Second Valley ….drive and dive

17 Aug

Dear Reader:

This week’s post is courtesy of a chilly winter dive and a pleasant day’s drive to one of my favourite childhood haunts, Second Valley.

D Second Valley bay on a winter's day

Second Valley bay and beach on a calm winter’s day

 

In 1836 Colonel Light, the founder of Adelaide, was searching for a good location for South Australia’s new capital city. He sailed his ship, the Rapid, into a sheltered bay with a fresh water stream that flowed in from a fertile valley. Light named the bay after the vessel. The second little cove that he discovered was just a few miles north towards the present location of Adelaide and was simply known as Second Valley.

E farmer and dog taking dairy herd across the road near Rapid Bay

Farmer and cattle dog taking dairy herd across the road near Rapid Bay

Second Valley is a one and a half hour drive from the city centre along the Fleurieu  Peninsula’s south coast road. The dairy farms that lie amongst the rolling hills, large expanses of open woodland, and vineyards make it a recreational drive worth undertaking for its own sake. But for the wildlife enthusiast both drive and destination are even more enthralling. The farms and bushland support a healthy population of western grey kangaroos that are often visible from the road. Rosellas, various cockatoos, lorikeets and a host of other bird species are also common throughout the year.

BB Western grey kangaroos near the roadside near Second Valley

Western grey kangaroos by the roadside near Second Valley

However Second Valley’s real charm lies beneath its pristine waters. The sheltered little bay is enclosed by limestone hills and coastal cliffs . It boasts an exquisite little beach and miniature rocky headland which is bisected by an old wooden jetty. Small boats can be launched from the beach but the marine environment is just as easily accessed from the beach, jetty and rocks for shore based divers. It is, in my experience, one of the best scuba and snorkelling locations that I have encountered anywhere in the world. A place where a novice snorkeler can swim amongst shallow rocky reefs in water they can stand up in or a more adventurous diver can swim a short distance and be next to a cliff face that drops away into 10 metres of water.

A squid at nightshowing irridescence

Squid viewed on night dive

Below the water there is a diverse range of habitats to explore ranging from limestone caves and ledges, to rocky reefs, seagrass meadows and open expanses of white rippled sand. There is always a wide selection of marine life to enjoy. Over the years I have encountered everything from huge eagle rays to schools of iridescent squid on a night dive and once I came across an elephant shark lazily gliding across the segrass as it came into the shallow bay to breed.

B large cuttlefish amongst brown algae

Large cuttlefish amongst brown algae

Although the balmy days of summer are the ideal weather for a dip in the ocean the winter months often produce long fine breaks when the sea is calm and visibility excellent. On this particular occasion I was lucky enough to encounter a couple of large cuttlefish under a ledge and a school of silver drummer milled around me on the edge of the rocky outcrop. On any typical dive, either snorkelling or with scuba, I would expect to sight at least 30 different species of fish and a multitude of invertebrates. This dive was no exception.

BB Silver drummer schooling  at the end of the rocky peninsular

Silver drummer schooling at the end of the rocky peninsula

As always I hope you enjoyed the pictures and anecdotes and that they encourage you to come and enjoy our unique scenery and wildlife.

Cheers

Baz

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