Snorkelling at Perth

Posted:   |  More posts about Linux conference lca2014 recreation

I was in Perth for 2014 and for a place that I've heard sucks, I'm mostly seeing the opposite.


The view from near Mudurup Rocks.

Like Dirk Hohndel's talk, this post is not so much about technology as it is about the sea. I meant to write this post before I had even left Perth but I ended up getting sidetracked by LCA and general horseplay.

After Kate Chapman's enjoyable keynote I decided to blow that popsicle stand and snorkel at Cottesloe Reef (pdf) which is a FHPA (Fish Habitat Protection Area) just 30 minutes from the conference venue by bus.

I don't have a whole lot of experience snorkelling, but I did bring my gear because I knew there were some snorkelling spots reachable by public transport. I'd be an idiot to pass up the opportunity as around Brisbane there aren't any easily accessible snorkelling locations without a car or even a boat (the easiest is the headland off Kings Beach in Caloundra entering at the boat ramp).


A map of the FHPA Cottesloe area.

Entry on the south side of Mudurup Rocks/Cottesloe Groyne (they are so close together they are basically the same place) was quite easier than what I normally have to deal with at Caloundra. I was relieved to find that I did not have to walk backwards over oyster covered rocks for 20+ meters while being pushed over by waves as is the custom at Caloundra. All I had to do was step carefully over the pocketed stone and the thin strip of sand at the water's edge and follow up with 3 meters backwards walking on a nice sandy bottom. It was the easiest entry I've ever had (I've never been blessed with a boat) due to not being bashed around by waves or stumbling over sharp rocks. The waves and swell was very small and the currents gentle.

A waterproof camera would have been great to show the underwater landscape and some of the fish I saw. GoPro's are getting cheap and easy to get, and I can use it to document my other mischief making adventures so hopefully I can pick one up soon.


Standing at the entry spot, looking towards Mudurup Rocks with Cottesloe Groyne poking out. The other side is Cottesloe Beach.

Underwater, the area is basically a maze of outcrops and channels covered with a lot of sea weed, and the bottoms of these channels usually are sandy. The PDF linked above explains the geography nicely. I've never seen this type of thing before and I found the way the sea grass moved with the current quite strange and unnerving. Silly, I know - but I got used to it eventually.

During the little time I spent in the quite shallow area and I saw a few fish, but it was pointless really. When I went further out to where the water was 2+ meters deep things got a lot more interesting because the taller formations house a lot sea-life. I saw schools of (what I am fairly sure) were Tailor, Silver Trevally, Tarwhine and some Morwongs up close, because they don't really care that you're there. I saw some assorted reef fish. I don't really know what they are (can't eat them) and I didn't have a camera. I definitely didn't see any of the seadragons that are known to inhabit the area, no surprise, as finding them amongst the weed would be tricky.

Despite being a FHPA, you can take the usual non-reef fish without a license. You need a license to pull lobsters and abalone (allowed from the groyne northwards) and these seem to cost $40 (each) at the moment. I wouldn't bother fishing off the groyne like I saw people doing... Why do that when you can swim out and place a baited hook right in front of the fish you want?

The next time I went to Cottesloe the weather was bad and visibility was terrible so I gave up almost immediately. The next trip after that was really quite good - a repeat performance of the first day but with better weather and slightly different fish. I saw a very large kingfish of some type, which was exciting (at least to me).

I didn't get to see any sharks which is a shame, depending on how you see things. I'd always heard that WA was infested with them. Coincidentially a few days prior, Cottesloe Beach played host to a large anti-shark killing protest.


Western Australia / South Australia border area.


Queensland, clearly.

If you get a chance to go to Perth and you can get your hands on some snorkelling gear, you really should take a look at Cottesloe reef. If you've only seen normal coral reefs typical to the east coast and tropical areas it really is a totally different experience.

Comments powered by Disqus
Contents © 2015 Daniel Devine - Nikola Powered - Flattr Me! Flattr this Source