Marine Biology: Day 5 of Ocean Exploration

Today was our final day of pre-trimester field trips. At 9am we headed out to Killarney/Port Fairy with our snorkeling gear in tow. The morning was slightly cool, near 60 degrees, with some sunshine. The water, however, was freezing!

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The Coastline

Thank goodness we rented wetsuits. Our instructor decided that 30-45 minutes was going to be the limit for our time in the water. For those of us who were snorkeling, we formed into groups of three, each with a dive buoy to pull behind them, and waded in! We weren’t near a coral reef or anything wildly spectacular, but we did see lots of sea grasses and I think I saw a larger bream (fish). I know it was a fish of some sort anyways! After I saw the fish, one of the other girls in my group was getting cold, and I was starting to shiver, so we decided to let our instructors know and head to shore. Several members of other groups had done the same thing, so we all got out to dry off. One of the adults that came with us took a picture, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that soon. I was informed that my lips were blue and shivering so badly it made it difficult to get dressed, but I’m warm now, so it’s all good! I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to snorkel!

When we were ready, we went down to join the other individuals in our group who didn’t take the snorkeling test. They had been looking for the plants and animals on our scavenger hunt list.

Searching on the Rocks

Searching on the Rocks

My group found about six of our list of 20 species.

Getting Animals Inspected and Checked Off our List (This guy's a little crab. We learned how to tell the difference between male and female.)

Getting Animals Inspected and Checked Off our List (This guy’s a little crab. We learned how to tell the difference between male and female.)

Our Bucket of Animals and Plants

Our Bucket of Animals and Plants

Other groups had some pretty neat finds as well. I think my favorite was the Decorator Crab. Their bodies are covered with little hooks, and they use them to grab and attach algae to themselves, camouflaging in with their environment.

Decorator Crab!

Decorator Crab!

Holding the Decorator Crab

Holding the Decorator Crab

Someone also found a starfish that I got to “poke” (or touch rather). They’re odd little creatures too.

Starfish

Starfish

When we were done around noon, the bus arrived and we headed back to the University. I’m looking forward to an afternoon of a little relaxation! It’s been amazing but quite the whirlwind of activity! Tomorrow Marita, our international advisor here, is taking a few of the international students on an exploration of Warrnambool. I’m looking forward to seeing where she’ll be taking us.

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