Snorkelling around the islands and observing animals within the seagrass meadows is an enjoyable pastime. The seagrass meadows and fine muds around the islands are home to a myriad of worms, molluscs and crustaceans that are prey for birds and fish.
The Mud Islands reserve is located within Port Phillip, about 90 km (56 mi) south-west of Melbourne, Australia, lying 10 km (6.21 mi) inside Port Phillip Heads, 7 km (4.35 mi) north of Portsea and 9 km (5.59 mi) east of Queenscliff. The land area of about 50 hectares (120 acres) is made up of three low-lying islands surrounding a shallow tidal 35 hectare (86 acre) lagoon connected to the sea by three narrow channels.
First sighted by Europeans in 1802, the islands were originally named Swan Isles, because of the large number of swans on the surrounding waters. They were also known as Signet Islands and Flat Islands. It was not until 1836 that Lieutenants T M Symonds and H R Henry of HMS Rattlesnake surveyed the islands and renamed them Mud Islands. They were proclaimed a sanctuary for all native game in 1931 after a long history of guano mining.
The seagrass provides a nursery and breeding area for a range of marine species including King George Whiting, Oysters, Muscles and Scallops. In the shallow seagrass beds the Wide-body Pipefish, Spotted Pipefish, Half-banded Pipefish and Port Phillip Pipefish are found. The Australian Giant Cuttlefish has been found in the deeper seagrass beds along with Red Mullet, Little Gurnard Perch and Yank Flathead.
Many shark species use the Mud Islands area for basking, and Bronze Whaler Sharks use the warm waters around the islands to give birth to their young.
While you have the day to explore the island your interests may lie in soaking up some sunshine on the beach or in the shallows, viewing the skyline of Melbourne and the Portsea, Sorrento cliffs while watching the ships navigate the channels.
To hop from island to island you may need to wade through water up to knee-deep, so dress suitably and wear shoes such as wetsuit boots or sandals that can get wet. Bring a day pack with a drink bottle, lunch, hat, sunscreen and a weatherproof jacket and remember your camera and binoculars.
Dive Type: Other
Imported from The Scuba Doctor