Young Nats and Main Club March Excursion
A small but enthusiastic group of members came to the beach for snorkelling on Sunday 10 March. Initially the weather was grey and lowering but it fined up to a beautiful day with sunshine and 29°C.
There are a lot of exposed rocks at Mettams Pool but there was a clear way in at the bottom of the ramp. Visibility was quite good but the water was a little choppy.
We saw a variety of fish, including my favourite one: the Red-lip Morwong. There were Herring, Scaly Fin, Banded Sweep, Tarwhine, Buffalo Bream and of course lots of ‘blowies’. The Blowfish are interesting because they can change colour quite quickly. When they are over the sand they are nearly white but once they are amongst the weeds on the reef they change to a darker brown colour.
We found a red Sea Tulip—a tunicate or ascidian which is a filter feeder. There was a large Jourdan’s Turban Shell, some empty Abalone shells and lots of white opercula, which are the coverings to the entrance of the gastropods’ shells.
There were many red, brown and green seaweed or algae. A very common brown alga was the Funnel Weed or Onion Rings. The white colour inside the funnel is made up of calcium. We found a tiny snail on the Funnel Weed, a littorinid or Periwinkle.
Only one of us ventured over the reef into the deeper area where there were large fields of Brown Kelp (Ecklonia radiata). Don Poynton mentioned that, in common with the rest of the coast, the Gorgonian corals out there have been declining in numbers.
We were very pleased that some members of the public, noting our activities, came up and sought our advice on what they had seen in the water.