Following up on a lovely and popular snorkelling the previous Sunday in Shark Bay at Broulee, nine members of the Nature Coast Marine Group (NCMG) dove into Guerilla Bay last Sunday morning 10th February. We gathered at the northern carpark and explored the rocky reef at the southern end of the beach.
Those first in scared off the fish initially until we slowed down and just drifted. Then the fish reappeared from under the healthy weed cover or rocky shelves where they had hidden. Small mado, black and white striped with yellow fins, darted around and larger yellow-fin bream, red morwong, senator wrasse and striped luderick cruised past but no blue gropers today. There were quite a few spotty female crimson-banded wrasse and one that may have been changing its colour pattern from juvenile or female to male.
Several leather jackets eyed us, daring the photographers to get a picture (with no success). Small goatfish used their barbels to stir up the sand looking for food. A neon blue flash was probably a juvenile white-ear, with its black parent nearby. Several small black and red, white-barred three fins sat immobile on the rocks while a spotted pipefish drifted among the weed.
We were pleased to find only a few long-spined sea urchins inshore but their numbers increased further out. A slate-pencil urchin was seen as well as quite a few large turban shells.
It was a lovely way to spend a sunny morning, and encouraging to see a healthy and diverse seaweed cover with few urchins, although not as many fish as we expected to find.
Check our website www.ncmg.org.au for future activities. All welcome. With a base in the Eurobodalla area of NSW’s SouthCoast, NCMG has been around for over 10 years and has 450 members and supporters. They work for better protection of the marine environment but also want to help people enjoy and appreciate their marine surroundings. NCMG organizes rock shelf rambles, snorkelling, beach walks, diving and visits to mangrove forests and other marine habitats. They use local media coverage and social media to promote public awareness and the need for conservation. They place importance to introduce children to their marine environment, in cooperation with local schools, the Eurobodalla Shire Council and the Batemans Marine Park. They engage constructively with the Batemans Marine Park and other state and local bodies and contribute to scientific research through citizen science activities.