A taste of South Australia, March 2023

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Posted by Merry on June 02, 2023 at 16:32:06:

We started our trip by diving Rapid Bay Jetty with underwatersport.com.au, then spent ten days aboard the Rodney Fox shark boat. One of the most memorable parts of the trip were the days we explored South Australia’s elegant capital city, Adelaide. Thanks to the free and efficient tram system, we spent enjoyable hours at the Central Market, Rundle Mall, Botanic Garden, Adelaide Zoo and the South Australia Museum with its extensive curated display of Aboriginal artifacts. This spacious, immaculately kept city is a feast for the eyes with its many monuments, statues and sculptures.

The layout of the city was a brilliant plan. Against some push-back, the British Army engineer, Colonel William Light, chose this site for the city’s capital in 1836. He set out the city in a grid pattern, exactly one mile square and surrounded by approximately 2,000 acres of parkland, including landscaped town squares. Adelaide is known for its Victorian architecture, the old-fashioned cricket oval, its many churches, markets and fine arts venues – hosting the largest Australian Arts Festival now known as the Adelaide Fringe.

The River Torrens, also known by the Kaurna name, Karrawirra Parri

Intercontinental Hotel and the Adelaide Convention Center

Sculpture of Colonel William Light on Montefiore Hill

North-South and East-West tram system is great!

The Central Market has over 70 vendors selling high quality fresh food plus an array of eateries. The aroma is mind-blowing.

National War Memorial

Adelaide Botanic Garden and Bicentennial Conservatory

Egads, BATS! Returning from the Adelaide Zoo we heard a tremendous ruckus in the trees. It was a “camp” of thousands of the endemic grey-headed flying fox, Pteropus poliocephalus. It’s the largest bat in Australia with a wingspan of 3 ft.

Our first dive in SA was at Rapid Bay Jetty with underwatersports.com.au, docked at Marina St. Vincent, Wirrina Cove.

Surveyer-General Colonel William Light made his first landfall on mainland South Australia at Rapid Bay on 8 September 1836. The site was named after Light's ship, the 162 ton brig Rapid. The original jetty was built in 1940 and used commercially for limestone and dolomite mining until 1990, after which the jetty fell into disrepair. Thanks to intense lobbying, it was spared from destruction. Construction on a new jetty, alongside the old one, was finished in 2009.

And oh, what fun!

Most of the subjects we found were from Rapid Bay and Edithburgh jetties. What struck us is how tropical-looking are the fish, but are found in cold water! Here are a few shots, with more images on divermerry.com.

Ceratosoma brevicaudatum

Juvenile great white shark

A male leafy sea dragon, Phycodurus eques, well-known by the iNaturalist dragon monitoring project as “Up and OK”..

Another icon of the area is the Rapid Bay resident giant cuttlefish, Sepia apama

Southern pygmy leatherjacket, Brachaluteres jacksonianus

Southern pygmy leatherjacket

Spiny-tail / Spiny-tailed leatherjacket?, Acanthaluteres brownii

Magpie perch, Cheilodactylus nigripes

Victorian scalyfin composite, Parma victoriae

Yellowtail kingfish, Seriola lalandi

Sponge and tunicate life on a jetty piling.

Bluebell tunicate, Clavelina moluccensis

A small sample of biscuit star variations, Tosia sp.

Australian pheasant snail, Phasianella australis. ID thanks to Paul Kanner!

The rest of the trip photos at divermerry.com also feature the tour of Kangaroo Island, which include the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and Remarkable Rocks.

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