I decided on a whim this morning to have a good look at the seagrass which grows on the sea bed in Apollo Bay harbour. I’ve seen it many times from above the surface when doing a lap of the harbour on my surf ski. I’ve also noticed it out of the corner of my eye when I have used the harbour for an ocean swim on days when a big easterly makes the open sea an unattractive option.
So I donned the Patagonia wetsuit and fins and went for a snorkel. I was enthralled and very surprised by the beauty and variety of what I saw. These photos were all taken within 75m or so of the little beach in the harbour, and the water would not have been deeper than 6 feet at any point. I now can’t wait to snorkel around the points and reefs in the area when conditions permit.
Addendum (January 2021): It turns out that this is not a jelly fish at all, but the egg sac of a predatory sand snail (e.g. moon snail, conical sand snail), found on Australian beaches. Each sac contains thousands of tiny eggs. (Source: CSIROgram on Youtube)
More seagrass vistas.
The Porcupine Fish
This 59″ video is another slo-mo wander through the seagrass, taken as I followed an active little porcupine fish who seemed to know his way around the byways of this locality. It was an enjoyable if short tour. The stills immediately following are from this video.
Surprise encounter with a stingray having a quiet bite to eat
I swam north along the edge of a rock wall leading to the little jetty. There seemed to be a lot of fish staying within cooee of the rocks no doubt because of the excellent shelter on offer in their nooks and crannies. My eyes were focussed on quite small fish, which was basically all I was seeing. So I did not register when confronted with the scene shown below that there was a larger thing feeding on the remains of a smaller thing.
This 22″ video shows the stingray just after it had finished feeding. It seemed to pause as if conscious of my presence while not looking directly at me. It eventually decided to move along. As for the fish that was lunch, there wasn’t much of it left.
5 thoughts on “An Hour amongst the Seagrass”
loved the shots particularly of the ray; it is one of those protective impulses we have to immediately shy away from a creature that might harm you though the chance is remote
but John, are they only sting rays in the harbour? on the odd occasion I have seen the completely harmless skate at Kennett or Grey; still elicits the defensive retreat until you notice the lack of the stinger
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I haven’t seen any skates in the harbour or the bay at AB Richard, which of course is not to say they are not there. The stingrays have been in the harbour and outside in the bay ever since I have been coming here. Another fish I see on occasions on my swims is the smaller banjo shark (aka fiddler ray) which, like the skate, does not have a stinger on its thicker shorter tail. The banjo shark has colourful markings on its back. The stingrays I have encountered here are inquisitive and gentle creatures. I believe the one I photographed is called a smooth stingray, but as noted in the blog, I’m not a qualified observer.
The videos didn’t load for me here, but the stills and words paint an intriguing picture of harbour life.
I am impressed that your examination of your surrounds is taking on a new, underwater dimension.
I too reckon that big fella’ is a Smooth Stingray. The colour, markings and relatively short tail are consistent with the descriptions I’ve been reading in Swainston’s tome and online. At Walkerville North, they will come quite close to us, in a curious and gentle way. Your reaction falls within the “fight or flight” wiring our race has evolved over Millenia. 99.9% of the population would have done likewise.
Thanks for checking the stingray species in Swainston Hunto. I must buy this book. I am enjoying exploring the shoreline fringes of the underwater world at my doorstep.