group of friends, or anyone who wants to do something a bit different! By writing down what you see, and taking photos if you like, you’re also actively helping the marine environment by building up a record of what’s out there! Pretty cool. The Sea Watch Foundation are a UK-based cetacean monitoring unit and charity organisation. It’s free! If you live by the sea, why not take part in a free activity that helps your local wildlife?
2. Beach Cleans – The Great British Beach Clean, or Beachwatch both run by the Marine Conservation Society
Some of our best-loved marine wildlife is under threat from the waste and litter in our seas, with hundreds of species accidentally eating or becoming entangled in litter. Litter on our beaches is also hazardous to people so we all have a part to play in turning the tide on litter. Why not get involved with a local beach clean, or organise one yourself. It’s a great way to get together and do some good for the oceans. You can even pitch up a BBQ and relax after the beach clean (as long as you clean up after yourselves!). It’s a great activity and makes you feel good inside and out. You can’t beat sea air.
3. Scuba diving and snorkelling – with BSAC, PADI, or snorkelling with friends
So you want to see fish, anenomes, starfish, and all the wonders of the ocean? Good news: The UK is surrounded by…WATER! We’re so lucky to have marine life all around us. Grab the opportunity and join your local dive club (although this option is quite expensive when you inevitably get addicted to diving), or get involved in snorkelling which is much cheaper, faster to learn and the whole family can get involved. Just don’t forget your wetsuit!
4. Go on a boat trip – puffin island or educational
What better way to experience the beauty and power of the oceans, without getting wet or spending too much, than by hopping on a boat where the guides can tell you all you need to know about the circling seabirds, or if you’re lucky enough, the pod of dolphins cruising alongside the boat.
5. Explore the shore – with a print out beach guide
The internet has so much information about the UK coast, and you can find for free, or purchase, a whole host of amazing beach guides. Take it along to the beach and teach the kids (or let them teach themselves using the guide) how to find starfish, anenomes, barnacles and dog whelks! There’s so much to see on the beach, and it’s all free. It’s a much better experience seeing these things in nature, as next time you go to the beach you’ll be looking and finding animals and seaweeds you never would’ve noticed before! Education can be fun when it involves sea and sand.
6. Buy sustainable seafood- make it an event
There’s even an APP for this!!! It sounds simple, and boring, but in reality you are doing so much good by thinking about which fish you eat, and which you avoid. If you avoid it all together then great, but it’s worth knowing what’s sustainable and what’s not, for better advising people who’d like to enjoy a fishy treat. Lots of great British info out there … here, here and here for example.
7. ‘Take only photographs, leave only bubbles’
Respect the oceans. Don’t litter, don’t touch, don’t take. This mentality will help the oceans more than you’ll ever know, and the fish will thank you! On the topic of photographs, there are many beautiful coastal sites across the UK so why not join in on a photography course with friends, or take tips from the free blogging online community, where photography tips are everywhere.
8. GO OUTSIDE – you don’t need to live by the sea to have fun
Although this post is marine-related (in response to avoiding sea life!!)… there are so many things you can do on your doorstep, whether you live in Manchester City Centre or you live in the middle of nowhere. Explore your local area in a way you’ve never done before- it’s free and you’ll be amazed at how fun it can be to just put on your boots and go exploring (and there’s not a £30 entrance fee). I could add a million things to the list, watersports, the list goes on. Enjoy finding your own paradises close to home.