Every year between the months of May and August, thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia apama) descend on the rocky coastline between Fitzgerald Bay and False Bay near Whyalla. These amazing 'chameleons of the sea' are one of the largest species of cuttlefish found in the world; and can reach up to 60cm in length and can weigh up to 5kg.
The migration by these majestic creatures to these waters is for the sole purpose of spawning. During these months, the female attaches her eggs to the underside of the rocky ledges around the area. The male then fertilises these eggs, which hatch a couple of months later. The males can only reproduce once and the females die not long after.
Cuttlefish are amazing creatures, possessing the ability to swim in different manners. When in danger, the cuttlefish suck water into their body cavity and expel it through a funnel like extension on the underside of the body, resulting in backward propulsion. This manoeuvre allows for escape from predators.
The other method of swimming involves gentle rippling by their side fins. This is the method of movement when there is no threat of danger. Cuttlefish also possess the ability to fill their cavities with small amounts of gas, allowing for altered buoyancy.
The Giant Australian Cuttlefish shoots a cloud of black ink when threatened or attacked. The ink is not poisonous and acts solely as a decoy device, confusing the predator; allowing for a hasty escape. An alternate defence mechanism the cuttlefish possesses is its ability to camouflage itself by altering its colour, texture and shape to imitate seaweed, sand beds and rocky outcrops. This 'chameleon' ability also assists the creature in capturing its own prey.
The staple diet of the Australian Giant Cuttlefish consists of crustaceans such as prawns and crabs and small fish such as reef fish and tommy roughs. The prey is caught by two powerful tentacles which shoot out from beneath the creatures eyes. The prey is then pulled toward the animal's strong beak and crushed.
The existing dive point at the west boundary fence of Santos now has a boardwalk established and car parking. The boardwalk is approximately 60m and allows divers to access the water with ease.
The existing facility at Black Point has car parking and access steps for easy entry to the water.
Hosts Tony and Marlene Bramley offer experience gained over 25 years of diving in the temperate waters of Southern Australia. Diving tours also available amongst the cuttlefish is shallow waters.