For a work Christmas Function, we went on a dolphin/sea cruise with Sea All Dolphin Tours. This tour was some time ago and I had posted some photos on my site and social media however I wanted to consolidate my thoughts so felt it would be best to do a peice on the experience. Please note this was some time ago, so experiences may vary today.
We started off catching a ferry from Docklands, Melbourne before we made our way over to port Arlington for lunch. This was a local tasting of beers as well as food from throughout the region which was delicious
and then over to Sea All Dolphin Swim Company in Queenscliff to do some Dolphin / Seal / Sea-watching.
We got everything ready and made our way out in a boat to the Port Phillip Bay coastal reserve. Whilst I didnt log the exact path we went, we did visit Chinaman's Hut to take some photos of the seals, as well as Popes Eye.
During the journey, as we left Queenscliff we came across a pod of dolphin's who were happily swimming at the front of the boat. They stayed with us for about 5 – 10 minutes before heading off.
Images of the Dolphin, Seal and Bird Spotting in December 2019 run through Sea All Dolphin Swims in Queenscliff, Vi
Chinaman's hut is a post war installation in the Port Phillip Bay Coastal Reserve located about 3km east-south-east of Popes Eye. Currently this is an octagional structure which serves as a navigation aid as well as a seal resting spot which was transferred to the Parks Authority in 2002.
Prior to the installation of the more recent structure, in 1942 the site was the location of a millitary installation (known as Station M), which served as part of the Port Phillip Bay Defence system however, in 1944 after the system was reported to not work, it was moved and the structure remained in a delapidated state.
In its current form, the structure is similar to a rotunda which has multiple levels for the seals to rest on, when we were there I would say there were 30 – 40 seals hanging around including those (like the below) that were happy to come and have a look at who we were and what we were up to.
Images of the Dolphin, Seal and Bird Spotting in December 2019 run through Sea All Dolphin Swims in Queenscliff, Vic
Popes Eye is an uncompleted millitary installation in Port Phillip Bay about 3km from Queenscliff, and 5km from Portsea. It is assessed as being approximatally 4 hectares and construction started in the 1880's by dumping bluestone boulders on a submerged 12m sandbank. The construction continued until it became an artificial reef, open to the north-east side at high tide.
The intent of the fort was to serve as part of the port phillip bay defence system however, construction stopped before it was completed as a fort because improvements were made in naval gunnery which enabled the entrance to port phillip, and the associated shipping channel to be protected by guns which were located at Swan Island Fort, as well as Fort Queenscliff and Fort Nepean. This made Popes eye redunant as a millitary installation however, it now hosts a nagivation beacon.
The fort has been protected since 1979 as part of the Port Phillip Heads Marine reserve, and is ecologically significant hosting a range of marine flora and fauna. The site serves as a location for breeding birds, and can also often host seals and other marine wildlife.
Within the protected coves of Popes Eye, it is about 2m deep (may vary) and serves as a protected area for small boats, as well as a popular area for SCUBA divers.
As we went past, we caught a glimpse of some fur seals as well as a number of birds. I must admit as a kid I had visited Popes Eye a number of times with family and always found it a facinating place.
Not a particularlly good photo, but a photo of Australian Fur Seal pups playing at Popes Eye in the Port Phillip Marine Reserve in Victoria, Australia.
Overall I found the experience and the day a very enjoyable one, if I had my time again I would try and do a swim with the seals / dolphins as well as the tour. Nonetheless it was a fantastic experience, and the team at Sea All Dophin Swms were fantastic and highly recommended. Overall
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PO Box 113, Beaconsfield Upper, Victoria, Australia, 3809.