The student Ambassadors from various City of Casey primary schools recently pushed through the drizzle to come together for their annual boat trip to visit Seal Rocks, situated 2km off the Phillip Island coast. Meeting at Stony Point pier in the morning, we boarded Wildlife Coast Cruises, providing us with seating and shelter along the journey to the site. Upon arrival, thousands of Australian Fur Seals came into view playing and lounging on the windswept platforms, including large males, females and an abundance of pups. Well directed winds also gave lucky students a good example of what the seals smell like.
Seal Rocks is home to over 16, 000 fur seals, making it Australia's largest colony residing here in Victoria. These seals breed between October and December, so students were given the chance to see a number of pups, some of which would have only been bred this season.
Despite a small amount of swell on the journey out - which students thoroughly enjoyed anyway (minus one or two), the trip gave Ambassadors a chance to see first hand why it is important to care for our coastlines, waterways and marine wildlife. During the 1800's Australian Fur Seals were largely over-harvested, taking a long time for populations numbers to recover. Even now, with the populations thriving and the seals being monitored, seals are still found entangled in fishing line, trawl net and debris that has made its way out of drains and into the ocean. Everything the students are taught in these programs helps them to become wildlife warriors with the experience and knowledge to help educate others and protect our precious and extraordinary environment.
Thank you to teachers, helpers, the Wildlife Coast Cruises crew and our Ambassadors for making the journey to Seal Rocks a day to remember.