Northern Suburbs Branch 24th March 2021
Golly, I didn’t know the beach at Mettams Pool was so badly eroded!
Our walk had started at Hamersley Pool and as we headed south along the beach, scattered bamboo stakes* at the foot of the dunes indicated how much damage had been caused by the storms in May 2020. However, it was the exposed rock platform at Mettams Pool that provided the greatest evidence of just how dynamic coastal processes can be. Over the last decade the several metres of sand that used to cover the rock platform has been eroded and it is now very difficult to enter the water at this popular, man-made swimming and snorkeling spot. During our post-snorkel coffee, Barbara Baxendale who has been swimming at Mettams for 25 years, produced newspaper clippings dating back several years which highlighted the erosion problem and the yet to be started, long promised, rectification.
During our walk we discussed the difference between seaweed and sea grass for our new members and examined various specimens found amongst the beach wrack. This gave rise to another Golly moment when we discovered a small cowrie shell in perfect condition.
Our attention was also drawn to the black sand on the beach and lead us to hypothesize on its origin– was it a heavy mineral deposit or was it a loose material washed off newly resurfaced West Coast Highway?
Hamersley Pool was looking very inviting upon our return and it was not long before all but one of us took to the water. Some preferred to swim in the shallows while the more adventurous headed across the reef studded with abalone to examine the walls of the drop-offs and isolated sections of the outer reef. Here, ascidians, sponges, soft corals, anemones and sea stars made a colorful display.
Several schools of fish, most likely Buffalo Bream swam around us and numerous lone specimens of Red-lipped Morwong, Blue Devil, Puffer fish and even a very large sea-hare were spotted.
* The stakes had been used to secure guards around seedlings planted on the dunes as part of Stirling Natural Environment Coastcare revegetation programme.