Twenty miles west of mainland Pembrokeshire is a group of rocks called The Smalls, on which stands a lighthouse. The turbulent waters that surround the rocks are teaming with grey seals. On this day we arrived after a two hour boat ride to swell washing over the rocks and a fair tide running all around. Slipping in close to the rocks we were immediately greeted by seals zipping around us. The bubbles from breaking waves and shafts of sunlight provided drama and atmosphere. Once we settled in to the conditions we could take a deep breath and sink down to the kelp; the seals seemed to be most relaxed here and would come and lie with us staring deep in to our eyes or nibbling at our fins, an experience that will stay with us for a long time.
The Smalls, Pembrokeshire.
Lou is a marine biologist, photographer and writer. During her formative years she developed a love of water through competitive swimming and a connection with nature through bird watching, backyard natural history and photography. Studying marine biology at the University of Wales, Bangor was an exciting and natural progression. There she gained her degree and PhD in marine biology and spent many hours underwater honing her skills as a scientific diver. Since then she has worked in marine monitoring and conservation and the outdoor sector as an activity guide, becoming a PADI Dive Master, British Canoeing 4 star sea kayak leader, surf coach and certified Marine Mammal Observer along the way. Alongside nature and in-water photography commissions and assignments, she runs professional development courses for outdoor guides and instructors on coastal and marine life. She also writes a column for the sea kayaking magazine Ocean Paddler on marine life s well as a blog for Do Contribute, and is an ambassador for Palm Equipment and Rockpool kayaks.
One of her greatest pleasures in life is to glide beneath the sea surface over a forest of kelp aglow with shafts of sunlight, camera in hand. Through her images she aims to inspire awe and wonder for the natural world and create a connection that compels each of us to protect our planet Ocean.
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