Hundreds of colourful Great Australian Cuttlefish have begun flocking to the shores of Point Lowly, heralding the beginning of cuttlefish season – a key attraction for the Whyalla region.
Every year between May and August thousands of people make the trip to the coastline surrounding Point Lowly to swim with these unique creatures, boosting the town’s visitor economy.
Whyalla Dive Shop Owner Tony Bramley said the first group of cuttlefish were sighted at Black Point recently, with more expected to show up around Stony Point as time goes on.
“People can come down here and have a fantastic experience swimming with the cuttlefish. They turned up right on the first of May, I think this year is going to be excellent,” he said.
Just as the cuttlefish arrived on cue, so did the visitors. On what was technically the very first day of the cuttlefish season, two divers from Sweden arrived looking to hop in the water.
“They were extremely fortunate to arrive on that day. They went out and had a great time,” Mr Bramley said.
Every year Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries bring hundreds of people to Stony Point to view the cuttlefish through pre-organised guided snorkels.
In 2017 more than 200 divers from around the world, including countries like Argentina and England, attended the event to get a glimpse of the colorful critters.
The amount of visitors coming in to Whyalla during the cuttlefish season represents a big boost for accommodation houses like the Discovery Parks Caravan Park.
Assistant Manager Carly Walker said group bookings for up to 30 people at a time were made during the season.
“We have a lot of people coming back from last year. We have well over 100 people booking rooms throughout the season,” she said.
Mr Bramely said it was important to ensure the cuttlefish were kept safe, so they would continue to return to the waters around Point Lowly.
“It’s imperative that we don’t let anything bad happen there. So far there haven’t been any environmental issues or oil spills, which is good,” he said.
“We have an attraction that costs the community nothing – we don’t have to spend any money to get these tourists to come here.”
The infrastructure around Point Lowly has also been upgraded by the Whyalla City Council, with a new cuttlefish shelter and toilet facilities installed to help encourage visitors to view the cuttlefish.