Guest blog by Jazz Holverson, Marketing and Sales Manager at Plymouth Active Leisure.

One of the great delights of managing such a stunning facility is the location, what better place to call your office than an outdoor art deco seafront Lido! However, it never crossed my mind that I would be so close to the wildlife and to witness the power of nature in such proximity, it really blew my mind. Now before you all start to laugh, I’m from London, the ocean was just something I used to visit once a year on my annual holiday so relocating to Plymouth to work at such a unique venue was an opportunity I could not refuse!

Arriving in the summer months I was blown away by the stunning vista, the beautiful temperatures, and the Lido’s ability to become a sun trap. Getting to know the regulars and all the tourists visiting us for the first time, however there were visitors I was not expecting! A Portuguese Man of War jellyfish decided to breach the walls and say hello, its vividly coloured blue hat clearly on display and the long tentacles looking more like some glass noodles than an apex predator. I approached with caution to get myself a photo of the ocean beast, edging closely towards it expecting it to lash out like some sea monster from a childhood novel, but alas it was more photogenic than expected. A quick call to our friends at the Aquarium and he was whisked away!

Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish at Tinside Lido

Soon after I was introduced to a regular to the Lido, the beautiful seal popping her head out of the water to say hello, with a flip of the flipper to acknowledge me before diving back under. Clearly, I made an impression as she reappeared even closer to get a better look at the new arrival on shore pointing a camera at her. She came regularly throughout the season, just doing her daily audit of the strange land-based creatures splashing about in a small pool on the edge of her ocean.

As the summer came to a close, the Lido was drained ready to wrap up until the spring, but little did I know that mother nature had exclusive access to the Lido throughout the winter season. Waves and storms thrashed against the precious Lido, refilling the pool with dark angry sea water, overflowing it with the remains of the storms. With wind blasting from all directions, and spray and mist rising off the ocean it became a chilling location with a reminder of the power mother nature can muster. For a landlocked city boy like myself, I was shocked at the daily battering our precious summer hot spot was receiving. Withstanding the might of the ocean and all the power the wind and rain delivered by the hour our, little Lido remained standing firm and holding its ground!

At a time when I thought it could not surprise me anymore, I then found another ocean visitor to our little pool, a porpoise. I didn’t even know what it was, I saw a fin and assumed it was a shark that had escaped from the aquarium. I was soon educated that this very small mammal was not going to harm me, in fact quite the opposite. No sooner had the porpoise made its debut the water swelled against the sea wall and the porpoise made a hasty exit back into the familiarity of the ocean.

I guess this is where I end my blog, needless to say, my first year was an experience. To brush shoulders with nature is not only awe-inspiring but it makes you sit back and take stock. I never thought I would be writing about sea monsters and dark angry storms when I said yes to this job post, but what I will say to those visiting or wandering past, is to keep your eyes peeled you never know what you might see. Apparently, there is a community of merfolk that I have yet to meet!

Seal spotted off the edge of Tinside Lido