After a couple of days chilling in Sydney with friends it was time to head south again on our epic Brisbane to Tasmania road trip. Part two was equally diverse and rewarding as the first. The thousand kilometres of coast we covered between Sydney and Melbourne gave us opportunity to encounter a variety of marine ecosystems starting in Jervis Bay. It is the largest natural Bay in Australia and was our first experience with a large macroalgal dominated habitat (i.e kelp). We saw heaps of filder rays, which are a kind of shovelnose ray that has a beautiful patterning over the body. It was a nice and relaxing beach entry with surprisingly abundant life given the low expectations set by local dive shop owners.
Further south we stopped at Narooma, where we managed to get on a last minute trip to Montague Island. Here the highlight was the colony of Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) that spent two hours playing with us and the Port Jackson sharks that were cruising amongst them. Diving with fur seals or sealions is a must for any diver, it’s so much fun!
Finally after an epic amount of driving we reached Melbourne and, just east of the city, the Mornington Peninsula. This area’s known for the many piers that have been about for a couple of hundred years! As long as you don’t get hooked by the millions of fishermen these dives are a macro creature wonderland. We saw a couple of species of seahorses (Hippocampus abdominalis and H. breviceps) (18 on one dive), weedy seadragons (10 on one dive) and other cool critters such as velvetfish, dumpling squid and awesome nudibranchs.
The next blog will kick off with my microsleep driving through Tassie after the red-eye ferry from the mainland (don’t worry, I survived). First though check out the image galleries for our Sydney to Melbourne leg: