Ever been swimming in the ocean and thought, ‘what the hell is underneath me?’
To put your mind at ease, in South Australia you’re likely to be swimming over sand, shells, fish, seagrass, maybe some crabs and a ray. But the deeper and further you swim out, the more varied marine life will be around you.
The mystery of the endless ocean is enough to cast a shadow of doubt in the best of us. Whether it’s the fear of putting your face underwater, the unexpected seaweed that brushes past your legs, the unpredictability of rip currents and large waves, the surprise-factor of those little marine creatures nipping at your legs, or the fear of encountering the most daunting creature of them all – sharks.
It’s easy to think of the underwater world as the deep dark ocean rather than the fresh blue sea. So let’s try and put your mind at ease by debunking some of these worries now:
- Take it slow, wade in the shallows, and build your sea confidence. A wetsuit or buoyancy vest can help you float around the ocean. One day you’ll go underwater, if you want to.
- Seaweed can be slimy, stinky and a place for sea critters to hide. But it’s also a sign of a healthy ocean.
- Avoid rip currents and big waves by swimming between the Surf Life Saving flags. These areas are monitored by SA’s own Baywatch team.
- There may be little crabs, sea snails and other marine creatures that could nip at your feet. But it’s just a nip, so shake it off. Blue-ringed octopuses are not aggressive and like to hide, so seeing them is rare and usually accidental.
- Sharks. There are many species of sharks and only a few are dangerous to humans. While no-one wants to be attacked by a shark, the fear is far greater than the reality. There’s an average of only one shark attack a year in SA, and that’s usually not fatal. You’re more likely to be attacked by a cow. So be careful crossing a paddock.
Still need a little push to dip your toes in the water? Here’s five reasons why the ocean is great for you:
- Splashing, wading, and paddling in the ocean is fun, and breathing in the ocean air can help you sleep at night.
- Exposure to the ocean’s salty environment has been found to reduce symptoms of hay fever.
- The water helps you cool down and relax, and spending time in nature is good for your mind. Plus, the sand is a natural skin exfoliator.
- The ocean environment can inspire creativity. Take a look at some of our weird-looking marine creatures – they just might spark your imagination.
- About 85 per cent of the marine life in SA waters is found nowhere else in the world. Our state has the Great Southern Reef, so explore it.
Feeling more at ease? Venture out to a marine park and enjoy SA’s beautiful underwater world. It’s one of a kind.
(Main image courtesy of Carl Charter)