Merimbula Whale Watching Cruises Beached by Shallow Sandbar | Bega District News

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Simon Millar of Sapphire Coastal Adventures has seen shallow Merimbula Marina before, but never as shallow as it was at the start of this year’s whale watching season. He said the sand had moved in and around the entrance to the channel after an east coast low pressure dumped a large deposit of sand on the area in late 2020. he said of the boat Bubbles, a 24m power catamaran.Ideally, he would like to see the channel dredged, but was not convinced that would ever happen.An alternative would be to build an entrance to protected marina with a rock face similar to Bermagui Marina.Although the Millars considered Eden Marina as an alternative to Merimbula, there was already another operator there and it lacked the necessary facilities, including their own pontoon for charting passengers safely. They ran tours from Eden, but the majority were from Bermagui. Tours were run twice a day during the whale season which runs from August to mid-November. READ ALSO : “Bermagui has worked out, we still have a lot of our Merimbula locals coming in so that was great,” he said. Bringing a boat out of Merimbula is not out of the question though. Mr Millar said they had a smaller 16m boat that could hold 50 people, which could operate during “high tide”, times that change daily. “We’ve just finished the slips now, it’s a shallow draft boat, it’s just trying to figure out how we’re going to coordinate between running here and there because there’s a bit of distance between the two.” He said one of the hurdles was manpower as he no longer had the staff due to COVID, but was working on logistics in the meantime. “We’re going to start again at Merimbula at some point this season, it’s just a matter of how we’re going to do it.” Although he was unable to fix an exact time, Mr Millar was confident that they would be able to organize tours of Merimbula in the coming weeks. Another exciting development for the ecotourism sector would be the inclusion of seal swim tours to Montague Island, known to the Yuin people as Barunguba, in the summer. Sapphire Coastal Adventures plans to provide wetsuits and snorkels for its passengers and run daily tours not on, but around the island by boat. “It will be fine through the summer, the water is already at a good temperature for swimming now, but it will get better,” Mr Millar said.

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