Much of my ocean swimming is done alone. But when I swim out to the reef at the southern end of Mounts Bay, I like to swim with company. Conditions looked good for the reef swim on the low tide around mid morning today so I rang some possible starters to swim with me but they were unable to join me. So a solo swim it was.
The bay between the reef and Hayley Point was not crowded. There was a low tide of 0.7m, no swell and an offshore wind. I was wading in waist deep water at this point.
On the swim out to the reef I duck dived a few times and did some low passes over the sandy seabed in the channel. I have seen better underwater visibility, but the water was certainly clear enough for an enjoyable swim-tour along the fringe of the reef.
As I swam out to the reef I lined up a rocky feature on the reef with a second reference point on the hills in the background to identify which way the current was moving. The current varied across the short swim and this morning it was most noticeable near the shore and near the reef. But at no times was it a problem.
The seabed between the shore and the reef is pure sand without a single rock or marine plant. But the rocky fringe of the reef is covered in a profusion of marine plant life. This was the view as I neared the reef from the west. The two reefs close to Hayley Point at Marengo are called Little Henty Reef. They are protected by the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary.
Shafts of sunlight illuminating the reef plant life. The ocean here looks and feels so nutrient rich.
Towards the southern end of the reef, the water in the channel I swam across is much deeper than it is at the northern end. The underwater fringe of the reef slopes down at quite an angle.
Looking south to Hayley Point as I cruised over the shallows beside the reef. The aqua water on the top right is the sandy channel between the reef and the beach..
The plants in the water close to the reef were in constant motion as gentle currents swirled around them.
Bull kelp attached to a rocky underwater outcrop of the reef.
I saw quite a few small fish in this area.
The view due south from the kelp beds beside the reef – Hayley Point on the right. There is a shallow pass in the reef out of frame to the left here which you can swim through to get to the eastern side of the reef. It is full of healthy giant bull kelp which is enjoyable to swim over and through on a low tide, especially in a wetsuit.
I had my usual ocean swim at Apollo Bay this morning which I enjoyed. But the ocean and the underwater views at this reef in these gentle conditions are something else.
My relaxing swim back to shore started from this point. A solo swim at this reef in conditions such as these is a very special privilege.
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I was born in Perth Western Australia in July 1949.
I currently live in Apollo Bay Victoria.
View all posts by John Langmead
January 22, 2021 March 13, 2023
2 thoughts on “A short and beautiful swim at Little Henty Reef (Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary)”
Well, you sure revelled in an aquatic day. Exercise and pleasure swims, and diarising for your readers.
This summer on our coast has been characterised by many as “the worst IT reception ever”. It is as if we’ve been returned to the era preceding mobile devices (Not entirely a bad thing). I mention this because an hour or so I starting loading your post. There are still no pictures. So, I’m treating it as a diary entry. I sent you a note the other day which has probably only gone as far as Leongatha!
Bravo for your words which evoke images assisted by the fact that most of our Walkerville swims this summer have involved cruising over rock shelves, seaweed forests and fish aplenty. Your photos will be the icing on the cake when I return to Melbourne. Rocky shelves and reefs harbour the eye candy accessible to those of us without speedboats and oxygen tanks. You nailed the effect of those shafts of light penetrating a few feet under water, having a fluorescent effect on an underwater arena.
Sounds like you’re having the perfect summer with another 5 weeks above and below the water to look forward to.
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Yes, Apollo Bay and surrounds continue to deliver in all departments. As you know, summer is one of my four favourite seasons here.
I’d be interested to have a swim with the underwater camera around the Walkerville rock shelves and marine gardens.
One of the attractions of the reef off Marengo is the contrast between the contoured seabed of white sand in the channel between the reef and the beach, and the rich profusion of bull kelp and other marine plants on and near the reef. Underwater visibility is also very good, and sometimes excellent. That swimming there is conditions-dependent from a safety point of view only adds to its allure.
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