Originally posted on November 30, 2019 @ 10:00 pm
Snorkeling with cuttlefish-South Australia’s underwater adventure
Ditch the idea of spending your vacation swimming around in the ocean with sharks and stingrays-it seems like the newest and coolest trend when it comes to marine experiences is swimming with colorful cuttlefish. As a matter of fact, more and more tourists from all around the world travel to Whyalla, Australia’s well-known mining town, to witness the largest cuttlefish aggregation. Each year during the period between the months of May and August, thousands of cuttlefish gather along the beautiful South Australian coastline. Due to the fact that the gathering happens a few meters from the shoreline, it is quite an easy spectacle to witness.
The average person upon seeing a cuttlefish for the first time would typically describe the creature as a squid-like being which has tentacles similar to an octopus. In true honesty, even though these creatures are unique in appearance, they are a commonly overlooked beauty of sea life. Nevertheless, thanks to a large number of tourists who travel all across the globe to witness them, take photographs and even go snorkeling; cuttlefish became a true attraction and outstanding marine experience. So, why are cuttlefish so beloved in Australia? Firstly, they are called the chameleons of the sea, due to the fact that they are able to change the pigmentation of their skins to blend in with the surrounding, even going to the lengths to change their skin’s texture to mimic sand, rocks or seaweed. Cuttlefish use their ability to blend in to avoid larger sea creatures and potential predators.
When it comes to the mating season, another interesting thing happens in regards to changing their overall appearance. Male cuttlefish, especially alphas double in size by flattening out and elongating their bodies. Unique patterns, dots and intricate shapes can be observed on a top alpha cuttlefish. Nevertheless, the other smaller males have tricks up their sleeves to get closer to the unsuspecting females. These smaller specimens use their color shifting powers to disguise themselves into females. This way, they are able to trick the alphas and approach the awaiting females. To witness two male cuttlefish competing is a spectacular sight not worth missing. If you are planning to visit Australia anytime soon, then you are up for a treat. Not only is Australia perfect for someone who enjoys lounging on the beach all day and exploring sea life, but it is also a spectacular continent proud of its rich culture. Have you fallen in love with the stunning city of Sydney, and are you thinking of staying a bit longer? The best way to explore visa options and gather information is to consult Sydney migration agents. This way, you can take your time to fully enjoy everything Australia has to offer.
To understand why cuttlefish are so loved and appreciated in South Australia, one needs to know a bit about their history. Back in the 1990s, fishermen used to catch a large number of cuttlefish only to use them as bait. Slowly, it became noticeable that the numbers of the cuttlefish population began to drop. More importantly, the reason for the decline is still unknown to experts. An average specimen usually has a life cycle of only 12 to 18 months, and each of the creatures participates in one single breeding during their lifetime. As a matter of fact, we should be thankful that these beautiful creatures still exist and thrive in marine life. Experts did not find out where the cuttlefish end up at the end of the winter, but it is suggested that the population returns to the exact same spot.
The best and most popular place to see an authentic cuttlefish aggregation is at Stony Point, close to Whyalla. More specifically, Stony Point is located on the coastline of the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park. As an alternative, tourists can choose to visit Black Point as well.
The perfect time to go for a family trip swimming with cuttlefish is in the early hours of the morning. When going later in the afternoon, it is highly likely that the water will be cold and the weather more windy than usual. Travelers require a high-quality snorkel and a 5mm thick wetsuit to be able to spend time with cuttlefish in the waters. Also, a hood and gloves are needed for the whole experience, all of which can be provided for in the town of Whyalla. People who decide to travel with their families and who might have smaller children on board should opt for private tours instead. By choosing to go for private tours, the experienced guides are able to slower the pace of the tour to make sure that the younger members are following along.
In summary, snorkeling with cuttlefish can be a once in a lifetime experience fit for the whole family. Thanks to their intricate and unusual look, the chameleons of the sea remain even to this day one of the most beautiful beings of marine life.