Visiting Montague Island was one of the most magical experiences of my life.
This place is heaven on earth for wildlife nuts: penguins, seals, turns, sharks, if you are lucky dolphins and at certain times of the year even whales.
Snorkelling with Seals
Our boat moored just off Montague Island near the seal colony and in I jumped with my snorkelling gear. There were a few seals hanging out in the water – literally – just floating around with one flipper sticking out of the sea (something to do with keeping themselves cool).
On swimming to the seals I spotted a shark looming right below me, gulp!!!
Luckily it was only a Port Jackson, which if the locals are to be believed are perfectly safe.
*All underwater photos kindly taken by Ianz.
I then spotted my first seal swimming alongside me and the magic began. He just stared at me with the most incredible big, blue eyes. As he glided through the water he left streams of air bubbles like someone waving a magical wand in a Walt Disney movie. However, poof, as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared.
Four mischievous seals decided to have some fun with us; by always swimming slightly in front of us, so Ian and I would follow.
Before we knew it they had led us miles away from the shore.
Were they playing a little game with us or trying to move these strange yellow flippered, long nosed, goggled eyed creatures from their home?
I am not sure whether the seals had got use to these strange snorkelling mammals or I had overcome my nervousness, since they are wild creatures with bloody sharp teeth, but when it was time to say goodbye 4 seals became very curious and were swimming only 1/2 metre from us. They would swim directly towards us and at the last minute dive below or shoot to the side of us.
Montague Island Penguin and Seal Evening Tour
Another highlight of Montague Island is to watch the small colony of fairy penguins waddle home after a busy day fishing to feed their young.
The poor little mites were pretty scared.
After an exhausting day at sea, they have to dodge 1000′s of gulls trying to steal their little one’s supper. For safety the penguins huddle offshore before braving the land and heading to their nests. They waddle a few steps foward before waddling back a few more to find a safe crevice away from the preying gulls. I was egging on one little penguin to leave the safety of his rock for over 15 minutes. I didn’t want to go until I knew he had reached his chicks, but our boat was leaving so I had to reluctantly tear myself away :o(
Being so close to a wild creature in its natural environment is the most amazing experience on this planet!!!
Info: I did 2 tours to Montague Island, situated 8km from Narooma, with Narooma Charters.
The snorkelling with seals tour was a bargain at $60, which included snorkelling gear. I brought my own wet suit, but you can hire one for an extra $10. I personally would use a wet suit because it was damn cold and towards the end my little pinkies were numb. Brrrrrrr!!!!
The Montague evening penguin and seal tour cost $120. At Phillip Island you get to see lots more penguins with a stadium full of people, however I personally preferred the more intimate experience of Montague Island with only a small group of ~20. I would take a jumper/jacket it can get chilly on the boat back to the mainland.