After a good night’s sleep and a great breakfast at the Athelstane House, we had some time to explore Queenscliff a bit further, as our booked tour with Sea All Dolphin Swims would not start before 2pm. Therefore, we spend some time at the beach nearby the White Lighthouse, had a look at the Queenscliff South Pier and enjoyed the view from the marina’s observation tower. We also walked through the harbour towards the station of the Bellarine Railway – unfortunately, there would be no trains running the next days.
Dolphin and Seal Swim
Punctually at 2 pm we then started our little boat trip within the southern reaches of Port Phillip Bay. After some time on the boat, we first stopped at Chinaman’s Hat where we made the encounter with a large group of Australian Fur Seals. While most of them haul-out in the open hut, we particularly enjoyed the encounter of the seals swimming and interacting with our group. There was also a large stingray swimming close to the ground.
While our first stop just showed the open sea, the second stop was far more impressive and colourful. We were guided to snorkel around Pope’s Eye, which is part of the Phillip Heads Marine National Park. The island once was intended to serve as another fort to defend the entrance of Port Philip in the 1880s, yet due to technological advancements this was never the case. Construction was stopped soon after they begun. Nowadays, Pope’s Eye is home to a reef which provides a rich habitat that is home to a diverse fauna of fish and marine invertebrates, including sponges and soft corals. While I didn’t feel safe during the first stop, I truly enjoyed the snorkelling on Pope’s Eye as it gave me a great insight to the sea life. Now, I would love to visit other reefs in the future and try to learn how to snorkel or dive.
The last part of our boat trip just concentrated to find the dolphins which are usually to be found in this area of Port Phillip Bay. It took us quite a while and when we finally tried to swim with the dolphins, it did not work at all. After two trials, where we hold on to a rope which is dragged through the water, we even stopped trying it. The dolphins were not in the mood to do so, and we respected it. Normally, they would swim around you, and it is probably a very nice experience even though you are just holding to a rope and don’t even get to a close contact with them. At least, we saw some dolphins in the ocean and that’s quite a nice sight.
After three and a half hours, we returned to Queenscliff. I enjoyed our boating trip, and it was an overall nice experience – even though we basically only swam with the seals and had a nice snorkelling at Pope’s Eye. In the evening, we returned to the Queenscliff Brewery, where we had some fantastic fish and chips – probably the best ones I ever had in my life, even though I lived in England for two years – and some nice beers. I especially enjoyed the Chardonnay IPA they were brewing. Overall, the Prickly Moses beers are fully recommendable and so is a visit to Queenscliff.
Pictures Queenscliff and Seal and Dolphin Swim
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