Cuttlefest on in Whyalla

FISHY: Snorkelers joining guided community snorkels during Cuttlefesh 2018 will be able to experience spectacular Australian giant cuttlefish behaviour like this.  Photo Carl Charter, Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries.
FISHY: Snorkelers joining guided community snorkels during Cuttlefesh 2018 will be able to experience spectacular Australian giant cuttlefish behaviour like this. Photo Carl Charter, Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries.

Cuttlefest 2018, the inaugural festival celebrating the globally unique and wild Australian Giant Cuttlefish aggregation, is underway in Whyalla.

A series of four Cuttlefest family-friendly events are possible through a partnership between the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board, Department for Environment and Water and Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries (EMS), with funding from the Whyalla City Council and support staff from Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula.

Marine Parks Regional Coordinator Dr. Shelley Paull hopes people enjoy the week long extravaganza, and take the time to celebrate all marine life off Eyre Peninsula.

“Cuttlefest is a great opportunity for locals to experience the environmental treasures in our own regional backyard,” she said.

“Whyalla is rich in nature-based tourism opportunities, and Cuttlefest 2018 allows people to experience these opportunities a number of ways.”

People can choose to stay in the warmth of the Whyalla Library and experience the new interactive Pop-up Marine Discovery Centre from June 16 until July 6.

Or if you are seeking a winter adventure then snorkelling or diving to witness the natural ‘colour show’ phenomena of the breeding giant cuttlefish in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park might be more your style.

Plus, Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries (EMS) is in town again hosting safe and supervised family snorkelling experiences.

“It’s a great opportunity if you have ever considered seeing the cuttlefish to join one of the Cuttlefest Community Guided Snorkels, because they have qualified guides, wetsuits and all gear included,” Ms Paull said.

“This is the third year we’ve partnered with EMS to offer these popular guided snorkels, and this year there are five days of snorkelling open to the public.

All details, including bookings, are available online.

“Pre-booked school groups are also participating in the Cuttlefest snorkels. If your school would like to participate in 2019, you can contact us to register your interest” Ms Paull said.

Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries is also hosting a free, limited ticket, Curious Cuttles information night at the Mount Laura Homestead Building on July 7,

The event will see local experts, researchers and artists present the life and science of the Australian giant cuttlefish.

There will be a special screening of Blue the Film at the Middleback Arts Centre at 7pm on July 4, which is a stunning marine life documentary.

Natural Resource Management Officer Barbara Murphy encouraged locals to ‘come along and decide what everyday actions you can take to ensure our ocean is sustained for future generations’.

“We are very thankful of the funding from Inspiring SA’s Regional Science Hub to host this event,” she said.

“Also if you are fascinated by prehistoric times and you like driving, I’d strongly encourage you to go on a self-guided journey to discover the stranded shingle ridges at Fitzgerald Bay.

“It’s just a 20 minute drive to see the geological feature unique to Whyalla and it really gets you thinking about climate and the marine environment.

“Just like their name suggests, these stranded shingle ridges were formed millions of years ago, when the sea levels were up to three metres higher than today.

“They’ve since become stranded high and dry, the result of Quaternary ice ages and ancient climatic events.”

For information and booking to all Cuttlefest 2018 events visit: www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula