I bought myself one of those ‘deals’ vouchers for a snorkelling lesson/guided snorkel early in the year. I LOVE snorkelling but just don’t make the effort to go unless we are on vacation, so thought this was a good way to get a snorkel in. (I can highly recommend Pro Dive Manly! ) After lots of procrastination (and some health issues), I finally booked myself in at the beginning of April before the weather got too cold. Sydney water stays warm till July at least but it’s nicer getting out into balmy air than chilly winds. And I did choose the last warm day for several months!
It was amazing! I loved it. It was just me and the guide in the “group” and we snorkelled for an hour in the marine reserve at Shelley Beach (right in Sydney – at Manly. How blessed are we Sydney-siders!). Shelly Beach is apparently unique amongst east coast beaches in actually facing west. Which makes it sheltered, calm and less windy and you can watch the sun set across the water.
The abundance of fish and sea life blew me away. I didn’t see any leafy sea dragons (have to go further out to see them.. maybe another trip?) But apparently one of the bronze whaler sharks that have become common in the bay since the marine reserve was established came within a metre of my face but I missed it. I was looking the other way! Which is probably good as I was a tad nervous about the resident sharks even though there haven’t been any incidents and there were SO many people in the water that I would not have been a logical target, even if one of them decided to turn mean.
I learned quite a few snorkelling tips and techniques as well as having one of those deeply pleasurable experiences that is almost spiritual in its intensity. Who would have thought Sydney is home to such incredible sea life!
The sun was setting over Manly as I lingered on the beach, not wanting to do the hour’s drive back home in rush hour traffic.
Here is Shelly beach in the late afternoon (my lesson was at 4pm).
See the waves beyond the rocks? That’s where you have the best chance of seeing the leafy sea dragons. We snorkelled to the left of this photo, following the coast towards Manly staying close to the shore.
And the view looking north towards the Northern beaches:
Click on photos to get a larger view. You can enjoy hundreds of other gorgeous sky photos here at Skywatch Friday.