I have wanted to do a stingray snorkelling adventure with Outthere Outdoors ever since I discovered they ran this activity.
Scheduling depends on the weather and tides, being held in the summer months.
The starting point for our adventure is near the San Remo Jetty, where 10 intrepid snorkellers meet with Ash, our guide.
A wetsuit, snorkel, mask, and flippers are provided. Everyone is given a blue "rashie" (top) to identify the group when it is in the water.
If you have your own wetsuit or other gear, bring that.
Once ready, Ash gives us a briefing on safety and instruction on using a snorkel if you haven't snorkelled before.
The day is lovely and sunny with clear water off the beach. Where we will be snorkelling, the water will go out to about 6 metres in depth.
Jamie patrols on a surfboard, and Ash is in the water with an underwater camera as we tentatively get used to our gear.
Very quickly there is a huge stingray swimming under me – what a fright! But there were no more for a while, so we had to wait until the tide begins to turn and the stingrays which had earlier gone with the tide, start to come back.
In the meantime, we snorkel along under the arm of San Remo Jetty. In the shade of the jetty, we see lots of small fish, colourful sponges, sea creatures, and a variety of seaweeds.
It is a whole other silent world hidden from humans. The Jetty pylons are bare above the water but underneath have a whole ecosystem attached.
When we come back to the beach area, it isn’t long before the first stingrays appear beneath us, circling around as they feed on fish.
Ash spreads some burly in the water and the rays swim around us, seemingly ignoring us. One comes up to me in the shallows and crashes into my feet.
We try to touch them as they glide beneath us. Eventually I manage to stroke one along its back - quite a strange feel. The touch is best described by Ash as “slimy smooth”.
These stingrays are huge, one of the largest stingrays in the world - up to 4 metres long from front to tip of tail and 2 metres wide, and coloured dark grey with pale underneath with a long whip-like tail.
They are not aggressive, but the spine is venomous and can cause pain or death.
Stingrays feed on fish and invertebrates. Their habitat is sandy bottoms and rocky reefs in coastal areas and bays.
After one and a half hours of our stingray snorkel, we are getting a bit cold and my fingers are waterlogged so decide it is time to leave the stingrays and get into the warmth of the sun.
Thanks to Ash from Outthere Outdoors for a fantastic stingray snorkelling experience.
All photos courtesy of Outthere Outdoors.
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