The Great Ocean Road coastline relies on the support of community groups and volunteers to keep this breathtaking part of the world sustainable for future generations. This post is a special post from the Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary (FERMS) who look after the sanctuary above and below the surface.
Rockpool Rambling – Safety for the organisms
- If rocks are turned over they must be replaced gently and safely, back into the same position. Creatures rely on rocks for shelter from the elements and predators. Plants may require the micro climate created on the underside of a rock to be viable.
- Creatures should be held and viewed in a container with water if picked up from rock pools. It may be appropriate to hold creatures under water using cupped hands for viewing, low to the ground.
- All creatures must be placed back in the same place they were found after a quick viewing. Creatures often live in family groups, e.g. crabs, or will have sought out that particular spot for shelter, predator protection, or food access.
- Participants are able to gently touch some creatures whilst in the container (ensure you have washed your hands of excess sunscreen). E.g. sea stars, sea snails, chitons.
- Please avoid trampling of any plants or animals as much as possible.
Rockpool Rambling – Safety for the participants
- Appropriate footwear must be worn by participants, when walking on the rock platforms. Old runners, secure sandals and wetsuit booties are good. Bare feet and thongs are not acceptable.
- Dress in sun-protective clothing including hats and sunscreen, and warm layers and rainwear on colder days.
- Don’t run on the rock platforms as the plants, animals and rocks may be sharp and slippery.
- Be aware of the potential risk of moving too close to the seaward edge of a rock platform. If you find a wave coming around you on the platform, remain stationary, brace yourself, lowering your center of gravity, then move in shore once the wave has passed.
- Mind your hands and avoid cuts or scrapes overturning and replacing rocks.
- Be aware of the presence of the blue-ringed octopus. Never place your hands where you can’t see your fingers or other hand parts, whilst on the rock platform.
- Be aware that other local marine creatures may cause harm. This includes anemone species (only the waratah anemone should be touched by participants, and only once on the tentacles), sea urchins (spines may cause puncture wounds) and cone shell (only small species are found in southern waters, but cone shells are capable of stinging).
The most important thing is to respect the home of the amazing marine life. Do that, and you will have an amazing time exploring all the beach treasures above and below the surface!
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee offers ‘Intertidal Investigations’ as part of their FREE environmental education program and offer FREE holiday activities throughout January. Stay tuned for the activity calendar or register your school or group on our website today!