A GROUP of octopuses beached themselves at New Quay over the weekend, with a large number subsequently dying in spite of the best efforts of locals to save them.
One person alone saw over 20 curled octopuses, which cannot survive out of water for more than a few minutes, walking up the beach.
The proprietor of SeaMor Dolphin Watching Trips Brett Stones first noticed the creatures last Friday night (Oct 27) after returning to harbour.
“We moored the boat up, and as we were coming back across the beach we saw the first one,” he told The Herald.
“We didn’t think we would see any more, so we made a bit of a fuss over it. Instinct kicked in, it was a vulnerable animal out of its environment.
“We checked it over, and there weren’t any obvious injuries or illness, so we dropped it back in the water off the end of the pier.
However, walking along the beach, Brett and his crew came across between 20 and 25 more octopuses. “We put them back into deeper water, and hopefully that helped. “Was it the right thing to do? I’m not sure, but it was instinctive,” he added.
Video footage taken by Brett has gone viral, with news outlets including the Washington Post phoning him for information.
“It’s been strange – I’ve had papers from all over Britain and America phoning me. I’ve even missed a few people phoning to make charter bookings because I’ve been on the phone to LadBible or the Washington Post,” he remarked.
“It’s been a good day for dolphin-watching too!”
The population of curled octopuses has increased in Welsh waters, largely as a result of declining cod stocks. The creatures, which live for up to three years, are happy in water varying from 100m to the shallows, and they generally feed on molluscs and crustaceans, even raiding crab and lobster pots for the bait and catch. Their main predators include dolphins.
While there have been occasional sightings of the species on beaches in the east of England, it is thought that the number coming ashore in Newquay is unprecedented. A number of theories have been put forward, from microplastics, acidity in the sea, and military sonar, but Brett believes the answer could be a lot simpler.
“I think it’s something to do with the spawning season,” he explained, “a lot of them die at this time of year.
“Alternatively, the coast received a battering from Storm Ophelia and Brian. And they could have become disorientated and walked towards the bright lights of New Quay when the water cleared.”
This theory was supported by James Wright, curator at the National Maritime Museum in Plymouth.Speaking to the national media, he said: “There’s been a few online videos showing them coming out under the cover of darkness to hunt but to have them crawl out in the number that was seen on that particular night is quite unusual.
“They’re crawling across the beach and not looking for prey in rock pools - so that’s out of character and doesn’t fit with their breeding or foraging behaviour.
“But them even being found in the intertidal is not common and suggests there is something wrong with them I am afraid.
“As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behaviour coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low pressures depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them.”
Sex offender caught trying to flee to Ireland
A sex offender from Bow Street near Aberystwyth who tried to move to Ireland without telling anyone has been jailed.
Dennis Bull, aged 67, was caught trying to drive a van onto the Fishguard–Rosslare ferry with his belongings in the back ready for a new life in the Republic.
Bull, of Nirmit, admitted failing to comply with the conditions of registration as a sex offender and was jailed for 16 months.
Dyfed Thomas, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court it was the third time he had breached the order, imposed at Caernarfon crown court in February, 2016, for possessing indecent images of children.
That conviction was on top of earlier offending in New Zealand that included indecent exposure, outraging public decency and gross indecency with a child.
Mr Thomas said Bull had been jailed for 16 months in 2016 and ordered to register with the police. The restrictions imposed included a requirement to tell the police if he intended to change address.
On November 13 last year police at Fishguard harbour became aware of a Ford Mondeo registered to Bull.
A few minutes later Bull was arrested as he attempted to drive a van onto the Stenna ferry, which was loaded with household items.
Bull told the police he had made arrangements to move to Ireland “lock, stock and barrel” because he understood the monitoring of sex offenders was less strict.
In particular, said Mr Thomas, Bull did not like prospective employers being told about his convictions.
Judge Geraint Walters told Bull, “This was a planned and determined attempt to avoid detection. It was only the eagle eyes of the authorities that brought you to book.
“Your record is troubling and you present a risk of committing more offences of a sexual nature.
“You are defiant of court orders that are there to protect others and it is truly disturbing that you are so keen to breach them.”
Bull was warned that the 2016 order remained in place for a further seven years.
Newcastle Emlyn woman to brave the shave for charity
TO MARK her 50th birthday, a Newcastle Emlyn woman will brave the shave to raise money for Diabetes UK Cymru.
On January 26, Newcastle Emlyn’s Coopers Arms will be the venue where Yvonne Lloyd’s shoulder length hair will hit the deck, as it is shaved off by hairdresser Pamela Atterbury. Mayor of Newcastle Emlyn Cefin Evans will make the first cut, in an evening that will include a buffet, raffle and live music from local band Back Tracks.
Yvonne, a waitress at Ty Croeso Delicatessen, said: “My son Tristan, now 25, developed Type 1 diabetes when he was at university. However well managed, it is a life-changing condition which you can never forget.
“He was diagnosed after an emergency admission to hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by extremely high blood sugar. It can be fatal if not treated immediately. He was in hospital for four days and now relies on four insulin injections a day.
“I’m having my head shaved, not just to raise money, but also to educate people. There are a lot of myths about diabetes and how it can affect your life.”
The hair cut will start at 8.30pm on Saturday January 26 at the Coopers Arms, Station Road, Newcastle Emlyn. Entry costs £5 and doors open at 7.00 pm. All are welcome.
You can support Yvonne by signing one of the sponsor forms at the Coopers Arms and Ty Croeso, or online at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/yvonne-lloyd2
Next stage of works to clear Cwmduad landslide
PHASE two of the works to stabilise a landslide in Cwmduad has begun following the recovery of a lorry from the river below.
Carmarthenshire County Council is leading the operation to clear the site and re-open the A484 for traffic travelling between Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, following the landslide in October.
Phase one, which commenced before Christmas, created a safe zone for the recovery of a lorry that was swept in to the river during the storm.
That recovery took place earlier today (Monday, January 14, 2019).
Phase two, to permanently stabilise the embankment, involves complex drainage and geotechnical works.
The highway structure will then be assessed before any indication can be given as to when the road will re-open.
The council has thanked the community, and affected commuters, for their patience whilst site assessments and works have been underway.
Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We are now making progress in what has been a highly complex operation and legal process between the council, partner agencies and the landowner.
“We fully appreciate the impact this has had on the community, and we wish to reiterate that we have worked without delay to undertake site investigations in the immediate aftermath of the landslide, along with clearance and construction works to make the area safe.
“We are working as quickly as we can to re-open the road as soon as possible, and would like to thank those affected most sincerely for their patience.”
Until the road is re-opened, traffic will continue to be diverted along the B4333 Carmarthen – Newcastle Emlyn.
Additional bus services remain in place:
A shuttle service currently runs from Cwmduad to Tycoch to catch the 460 service at 7.25am, 9.35am and 10.55am. Return journeys are at 2.25pm and 4.45pm.
The 460 service is currently operating on a diversion route
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