Monday, February 8, 2010

Australia Day at Fairlight Jan 26th 2010

On Australia day, we decided to head to Shelley Beach at Manly for a snorkel. I've read so many positive comments on Shelley Beach that I thought I was missing out on one of Sydney's best snorkeling sites. That is when I decided to visit the place that everyone raves about. Unfortunately, it was a beautiful day (had rained during the weekend) and everyone else had the same marvellous idea to head to the beach. It was hectic! I believe we arrived around 1pm which I would suggest is smack bang in the middle of peak traffic at Shelley Beach. 

We drove around through the car park (few times), waited around, drove through the small streets, and after 20 minutes of targeting pedestrians thinking that they were returning to their vehicle, we eventually gave up. I decided instead to head to the less known destination of Little Manly Point as I have fished there hundreds of times and believed it would also be a fanstastic site to snorkel. Again, we were met with endless lines of cars and swarming human traffic. Almost giving up, I remembered Fairlight!

Now, parking was expectedly easy to find although we had to battle the heat for approximately 10 minutes. Better than nothing. Choosers cannot be beggars. This precious beach was also swarming with people having bbq's, picnics, etc. We also noticed a fair few people by the rock edge with snorkeling gear. We prepared in lightning speed and dived right in.

I recall the fluffy sand and the concrete floors were as hot as lit-up coal however, the water temperature was to die for! Fantastic! Below are some of the memorable pictures taken at Fairlight.

Red Morwong swimming through the crevice

I decided that Fairlight is/was the safest snorkeling destination so far from my snorkeling adventures. When I express safe, I suppose it defines how secure I felt. Even though we were 100m from the shore, it was not particularly deep (3-4 metres) with rock formations scattered where we could just rest on it. The abundance of marine life was amazing here. So many different species of fish and the sheer numbers gave me double vision. I could not keep up taking all the pics I wanted and I eventually got tired of taking pics and enjoyed the snorkel instead.

Crested Morwong giving me the silent treatment

The crested morwong seems like a regular here at Fairlight as I have seen dozens of pics in many forums/websites.

 School of Luderick

I could confidently state that luderick was the largest population here at Fairlight. Attack of the ludericks! Would have loved to catch them on floats :)

A groper joining the fun with ludericks

Amongst the luderick were also a few brown gropers. Their bodies show patches of blue where I think they are undergoing their sex-change transition. 

Leatherjacket attempting to hide.. poor attempt

Thought the leatherjacket above was pretty cute. Maybe because of its swollen belly and it attempted to take cover but failed miserably. 

Stripeys (Thanks to Chai, I now know the name)

Fairlight has countless rock ledges with millions (ok I exaggerate) of marine life seeking shelter underneath them. We saw a school of the yellow and black fish above. I got to find out their names!
Biggest octopus I have seen

Underneath another rock was the largest octopus I have ever seen. I managed to catch a glimpse of its tentacles and realised that an octopus was hiding underneath the ledge.This picture does not do the octopus any justice but boy was it enormous!

Brown/Blue Groper

I thought I'd add the picture above as it reminded me of an aquarium.

Another school of luderick

As I said earlier, ludericks are plentiful here at Flourishing Fairlight.

School of squid

At this stage, we stayed in the water for about an hour and a half. Time flew right past us without us knowing it. Heading towards the shore, we found a patch of white sand that was occupied by a school of squid. Got hungry just by looking at them :) One was obviously the boss and them led them away from my hungry staring eyes. 

Although we failed to snorkel our intended destination, Fairlight was my best snorkel as yet. Would return within a heartbeat. The marine life was astonishing according to my beginner's point of view and I felt the most secure. Now that I had some time to reflect about Fairlight, the first word/phrase that comes to mind is 'Flourishing' Fairlight. This is because of the flourishing marine and plant life here at Fairlight. It might also be because of the alliteration 'Flourishing Fairlight' :)

The weather forecast does not seem positive for the whole month of Feb so my next trip is dependent on how the weather holds up. As I said on my previous post, Bushrangers Bay is definitely on my list and hopefully I will visit it soon! 

Signing off



  1. Hi Chad,

    Another great underwater adventure : )
    That yellow and black fish are called "stripey" - my favorite subject for underwater shots.


  2. Hello Chai,

    Excellent! Will have to update the post.

    I really enjoyed Fairlight but I really have to visit Shelley Beach.