RLS teamed up with the Kangaroo Island NRM board for back to back double training weekends on Kangaroo Island (19th-23rd March and 27-30thMarch). A huge thanks to Danny Brock, Kym Lashmar and Martine Kinloch from the KINRM board for managing all of the logistics and for funding a large portion of the trips, without their support these trips would not have been possible.
The first weekend consisted of Rick Stuart-Smith and Toni Cooper from the RLS team, Danny, Martine and Kym from KINRM, Renate Velzeboer (a RLS veteran from way back!) and her partner Andy Davoran. RLS also welcomed a new contingent of KI local trainees: Heiri Klein, Anna Hadland, Albie Zepf and Kate Clements. The diving was based out of Kingscote and although the visibility wasn’t fantastic, everyone still managed to see a lot of interesting marine life. The Kingscote jetty proved to be a great spot for surveying with an abundance of fauna from Dusky morwong to blue-ringed octopus. Most people managed to get that postcard-shot of a Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques). 5 Leafy’s were scored on one transect, although poor Anna is still yet to seen one! Kate even managed to score a cormorant on one of her transects (after recovering from the fright is gave her)!
The first weekend obviously didn’t scare off too many as the second weekend had Toni, Danny, Martine, Kym, and Anna coming back for more. The new round of trainees consisted of Grant Flanagan, Kelly Dibben and Lesley Saunders. The second weekend saw blue skies, 20 metre visibility, and fantastic fish life! Blue Groper (Achoerodus gouldii), Queen Snapper (Nemadactylus valenciennesi), Harlequin fish (Othos dentex), Blue devils (Paraplesiops meleagris) and sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) were all commonly sighted during the surveys. The team were based out of Middle River and with the exception of the millipede infestation; it would have to arguably be one of the most beautiful places in this country!
Humongous thanks to Andrew (aka Grot!) and his super speedy “Island Explorer”. He proved that nothing was impossible when we managed to fit 11 divers, 1 skipper, gear, 22 tanks, and copious amounts of hot tea for Martine on board day after day! Thanks to all the trainees for putting in such a great effort. It was a great success and we look forward to the next Kangaroo Island trip!