Parks Victoria ran professional development day with ranger staff, scientists and volunteers on the fourth day of Two Bays 2012. Many of the rangers were from regional Victoria, so it was a chance to connect across the organisation, meet others and share the different needs of the regions. At the same time, staff were involved in habitat mapping, image collection and biodiversity surveys of both Pt Nepean and Pope's Eye Marine Parks.
Parks staff from the coastal regions in Victoria are spread over a great distance and can sometimes find it hard to be heard. It was a way to give staff both a learning opportuntiy and the possibility to share across many levels of management and across the regions in an informal and fun way.
On the MESA (Marine Education Society of Australasia) site there is a good map and an outline of the five Victorian bioregions that determined the placement of the marine parks 10 years ago.
Sometimes at the beginning of the day I wonder how we get all the equipment on and off the boat...
Seen on the day... in Pt Nepean
Moonlighter fish Habitat mapping Exploring Pt Nepean Marine Park. Divers found under a rock ledge - 40 resting Port Jackson sharks. Pope's Eye
Looking at the fortification that has now turned into a very productive marine habitat and base for a large Gannet colony. This was our second dive site for the day.Photo: Mark Rodrigue The ever curious Australian Fur Seal Cowfish - photo- Mark Rodrigue An Old Wife The beautiful underwater landscapes that make you want to stay under water for a long time to take them in.
Strands of Giant Kelp (Macrocystis angustifolia) used to abound around Pope's Eye but is now reduced to a few handfuls of tall strands. This species was abundant along the coastline of Tasmania but has declined to perhaps 5% of the original size. The research about how much faster the Southern Ocean is responding to climate change may be part of the reason.
Sponge fingersPuffer fish Jonno, dive master of the day, very happy that all ran smoothly and safely.
As the Pelican crew chatted in the following evening, Garry McKechnie realised that Pelican1 had just clocked 50,000 NM, partly due to the fact that we detoured around Chinamans Hat after diving at both Pt Nepean and Pope's Eye. We toasted the Pelican as we celebrated our many coastal project miles in Australasian waters!