A favourite among locals, this busy marina offers protected snorkeling and diving amidst an exquisite gallery of colourful sponges.
The Blairgowrie Pier and Marina is a bayside snorkeling and dive spot located at the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. About 1.5 hours out of Melbourne, with all day free parking and in close proximity to a good selection of cafes, this site is perfect for a day trip out of Melbourne.
The key feature of this site is the plant and animal life that has grown on the pier structure itself. The community structure changes with depth and distance from the beach, which means that each pylon reveals new discoveries. In the shallow waters close to the beach, a patient snorkeler might discover a seahorse hiding among the long brown algae. At mid depths, the pylons and pier wall are coated with changing communities of sponges and encrusting animals in many colours. Closer inspection of these might reveal a lolly-coloured nudibranch or two (a common sight here), camouflaging fish such as blennies or leatherjackets, or the transparent red-handed shrimp. Some pylons are absolutely covered in hundreds of tiny hermit crabs!
On the sandy sea floor, flathead, rays and even the odd stargazer lie camouflaged. Large schools of yakka, longfin pike and baitfish species can often be seen between the pylons, while leatherjackets and sea sweep stick close to the walls.
The best way to enjoy this site is to walk in from the beach and snorkel to the end of the pier, which has a ladder for exit. However, at a distance of about 280 metres, this swim may be too long for some swimmers. Conveniently, a second ladder midway along the pier allows snorkelers to choose to swim just the shallow or the deep half of the pier, and is an easier entry point for divers. Some divers may choose to get in at the end of the pier and investigate the 200 metre marina wall.
Protected on two sides by a concrete wall and cladding on their pier, this site can be enjoyed by snorkelers in most conditions. Divers should aim to visit the site at slack-water, since there can be a strong undercurrent. Snorkeling at different tides allows access to different environments.
Diverse fauna found on pylons and marina wall
Easy access with free parking
Good for snorkeling and diving with two entry/exit ladders