Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch was set up in June 2006 by John Galpin, known to his friends as Galps. John moved to the island in the 90’s and from his house on the coast, began seeing whales, dolphins and porpoises from his window. Curious, he wanted to find out what he was seeing but soon discovered that there was no information anywhere about cetaceans in Manx waters as no-one had ever studied them here.
John got in touch with the Sea Watch Foundation in Wales and began finding out about the species in Manx waters. He achieved this, firstly by creating our original website and setting up a public sightings network, for people to report what they had seen. In 2007 he decided that in order for the organisation to progress, he needed the help of marine mammal scientists to start conducting scientific research. One of the original scientists included Tom Felce who currently runs MWDW. At the time, Manx waters were completely undiscovered in terms of cetacean activity and no research work had ever been conducted. With no idea what to expect or the potential of what they would achieve, it was going to be a huge challenge….
11 years on, and we have discovered vast amounts of information through our research projects. We know that Manx territorial waters are home to 5 key species of cetacean and we have a high density of different species for such a small area. Our waters are a key habitat for the Risso’s dolphin, a species which are understudied and rarely seen worldwide. The Isle of Man is home to one of only a handful of inshore populations in the whole of Europe and individual dolphins choose to return to our coast year after year to feed and bring up their young.
We were devastated when John Galpin passed away in October 2014, but we will continue to dedicate our lives to his work. In July 2016 we bought our own research vessel named Galps in his honour. Without Galps, maybe the wonders of Manx waters would still be a mystery? Thank you John Galpin.
We would like to thank the following organisations for supporting our work through financial support and partnerships: