View from the Queenscliff Harbour.
Evening comes to Queensclif harbour. Photos: Mark Rodrigue 2011
We boarded the usual diverse group that makes a day out at sea on Pelican1 such a moveable feast. A group of VACCA kids, their carers, science teacher Andrew Vance and a young science degree student Ruby, marine educator Marg O'toole, as well as bird watcher Glenda, and last but not least Gidja Walker and her partner, Phillip Jensen. Gidja and Phillip are driving forces behind SPIFFA (Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association).
Our day was meant to involve a drift dive and snorkel above the seagrass in Swan Bay as part of our Two Bays journey between Queenscliff and Geelong.
But the day did not dawn as painterly still as the photo above from last year's Two Bays. The painting below (by Gidja Walker) depicts a section of the scrumbly Swan Bay saltmarsh just south of the Jetty. The Dwarf Open-Shrubland of Black seeded glasswort, pictured in the painting, is just meters from the eroding coastline. It is a favourite feeding ground for our endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot which arrives here every Winter. This area is very vulnerable to sea-level changes as the residential and agricultural uses of the land behind it remove the possibility of the fragile ecosystem moving further inland. The recently observed changes to the bay point to increased erosion due to more tidal inundation. Edwards Point is rapidly eroding and falling in the Bay. For a map of the Bay refer to -http://www.ccmaknowledgebase.vic.gov.au/resources/92.pdf .
Coastal vegetation of the Western Shoreline and Bellarine has recently been mapped and those interested can follow this link to the study.
The main seagrasses in the Bay are Zostera muelleri and Heterozostera tasmanica and we hope to try again next year with young people to give them an opportunity to float above the channels in Swan Bay and observe the marine life that makes its home in this special nook of Port Phillip Bay. If you get an opportunity to visit - make sure you check out the Marine Discovery Centre in Queenscliff, which looks out over the peaceful expanse of Swan Bay.
But due to squally weather we took our party further along the coastline to swim, take part in the bird-watching and a science class run by Andrew Vance. The science class involved the kids learning about changes in water density and the changes in light as you go deeper underwater. This is part of the Two Bays curriculum which we hope to release very soon.
Snorkelling and swimming from Pelican1- VACCA kids getting into sea country.
Looking out for seabirds.
VACCA carers watching the fleets of sailing boats heading to Geelong for their annual sail event. Pelican moored at the end of the day on Alexander pier in the midst of the hubub.
Andrew Vance giving the Two Bays science lesson on board Pelican1.