Summerholidays in Melbourne – Nairm (Port Phillip Bay in Bunerong/Boon Wurrung language) beckons!
Yesterday thanks to Chrissy at Leap into Nature and her Nature-trackers holiday program, my daughter Georgia and I started a wonderful day exploring nature at Ricketts Point – a marine sanctuary just beyond Black Rock. Under Chrissy’s guidance we thanked the traditional land owners the Kulin nation and particularly Boon Wurrung people and ancestors (on whose land we stood) for letting us explore their land, promising not to intentionally hurt any plant creature or person whilst we were visiting. Did you know that 10,000 years ago Nairm had not yet been created ? According to the Boon Wurrung elders, the land was flooded by Bunjil the creator, as punishment for breaking the laws of the land (hunting eel and emu at the wrong time when these animals were spawning or caring for their young and for not caring for country). The grasslands which were the Boon Wurrung major emu and kangaroo hunting grounds were swallowed up by the sea forever (Aunty Carolyn Briggs – ‘The filling of the bay – the time of chaos’, p. 37, in Nyernila – to listen continuously, Arts Victoria:2014)
As the tide rolled away from the exposed rocks, we discovered shrimp, sponges, globe fish carcasses, a cartilage pelvis bone, green brown and even white anemones, learnt how to tell the difference between carnivorous and herbivorous molluscs, and so much more!
Georgia and I then put on our new snorkels and flippers and swam around the shallow sea grass beds finding brave blennies, burrowing clams, hermit crabs and even a large mucous – covered spotted cowrie in the clear warm water.
As the day brightened, we picnicked on the edge of the protected indigenous shoreline, watching terns and gulls fight over fish morsels and listening to birds in the banks is behind us, watching a native wasp in the grass.
Waves shimmered in the sunlight, the waters kept receding exposing more rocks and sea grass beds. We carefully explored these landscapes, making sure to return rocks we flipped back to their original positions as we learnt habitat protection is crucial. In our morning’s Nature-trackers education we learnt limpets know how to return to the exact same place on their rock (rock scar) every return of the tide. How do they do it with no GPS is it mapping the sun or hormones?
We even found a tiny bright green wriggly thing with eyes – perhaps a baby sea snake? Just in case, no touching as they are very venomous.
Finally I enticed my mermaid out of her shallow warm “bath” and we returned home for dinner and to tell Dad all about our adventures.
A great day exploring the wonders of nature in Melbourne! Thankyou to the Boon Wurrung people, ancestors and spirits of the land for letting us explore your country, and keeping us safe. We learnt so much!