Day 4 - Evil pranks, 25,00 thousand fish and a playful Dolphin
Seanna and Kieren kicked off the day with a 5:00am start to go shoot the sunrise at the beach. As romantic as it sounded, Mel and I stayed in the comfort of a warm bed for 1 extra hours sleep.
The day for me kicked off as the victim of an evil practical joke. After spending 30 minutes looking for my shoes I located them in the freezer - which is where they had been for the past 7 hours compliments of Kieren. Lucky for him, I had a second pair of shoes!
We left our lodge at 7:00am to meet Tony – owner of the Whyalla Dive Shop – at the boat ramp. We were heading out to the Aquaculture Farms that house tens of thousands of Yellowtail Kingfish.
Now I know these Aquaculture farms are very controversial and I must admit I have only scraped the surface in terms of knowing and understanding the positives and negatives of these farms.
We jumped on Tony’s boat and headed out to sea. When we arrived Kieren and I geared up into our Scuba gear and made the ever-so-ungraceful entry into one of the nets. Seanna and Mel were just snorkelling the net so they jumped in after us.
Not even thinking I used the weights I had on for the shallow Cuttlefish dives so my 10 meter descent to the bottom of the net was a quick one. Tony had given me a mesh bag to place any dead Kingfish into. It was an absolutely incredible experience, the net we were in housed over 25,000 individual kingfish. They would continuously bump and scrape past you and nibble at your wetsuit. We cut a few laps around the net and found just 2 dead Kingfish. The footage we got was pretty incredible and the experience was beyond exhilarating.
We surfaced from the net to find a sole Dolphin waiting next to the boat. All four of us jumped back in the boat and jumped off the other side with our snorkels to swim with her. She spent about half an hour darting in and around our group and posing for the cameras. This was my first experience with a Dolphin, and it made it easy to see why they are such an adored creature. It was one of those ‘connecting-with-wildlife’ moments that plasters a smile on your face for hours after the actual event.
In relation to the Aquaculture as a whole, it seems to be a short-term "solution" (and I use that word lightly) to a massive issue facing the worlds oceans. I regards to Aquaculture practices, from what I understand, the issue that holds the greatest weight is the chance of potential escapes of the farmed Kingfish. Many people are concerned that escaped kingfish will damage sensitive breeding areas for species including king george whiting, garfish and squid.
There are a number of other matters raised in relation to deformities of the farmed fish, additives in the pellets used to feed farmed fish and chemicals that may cause harm to humans on consumption of farmed fish. From what I have read, majority of these issues are yet to be significantly proven.
As controversial as they are it was an incredible experience to interact and be surrounded by such an awesome fish. From what I witnessed, the thing that had me the most concerned is the happiness of the fish that live in them.
The ride back to shore was quick and we headed straight to Cuttlefish territory for another shore dive with our frisky friends.
Tonight we head for Port Lincoln!