In South Australia late last month, South Australia Marine Parks, Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources teamed up with Reef Life Survey to train new volunteer divers in RLS methods to assist with Marine Park monitoring. The team of 12 divers including: Antonia Cooper, Danny Brock, Alicia McArdle, Paul Jennings, Alexandra Lea, Chelsea Haebich, Gail Jackman, Zoltan Mihalik, Leila Nazimi, Ember Corpuz, Brett Williamson and Jamie Hicks smashed out 28 surveys over three days.
In total 7 key Encounter Marine park monitoring sites were surveyed at Rapid Head and Carrickalinga. Despite having to cancel the one day of diving due to weather the rest of the expedition was a great success with 53 species of fish and 70 species recorded on Method 2 (48 invertebrate species and 22 cryptic fishes.
Highlights for the trip include:
- 8 new volunteers trained in Reef Life Survey method
- Weird and wonderful critters seen including Goblin fish, Glyptauchen panduratus; Warty prowfish, Aetapcus maculatus and a Rodless Anglerfish, Histiophryne cryptacanthus
- Charismatic megafauna, Australian Sea Lions (Neophoca cinera) and Long-nosed fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri), put on a grand display of playful swimming at a nearby haul out site.
- A large school of elusive “bubble fish’ was also encountered by a weary diver. The “bubble fish” has an uncanny resemblance to an RLS diver’s surface bubbles.
- Underwater Sports Diving staff providing on-demand barbeque snags in between dives
We would like to thank all the RLS trainers and divers for teaching all the new volunteers the ropes and to all the volunteers for their enthusiasm and dedication. We would also like to thank the Underwater Sports Diving, Department of Environment of Water, Natural Resources, Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board.
It is hoped that this will be the start of a long term partnership between SA Marine Parks Program and the Reef Life Survey Foundation.
– Written by Jamie Hicks