Snorkelling for Seagrass

Today was amazing! I went out in a 6m research boat called the Pelagia, and spent the day searching Moreton Bay for patches of seagrass.

Today my job was to jump into the water whenever we stopped the boat, I then had to dive down to the bottom and take a small sample of seagrass if there was any. I am getting really good at identifying the different kinds of seagrass found here! We recorded the GPS co-ordinates at each locations and by the end of the day we had been to around 50 different sites! That means hopping in and out of the water 50 times!

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A medium density seagrass meadow.

The water in Moreton Bay can be very clear at times, however today it was very turbid. This means that there is a lot of sand or mud mixed into the water to make the visbility quite low. At times today the visibility was only 20cm (put your hand 20cm in front of your nose - that is how far I could see underwater). You can imagine that having such a low visibility makes it quite hard to dive down to 4m because you have no idea where you are going! Sometimes you felt the seagrass on your face before you could see it.

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This water was very turbid.

We were very cautious about getting in and out of the water as Moreton Bay is home to Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks and the occasional Great White Shark. Bull Sharks in particular love very turbid water and so they were always in the backs of our minds as we were swimming down to the sea bed. We didn't see any sharks today but we saw a dugong only 20m away from the boat, and we saw a Loggerhead Turtle quite close up! Very exciting to see some of the animals that really depend on the seagrass which we have been collecting data on.

We began to head back to the research station at around 3pm as the winds were picking up and the swells were around 2-3m. This meant that our boat trip home was very bumpy! The Pelagia has a max speed of around 70km/h and I think we definitely got some air time as we bounced off a few big waves.

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The Pelagia from the water. The Velella as we drove past today.

Miss McKinley