If you love the water, you'll love the Port Stephens region! The water here is a beautiful shade of blue with marine life to be seen above and below. Imagine Cruise's Broughton Island Swim and Offshore Dolphin Watch cruise gives you the best of both worlds!
Arriving at the terminal in Nelson Bay and boarding our vessel "Envision" we made our way out to the open water passing islands along the way. One particular area of land, Cabbage Tree Island named after the cabbage trees that can be found on the island, are the only known nesting grounds of Gould's petrel, a type of small water bird that was almost at the brink of extinction. Another thing that makes this island so special is that it's the only island with a rainforest ecosystem in Southern Australia!
A little while later we anchored the vessel at a beautiful sheltered bay of Broughton Island. There are many coastal features of this island really worth having a good look at including sea caves, rugged landscape and private little beaches, if you're lucky you may even spot a white breasted sea eagle flying above! Gearing up with our fins and snorkel, the water was glistening with the sun's rays and was such a beautiful blue colour, I couldn't wait to hop in, dipping my feet in the water the temperature was so pleasant!
Diving under the water there was quite a bit of algae (tiny bits of yellow specks floating around the water) which unfortunately made visibility conditions not as great as what they could be, but we still saw plenty of fish of all sizes, sea snails and plant life, and if you're lucky enough, you may even catch a glimpse of an eel, sting ray or turtle! It's important to keep in mind that you aren't going to see colourful and vibrant coral like you find in tropical parts of Australia like North Queensland but it is interesting to see what is on offer here.
After about an hour of snorkelling, we hopped back on the vessel and made our way back to Nelson Bay. Along the way though we were super excited to see a pod of common dolphins swimming in the distance and from the looks of it there must have been over a hundred of them! What's so great about these dolphins is that they love to ride the bow and stern waves created by boats as it moves along the water which for us meant we got to have an incredibly close encounter with these playful animals. They were coming in from all directions and were really putting on quite a show with their jumping, splashing and darting off at all angles!
We spent a good while with these beautiful wild dolphins but all good things come to an end and we had to make our way back as there was another group of people waiting to board soon for their tour. We made a quick stop by Cabbage Tree Island again where we saw a couple of seals sun baking on the rocks, just like the Gould's petrel, this island is also known for attracting a seal colony. Can you spot the two seals in the middle photo below?