Woody Island Snorkel Trail
Take the plunge into the crystal clear water of Shearwater Bay either from the swimming platform or via the beach and follow the Snorkel Trail that guides you on a journey of discovery about the ocean’s inhabitants and their environments.
Witness firsthand the beauty of the underwater world by snorkeling in Shearwater Bay.
Snorkeling Gear for Hire
$10 / gear at the Woody Island Visitor Centre
The Woody Island “Snorkel Trail” was a joint initiative between Esperance Coastcare Group, Esperance Senior High – CALM Bushrangers, Fisheries WA and Mackenzie’s Island Cruises. Funding was obtained from Coastwest / Coastcare in 1999 and the project was completed in 2000. Below is a description of what can be viewed at each of the six plinths:
- Enter the water either from the landing jetty or from the shore adjacent to the jetty. Swim around the pylons, which are encrusted with a colorful variety of seaweeds, gorgonian fan corals, soft corals, sea squirts and barnacles. Schools of bullseyes can often be seen sheltering beneath the jetty.
- Swim across to the pontoon. A variety of fish can be seen amongst the kelp-covered boulders, including horseshoe leatherjackets, zebra fish and magpie perch. Slightly further out from the shore is an extensive seagrass (Posidonia) meadow.
- Several isolated patches of cabbage coral (Turbinaria species) are visible as you swim across the granite boulders, including a large colony on the side of a huge rock that rises to within a few metres of the surface. Just north of this rock, in about five metres of water, is the wreck of a small workboat lying upright on the bottom. The cabin area is home to a number of dusky morwongs, moonlighters and schools of bullseyes.
- Another wreck, this time of a small wooden fishing boat, can be found at the foot of a steep granite wall at a depth of 8 to 12 metres. This wreck is relatively intact, and offers a number of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. There is a large overhang in the rock wall, located on the surface above the wreck, making it fairly easy to find.
- The adjoining rock wall is covered with a myriad of seaweeds, sponges, sea squirts and soft corals, and it descends to a sand-covered sea bed at about 10 metres. The pylons of the old jetty are an interesting feature, but be wary of old fishing line as it is a popular fishing spot.
- Swim back towards the entry point, following the shoreline across large granite boulders and ledges. Check under these ledges and in crevices, where you may find some fish, particularly horseshoe leatherjackets and a number of delicate gorgonian fan corals.
(Information taken from Jeremy Colman’s piece in “More Dive & Snorkel sites in WA”, CALM, 1998.)