One of the more positive relationships between people and the sea which we explore in our film Cuttlefish Country is shown through the experience of eco-tourism. In fact, it’s how we were personally introduced to the Giant Australian Cuttlefish aggregation of Upper Spencer Gulf as tourists, nearly ten years ago. It was this contact which prompted us to explore the existing and future impacts of development on South Australian marine life and undertake this ambitious project.
We are deeply grateful to the handful of Australian ecotour operators who have generously assisted us with our production, through skippering vessels for us, and sharing their knowledge of their wonderful wildlife hotspots with us.
In South Australia, our Victor Harbor charter sponsor is Dan from The Big Duck. Dan’s business introduces visitors to several icons of Encounter Bay from the water, including seabirds, fur seals and of course, the migrating Southern Right Whales. Victor Harbor is a popular holiday destination, and whale sightings between the months of June and October never cease to excite locals and attract tourists. Dan generously offered to take us out to gather footage and sound recordings of the Southern Right Whales and NZ Fur Seals in their natural environment. You can find out more about The Big Duck’s tours and services at their website below.
The Australian Sealion and bottlenosed dolphins of Eyre Peninsula’s Baird Bay were very welcoming to us, as were eco-tour operators, Trish and Alan Payne. When we visited the West Coast back in 2009, we dropped in as the tourist season was coming to a close. Alan generously took Dan out to gather footage of the local marine life. You can see some footage from our experience at Baird Bay in the video below. We encourage you to visit Alan and Trish’s website for more on their accomodation and tour packages.
In the south western corner of Western Australia, where the warm and cool currents mix in the waters of Geographe Bay stands the world-famous Busselton Jetty. Complete with volunteer-operated tourist train, interpretive centre and underwater observatory, visitors can relax on the shores of Geographe Bay, throw a line over the jetty or meet the wonderful marine life that calls the water beneath the jetty home. Busselton Jetty is a marine ecotourism icon, and stands as a model of what can be achieved by a community who truly know how to celebrate their local environment. You can find out more about Busselton Jetty, and even view live webcams placed beneath the jetty at their website.
In the north-west of WA, in the tropical waters of Coral Bay, coral reefs can be observed by snorkelling, diving… or from the comfort of a Coral Bay Ecotours glass-bottom boat. Their gentle cruises offer an eye-opening and informative introduction to the reef, its history and ecology. The crew from Coral Bay Ecotours generously granted us permission to film one of their tours underway, and we can’t recommend it highly enough. For their full range of tour experiences, please visit their website.