Underwater at Shelly Beach

It was great to get back in the water after a long winter break. Hearing that there were Port Jackson Sharks (PJs) at Shelly Beach got me in the water today. I lost count after about 25, there were PJs everywhere. They varied in colour and most were under a metre long.

Port Jackson Shark

Port Jackson Shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni are very common tis time of year, between May – October. The teeth of the Port Jackson Shark are not serrated and are used to hold and break, then crush and grind the shells of molluscs and sea urchins.

Giant Cuttlefish

The Giant Cuttlefish Sepia apama are one of my favourite animals to find on a dive. On our way back to shore I spotted one under under a rocky ledge and was excited to see a second Cuttle hiding too. They are inquisitive and playful and came out in the open to check us out.

Blue Groper

The Eastern Blue Groper Achoerodus viridis is a familiar sight for Sydney Divers. The friendly Blue Groper often follows you around while you are on a dive. I have been surprised more than once to turn around and be face to face with one of these guys. You can find out more about the Blue Groper on the Australian Museum website

Smooth Stingray

We saw several Smooth Stingrays Bathytoshia brevicaudatais hiding in the sand when we were on the way back to shore. One was on top of the sand and the other had covered itself in sand. You could just see the outline of the stingray and the eyes sticking out above the sand. The Smooth stingray are the largest stingray in the world, but sometimes still hard to spot. Check out the video below (not my video).

What can you do to help preserve this amazing environment?

  • Remove any rubbish that you find in the water or on the beach
  • Remove any bits of fishing line and nets that you see
  • Be aware that what you do on land impacts our marine systems downstream
Plastics in the Ocean Infographic
Australian Environmental Education logo with dragonfly

Marine world adventure

This week has been an incredible marine world adventure, above and below the water. I started the week with a Marvellous Marine Life virtual excursion in the morning, followed by a night snorkel at Shelly Beach Manly. On Tuesday I presented a special live streamed event, Under the Sea for Children’s Week. Wednesday morning I had an amazing scuba dive at Clifton Gardens. My marine world adventure concluded with another Marvellous Marine Life virtual excursion.

Image©John Turnbull
Clockwise: male White’s seahorse, stars and stripes puffer, mourning cuttlefish and common stingaree

I love sharing my underwater advenures and have been delivering virtual excursions for students for many years. This years has had it’s challenges as I wasn’t able to get to the water due to months of lockdown. One thing that kept me going was being able to share my marine adventures and stories with students across Australia.

We had word that over the weekend there was a lot of bioluminescence in the water at Manly. My sister and I thought it was time for a night snorkel to experience the bioluminescence. It is an amazing experience being in the water, you see flashes of light when you move your hand quickly through the water.

Bioluminescence is light produced as a result of a chemical reaction in animals. Some animals make the necessary chemicals themselves, some absorb them from their food and others allow bioluminescent organisms to live inside them forming a symbiotic relationship. 

Bioluminescence in the water © Abyss SCUBA Diving

It was great to get back in the water this week and after the bioluminescence, I wasn’t sure what could top it. Well, a nice shore dive at Clifton Gardens definitely was the answer. We were greeted by a massive stingray, that was doing laps checking up on us. The visibility wasn’t great but we discovered so many seahorses camouflaging against the pylons of the wharf and the nets around the pool. There were lots cuttlefish, one of my favourite animals. We also saw a couple of huge pufferfish swimming around too. It was a great way to get back in the water after so long.

You can check out the recording of the Under the Sea program for Children’s Week.

You can find out more about the Marvellous Marine Life incursions and virtual excursions.

Marine World reources

Australian Environmental Education logo with dragonfly