Winter swim around Little Henty Reef

I have long wanted to swim around the inner reef at Little Henty Reef in the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary. The reefs are not far offshore from Hayley Point at Marengo. The weather and sea conditions here are unsuitable most of the time for such a swim. However, the weather and ocean omens were pointing strongly to early Monday 29 June being a good time to go – and indeed it was. A large high pressure system had parked over the state and stayed for a few days. Monday dawned with the ocean in repose, a cloudless sky and not a breath of wind – cold winter perfection.

The 12 hectares of protected ocean in the sanctuary contain two reefs, and a rich profusion of marine life including a colony of 100 or so Australian fur seals on the outer reef. The protected area is about 750m long and 200m wide. Its southern and eastern areas are subject to big surf and strong currents as they are fully exposed to huge swells from the Southern Ocean. The north-western portion of the sanctuary is more protected, and the smaller reef there semi-encloses a little bay inside Hayley Point. I have swum in this bay a lot with my swimming friends, but there are nearly always tidal currents and often strong rips immediately to the north in Mounts Bay. In big swell the shore break in Mounts Bay can also be something to contend with. There are many days when even the little bay is not suitable for swimming.

Some of the underwater beauty of Little Henty Reef is shown in an earlier post on this blog, written after my first snorkelling swim there earlier this year: https://southernoceanblog.com/2020/01/13/my-first-underwater-look-at-little-henty-reef/ On that occasion I snorkelled along the protected western side of the reef.

Little Henty Reef at Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay, where I do most of my ocean swimming. The next bay south (top right in the image) is Mounts Bay, with the small settlement of Marengo on the point (out of frame). This bay is less protected, and has stronger surf and currents than Apollo Bay. The white water visible top right of the image is part of Little Henty Reef in the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary. Drone photo by Andrew Langmead
Little Henty Reef in winter. The inner reef is in the foreground, and the rocks beyond are the outer reef which the Australian fur seals use as a base for feeding expeditions offshore. The area of reef above water varies considerably according to the tide. On a good high tide the inner reef is completely submerged. The outer reef has higher rocks and is never fully submerged by the tide. But in big surf on a high tide there is no dry place on this little island. The seals seem to cope whatever the elements throw at them. The water in front of the inner reef is the little bay in which we swim. It is open to the ocean at the southern end, and has a small pass between the rock and the shore at the northern end feeding into Mounts Bay. Strong tidal flows and other currents can be found at either end of this little bay, as well as in the rest of Mounts Bay. The currents are difficult to predict as to their existence, direction and strength because of the unique topography of the sea bed with the reefs and associated channels and highly varying water depth. This is a place to be approached with caution and respect at all times for swimming, snorkelling, surfing and boating. Drone photo by Andrew Langmead
The northern tip of the inner reef almost completely covered at high tide. The prolific bull kelp gardens fringing this reef can be seen on the right of the reef in this image. The seabed drops away either side to considerably deeper water. Drone photo by Andrew Langmead
The northern tip of the inner reef. This blog post was prompted by a most enjoyable swim yesterday around the reef in this image, in calm conditions with the tide about half out. Drone photo by Andrew Langmead

The image above of the Garmin swim track superimposed on a satellite photo of Little Henty reef (not representative of actual sea conditions on the day of the swim, but showing the mix of waves and currents the place can produce) shows the route swum yesterday. The right turn across the reef back into the little bay was at the southern end of the exposed rock of the reef on the half tide. It was shallow where we crossed the reef at the southern end, and we had large bull kelp fronds brushing our wetsuits as the sea gently surged against the edge of the reef.

The view from the beach in Mounts Bay to the south east, looking over inner Little Henty in the foreground and the other reef beyond it.
The two elements of Little Henty reef. Seals can be seen on the larger outer reef which is 500-600m offshore. The inner reef less than half that distance offshore. The telephoto lens foreshortened this view making the reefs look closer together than they in fact are.
Australian fur seals on the outer Little Henty Reef.
Real estate is at a premium on the outer reef on a high tide.

The swim around Little Henty Reef on 29 June 2020

Because suitable weather windows for a swim around the reef at Marengo are not common, I went for a dawn check of conditions. I had wanted to do this swim for some time. Conditions looked ideal. The people in the water are the regular dawn cold water plonkers. Great benefits are said to be available from a simple dunk in cold water without actually swimming anywhere. They all seemed invigorated by their dunk. Good on them!
The air temperature at dawn was around 4°C, and the water temperature was about 14°C.
The view north from the southern end of the beach at Mounts Bay, Marengo. Calm.
Mike and I swam together out to the northern tip of the inner reef, and Nadine rode shotgun ahead of us in her kayak. This was taken between the beach and the northern tip of the inner reef. The reefs are rich in all sorts of marine life. In winter, salmon visit the area and when the salmon are running, beach fishermen are found along the beaches in Mounts Bay and Apollo Bay. Some beach fishermen were present around dawn on the morning of this swim. Over the years sharks have occasionally been spotted swimming along the gutters and sandbars parallel to the beaches, following and presumably feeding on the salmon. The seal colony is also a spot not without its attractions for the occasional shark. Some local fishermen and surfers are of the view that the area is a bit ‘sharky’. Some think otherwise. I see sharks as a factor to consider in swimming around the reefs and channels in the area. So having Nadine keep an eye out for us from her kayak added some comfort in this regard. Water visibility was very good on this morning and Nadine reported having a good view of things below the surface. This photo taken with my ageing GoPro does not do justice to the visibility we experienced, but it gives some idea.
Swimming out towards the northern tip of the reef and the morning sun.
Nearing the reef.
Seaweed including bull kelp beside the reef.
Nadine keeping a good lookout.
Bull kelp on the exposed eastern side of the reef. Even though there was no swell, the regular surge from the ocean was causing the kelp and other plants to wave backwards and forwards.
On the eastern side of the reef. Marengo and Point Hayley in the background. Large areas of bull kelp protruding above the surface – too thick here to swim amongst the kelp.
Swimming along the eastern side of the inner reef.
Algae, kelp, seaweed, sponges, marine invertebrates of all sorts, and that’s just what we could see at a glance as we swam over the submerged southern end of the reef and back into the little bay.

L to R: me, Mike. Eastern side of the inner reef. Photo taken by Nadine Lyford.

Swimming past the prolific bull kelp areas on the eastern side of the reef. Photo below taken by Nadine Lyford.

Happy with my body position – credit must go to my new winter wetsuit. It was a privilege to swim in this cold, clear and wild corner of the ocean. My new 4/3 lined winter wetsuit kept me completely warm on this swim. I also wore light neoprene boots and a lined neoprene cap – completely cosy. The wide-angle lens used to take this photo could create the impression that we were swimming just offshore from the beach at Marengo. In fact we were over 350m out from the high water mark in the corner of the little bay below the walkway with the rails (visible in the middle of the image), swimming along the seaward side of the reef.
More bull kelp.
The sheltered western side of the inner reef was also partly in the shade from the early morning sun.

Back in the little bay.

Image on the right: bumped into swimming friends Michelle and Vicki who were also enjoying the winter perfection at Marengo on one of their regular morning swims in the bay. Some of my Apollo Bay swimming friends recently did a swim around the inner reef at Little Henty, and enjoyed it greatly.

This was neither a long nor a fast swim. But it was a memorable ocean swim. What a pleasure and privilege to swim in this pristine and wild corner of the Southern Ocean.

A few hours of Southern Ocean solitude

A remote Southern Ocean beach without a name on a rugged little bay on the west coast of Victoria. Sounded ideal. Was. Lizzie and I packed a good map, a picnic lunch, my wetsuit and snorkelling gear and the waterproof camera. We also carried a mud map drawn by a helpful local to assist us in finding this beach. Bit of a trek from where the road ended, but worth it. It was a wonderful few hours respite from the world notwithstanding that the sky was overcast, the visibility underwater wasn’t very good and the March flies were out in force living up to their calendar connection. While many landed on us in their usual annoying way, neither of us got bitten for some reason – a bonus we gratefully accepted.

This is the remote stretch of coast exposed to the full force of the Southern Ocean where we found a small bay without a name. The full force of the ocean was not happening on this day, which meant I could go snorkelling. On days of big surf, swimming would not be possible anywhere along this part of the coast.
Exciting and remote places, but no arrow to Unnamed Beach. The Great Ocean Walk is a famous coastal walk of 100kms or so from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles area. It takes about 8 days to do the whole walk. This sign is on the walking track which we crossed on our walk to the beach.
Out of sight below the cliff is a beach. My snorkelling location was in the sheltered small bay inside the reef with the small breaking waves on the left of the image. The sky was making no secret of the approaching change in the weather.
I have never seen seaweed like this before. It was like dark green rope, and it was everywhere on these reefs.
This was taken through the dome port on my waterproof camera housing. After immersion underwater, initially there is an even layer of water over the 6 inch diameter dome port, which contracts in stages as it runs off the convex glass dome. On this occasion, the disappearing water symmetrically framed Lizzie. Rookie error not clearing the dome port before clicking, but an acceptable result all things considered.
I entered the water by sliding down the rocks which were thickly covered in all sorts of seaweed and kelp which was entirely comfortable for such a mode of entry. Lizzie was on lookout for anything on our single-item list of good reasons to get out of the water immediately.
Most stingrays I have come across while swimming or snorkelling in the ocean in this part of the world are pretty laid back. They glide with purpose and composure and never seem rushed. I think I must have surprised this one, because his exit was at high speed with a few wild high bank turns thrown in. We exchanged the giving of frights.
Closeup from the previous photo.
The marine plant life here was highly varied, large and exotic. There were varieties of seaweed and kelp I had never seen before.
The broad strips of thick yellow kelp (on the left) were all over the place. The long flowing tendrils of thinner kelp (on the right) were also common. While there was no surf to speak of, there were some waves and the water was in constant motion with currents coming and going. The long kelp undulated back and forth in slow motion in these currents.
Substantial flattish rocks were spread around on the seabed. I found them useful to provide a clear backdrop against which to photograph fish. I have taken quite a few underwater photos of fish which were visible to me at the time mainly because of their movement, and the still picture was nothing more than a testament to their excellent and sometimes perfect camouflage marking. I regularly see more fish at the time of taking a photo than I can find in the photo later.
Marine plant garden. At least this fish can be seen against the colourful backdrop.
There is a rocky outcrop hiding under all this plant life. There were areas of deeper water quite close to the reefs. The colours under the water surprised me given that it was on overcast day.
The marine plants temporarily flattened out in a surge of current from the deeper water. I was going backwards too as I took this photo. The colours present would’ve graced any garden.
There is unfortunately nothing in this photo to give any clear sense of scale of the size of this species of kelp. It was a great sight, especially when extended and waving in the currents.
Rocky rampart between sea and shore.
As the bubbles, reduced visibility and seaweed tangles show, there was quite a current at this spot.
Between the surges of current.
My memory of this scene was that it included more than three fish. Whatever.
There must be a lot of nutrients in this water, or this spot must be just the right temperature and depth to allow such a tangle of prolific growth on this narrow strip of sand between large rocks.
My intended subject, the distant horizon, remained unphotographed thanks to a small wave passing by just as I pulled the shutter trigger.
Aesthetic curve.
Looking for some seaweed covered gently sloping rock on which to slide up and out of the water.
The rock shelf extended some distance from the beach.
Hot cup of black tea after my swim and a picnic lunch on the rocks. Social distancing par excellence. The nearest land mass south of where we we sat is Antarctica.

Shorebreak at Dawn

Occasionally the ocean simply offers peace.

These photos were taken before breakfast this morning at Tuxion beach at the end of my street in Apollo Bay, Australia. A consistent surfable swell rolled into the bay from dawn to dusk.

My first underwater look at Little Henty Reef, Apollo Bay

I mentioned to a swimming friend who is married to a shark fisherman that I was planning to go snorkelling at Little Henty Reef. “Shark Alley!” was her response, albeit with a smile. Well, there is a seal colony (non-breeding) on one of the higher exposed sections of the reef. But surfers surf this reef, kayakers regularly paddle around it and there are often swimmers in the shallows. I have also heard that local snorkellers are happy to swim at this location. I asked around. I concluded it was a reasonable thing to snorkel on the inner reef, in appropriately calm conditions between tides. I see no reason why this water should be any more ‘sharky’ than the other places where I swim in this area.

The Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary is a short distance south of Apollo Bay. This protected area encompasses the Little Henty reefs and a total of about 12 hectares of ocean. It is rich in marine life. The reef furthest from shore is permanent home to a colony of about 100 Australian fur seals.

Little Henty Reef is at the southern end of Mounts Bay. Strong tidal currents and rips often surge between the reefs. These reefs are also the first landfall of big swells generated to the south west in the roaring forties. I have seen triple overhead surf on and around these reefs. Snorkelling can only be contemplated in low or no swell conditions, and ideally on or near a low tide. But calm water in this area is never still water. There are always currents of varying direction and force to consider carefully.

The inner reef of Little Henty which looks to be on the horizon is in fact only 150m or so offshore. From front to back: Mike, Hamish and Nadine who kindly offered to accompany us in her kayak to keep a lookout for any additional company in the water. A strong front with solid rain showers and big winds came through earlier in the afternoon. But by late in the day, despite it being overcast, the wind had dropped and sea conditions were as shown. We seized the moment on short notice as conditions abated. We entered the water half an hour before low tide. I expected there to be a fading current from north to south as the last of the tide ebbed out. But it became immediately apparent as we swam out that the current, unexpectedly, was going the other way and was reasonably strong. We had to aim for the reef with a significant drift angle to our right. I am still contemplating whether the forecast time for low tide was in error, or whether there is some other explanation for the current going north in the opposite direction to the outgoing tide. The current eased a little once we were in the shallows near the reef. But we still had to swim strongly going south, and could drift at a comfortable speed going north.
Mike at the northern end of the reef closest to shore. The seabed between here and the shore was only about 10-12 feet deep. There wasn’t much plant life until we got near the reef, where it was flourishing. There were many and varied fish species in the seaweed and kelp beds near the reef.
Mike & Hamish by the reef after swimming only 150m or so. Low threshold for a high five, but why not.
Nadine keeping a watchful eye out for us.
Kelp beds swaying in the currents.
A dozen or more smallish fish swimming past me just below the surface. Whiting?
The high point on the hills on the horizon is Marriners Lookout, which overlooks the township of Apollo Bay. To the left of frame are the sand dunes along the beach in Mounts Bay. The line of rocks on the right is the northern end of Little Henty Reef.
Bomp Bomp Bomp Bomp…..
Mike and I were heading north in reasonably shallow water over dense areas of kelp and seaweed. This is where the fish were. This stingray was heading south, no doubt looking for dinner. We had the current behind us, and when I touched Mike’s arm to point out that he and the stingray were heading for each other, the current kept him going for longer than he might’ve preferred. But the stingray was across the situation, and at quite close quarters did a right hand turn away from us out into the deeper water.
So much about a stingray swimming looks to me like flying. The fact that they have wings adds to this impression. They are very graceful.
Hamish enjoying the scenery and showing off his Apple watch as it resists splashes while not claiming to be waterproof.
At the southern end of the small reef the water between the reef and the shore was much deeper. You can see it falling away in the lower right of this photo.
Swimming this close to the marine plant life meant that we came across most fish quite suddenly. We saw quite a few sizeable fish. When swimming with the current, there was no need to kick or swim – we just drifted with it.
I have no idea whether this is a zebra fish, but it should be. The underwater gardens were fresh and almost tropically luxuriant. The colours were vibrant – not bad for early evening on an overcast day.
This plant species no doubt has a name, but seaweed is as specific as I can get without further research. The clean white sand was a feature of this area. Because there was movement of the water, visibility was less than in the rock pools I visit, but it was still very good.
Background: Marengo township. Foreground: Mike using his long arm to check the depth.
I think this was the same stingray we saw earlier. Seems we were both doing laps up and down the seaweed and kelp beds.
Once again, it headed away from me to deeper water. Stingrays in my experience are not aggressive creatures. They are quite gentle, and sometimes even a bit inquisitive of humans swimming near them. I have had them follow me, and swim slowly around me. But that stinger on the tail remains worth avoiding.
Silent low flying.
On the right, the deeper water near the southern end of the reef can be seen.
Swimming against the current required a few more horse power. At least the fish knew we were coming.
Nadine and Mike.
Mike looking a bit sceptical about Hamish’s fish size story.
L to R: Hamish, me and Mike. Marengo point in the background. This was taken just before we headed back across the short pass to the beach. Once again, the south to north current was as strong as when we first entered the water, requiring a drift angle of 30-40° to end up where we wanted near our car.

I often swim for an hour or more in the ocean at Apollo Bay for the pure enjoyment of it. I don’t feel cold after these swims because I wear a wetsuit. But I found it interesting that even though I wore my winter Patagonia suit on this summer snorkelling excursion, and despite not hurrying my time under the hot outdoor shower when I got home, it took me a while to warm up. I suppose I got colder quicker because snorkelling is a lot less active than swimming non-stop freestyle. I was not back to my normal operating temperature until after my battered flake, two scallops, min chips and a potato cake. Of course no other meal could even be considered after such a swim.

When swimming in southern latitudes near the 40th parallel (38.75°S to be precise), with or without a wetsuit, the hypothermia clock is always ticking.

Just for comparison, these photos were taken about three weeks ago at a location on the Little Henty reefs about 300m from our snorkelling location. This was not a snorkelling day. (For more photos of big swell breaking on and near these reefs, see the post on this blog titled ‘Summer Solstice Swell’, posted 24 December 2019).

Beauty beneath the Surface

The reefs and rock pools along the west coast of Victoria only reveal their beauty to those prepared to get wet.  For half the time they are entirely concealed by the ocean at high tide, and for the other half they present as relatively unattractive seaweed filled pools scattered between rocky outcrops on the reef, visible only at low tide.

But for those prepared to slide into the kelp, the seaweed and the still water of these pools with a face mask and snorkel, a beautiful world awaits.

 

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While most of the pools are connected one way or another to the ocean through the maze of channels between the rocks, at low tide much of the water in the pools is still and clear.  The further from the breaking waves a pool is, the clearer it will be.  A glance from dry land as shown gives some hint of the plant life beneath the surface, but no hint of the beauty beyond.

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Prolific kelp beds dominate the larger marine plant species on this reef.

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The safest way to enter these pools is to sit on the edge, which will feel upholstered as it is cushioned with Neptune’s necklace and other seaweed forms completely concealing the rock on which they grow.  Then slide on your backside down the sloping wall of the pool on the slippery beds of seaweed.  To attempt to walk in this shallow water near the edge, with or without flippers, seems to result in me sitting down in the water after a fall or a near fall on the uneven rocks concealed by the seaweed.  As soon as the water is deep enough to float face down and prone without scraping rocks or sand, do it.  Gentle kicks with suitable fins will see you effortlessly gliding at the speed of your choice to deeper water.  At their deepest these rock pools are 12-15 feet deep.  But 18 inches of water is also enough to glide over the pristine sand and sea gardens.

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Generally speaking, views of the surface of the sea from above or below are not available simultaneously.   But the gentle movement of the surface of these rock pools can allow you to view both at once, even if only for a moment.  

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What a contrast between the bare rocks above the surface, and the richly coloured world immediately below.

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The unhurried visitor to this world will see the gentle curves and arcs of the water surface, and the mesmerising movement of refracted light patterns on the contours of the seabed.

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 Boundaries between ecosystems in nature are rarely so clearly marked as they are by the surface of the sea..

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These pools have an abundance of fish in them.  But mostly their colour and markings make them very hard to see in a still photo.  While snorkelling, it is only their movement that allows them to be seen.  They are only easy to see as they swim over sand.

This 24 second video clip shows the abundant fish life in the vicinity of a rocky outcrop with all sorts of hiding places on and under it.  In still photos of the fish shown swimming here, their camouflage makes them virtually invisible unless they are over clear sand.  This area was close to the ocean beyond the reef, and so the water was highly aerated and moving constantly.  If I were a fish, I would seek out such conditions.

The parts of these pools connected directly to the ocean have currents pulling out to sea on the outgoing tide.  But there are lengthy sections which are perfectly calm and still. I cruised slowly through them turning left and right as pathways presented themselves.  This 21 second video shows  me swimming through a wall of kelp which opened up into a wide and deep pool fringed by kelp beds.

 

I drifted weightlessly at low altitude over the white sandy trails through the rock pool labyrinth.  Enjoy some of the highlights of the tour.

 

 

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An Hour amongst the Seagrass

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.

 

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Marriners Lookout on the horizon, some yacht masts in the middle distance, and the seagrass.  This video gives a thirty second tour in slo-mo under the water at this point.

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There was a gentle current at times under the water. There was also a short length of some marine plant, which found its neutral buoyancy depth just below the surface where it floated vertically.  Its solitariness and stillness caught my eye. (You had to be there.)

 

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The main surf beach at Apollo Bay has no seagrass at all. I assume it requires sheltered water such as exists in the harbour. As this video shows, other plants do grow in among the sea grass. Following is another relaxing meander across the sea-bed garden (slo-mo video lasting 1 min 20 seconds) for those interested in such things.

 

 

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This primitive transparent jelly fish was somehow managing to stay out of the seagrass. Not sure if it was having a good day or not – but I do note it had assumed the universally recognised shape of a smile. (Disclaimer: I’m not a formally trained marine biologist.)

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This seagrass waving gently in the currents reminded me of a paddock of  long green grass waving gently in the wind.

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Floating between heaven and  earth.

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The uneven surface of the water momentarily lifted the curtain to reveal the sea bed and seagrass.

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The random curves on the surface of the sea seemed at times to perfectly frame the scenery above and below the water.

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Wind ruffled water from below looking a bit like clouds over this field of grass.

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Quite a number of fish swam across my path. I have no idea what species any of them were (save for the porcupine fish mentioned below). As a child I fished a lot off piers, and caught many porcupine fish.  Survivors were released into the wild. Flathead and snapper proved more elusive.

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More seagrass vistas.

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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.

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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.

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I did make a sudden stop when I realised that this was one of the big stingrays which call the harbour home.  I’d like to make clear that my pulse stayed the same and I was not hearing any ‘bomp bomp bomp bomp’ bass lines in my head. There are four or five large stingrays in the harbour, so well known to fishermen and  boaties that some have been given names. But I reckon this is the largest.  It  had a dead fish on a rock beneath it which it had substantially devoured before I arrived.

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I have encountered these at very close quarters in and outside the harbour when swimming or on my surf ski. They are never aggressive, but they do show interest sometimes and have on occasions followed me. I recall swimming over the sea grass here some years ago and crossing a sandy area in quite shallow water. I didn’t see the stingray there because when resting they can cover themselves with sand, and often the end of the tail is all that can be seen. So the first I knew of its presence was when the empty patch of sand suddenly came to life right beneath me and a large ray emerged to greet the day, and me as it turned out. I did a sharp turn away from him and put in what was probably a PB for 30-40m. I then slowed down and turned to confirm he was not in sight. But there he was, pretty much on my heels and following me. When I stopped so did he, and this time he slowly veered away and  headed off first, but much slower than I had done. In hindsight, I think he was mildly  interested in me (and not as a food source), but he was absolutely not aggressive. I regret bolting. I should’ve stayed to see what he would do.

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A beautiful creature. I have often thought it might be possible for humans to interact peacefully and quietly with these rays at close quarters, by e.g. feeding them in the shallows. It has happened elsewhere, but while the local rays don’t bother us, I have seen no sign that they have any real interest in getting to know humans.

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There was quite a bit of flapping of the outside of his ‘wings’ as he ate.

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I felt as though I had stumbled into this big stingray’s lair. I know of course that he and his mates treat the entire harbour and bay and probably beyond as their home and rightful place. But this spot with its large and apparently comfortable rocks and the dark jetty pole silhouettes receding into the green gloom in the background seemed entirely befitting for this denizen of the shallows.

John Langmead_untitled_9853_20191212_Online
Perfectly positioned to feast on the fish remains beneath it. That’s a very substantial tail.

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.

 

Simple pleasures.