Excerpts of 800 word article, ending with driving directions and reservations information

AT HOME IN ST. DAVID'S FORMER MARINE LIFE CENTRE

by Pam Hobbs

St. David's, South Wales: Our arrival in town was frustrating. In addition to the usual Saturday mid-morning traffic, St. John's Ambulance was celebrating an anniversary in the cathedral which allows this small community its city status. Visiting dignitaries were to lunch in the adjoining Bishop's Palace, so it too was out of bounds for the rest of us. And there wasn't an empty parking space to be had in the immediate area. Then we spied a near-empty car park in what our guidebook described as The Marine Life Centre. With certain joy we discovered it had been converted to a B & B called The Waterings, and the vacancy sign was up.

Other than a lifeboat soon to be made into guest accommodation, and the fishing vessel for junior pirates to play on, there is little evidence of the Centre which for fourteen years housed 150 species of local sea creatures. The play area, with homemade swings, climbing ropes, ladders and the like is as popular now as it was when school groups visited. So are the barbecues and picnic tables, the three acres of grounds where you can kick a ball around or sit by the pond for a quiet read.

Owners David and Sandra Chant love this town, and encourage their guests to see it all. Sandra grew up here; her father owned a local pub. When the couple first married, David was a lobster and crab fisherman. Sandra ran a Bed and Breakfast, and a small shop where she sold her husband's catch. On rainy days vacationers would bring their children in to see the live crabs and lobsters held in tanks. Their interest prompted plans for a Marine Life Centre.

For 32 years David was a member of the area's lifeboat rescue crew. For the last six years he was their full-time coxwain/mechanic, an often dangerous job that earned him a medal for bravery. At the Centre he lectured to groups on sea safety, as well as the creatures he and other locals had caught for display. The Centre won a prestigious award presented by Prince Charles, and became a major visitor attraction for St. David's.

This same devotion to excellence is given to The Waterings, which has five rental units in what used to be a series of man- made caves housing sea octopus, sharks, lobsters and pals.....

A big plus in staying here is that just about everything, including the beautiful 12th century cathedral, is within walking distance. It helps too that our hosts are so well-known in town. When we returned from our walkabout most restaurants had stopped serving lunch, so Sandra 'phoned The Cross Hotel. By the time we wandered over, they had soup and sandwiches ready for us. Next she wangled dinner reservations at Morgan's Brasserie...