Whyalla Australian Giant Cuttlefish Snorkelling Guide

Whyalla Australian Giant Cuttlefish Snorkelling Guide

July 2023

Every winter, thousands of giant Australian cuttlefish migrate and congregate at a small stony shore near Whyalla to mate. One can weigh up to 10kg and are larger than their SEA cousins. There is a wonderful changing display of colors on the cuttlefish as they communicate with one another. They flock to Stony Point where there is seagrasses and substrate for them to mate and deposit their eggs. It is a truly unique sight as there is nowhere else you can witness so many large brightly coloured cuttlefish in accessible shallow waters.

Here is a guide on how to see them (by snorkelling).

How to get to Stony Point

Stony point map whyalla diving services

^  Map given by Whyalla Diving Services( great shop). Go to Stony Point, which is listed on google maps

While driving along Port Bonython Rd, turn right into a short gravel road.

Gravel road to Stony point

^ Gravel Road to Stony point

Tips to snorkel with Whyalla Cuttlefish:

  • The water is cold (11-16 degrees), but a well-fitted 5mm or 7mm wetsuit should help make the cold bearable. Get the full snorkel set which includes a hood.
  • It helps to bring anti-fog for your snorkel mask, but not necessary
  • Only come in May-August (winter). Check Whyalla Diving Services Facebook page to check if the cuttlefish have arrived or left.
  • Check out Whyalla diving services to rent snorkel or diving equipment. (or even tours). Unfortunately I experienced some defective snorkel (valve) issues which I discovered and suspected at the shop but did not exchange for a better one, so do check the equipment before you leave. Otherwise, their service is friendly and excellent and they are very knowledgeable.
  • For the BEST experience, learn about the mating behaviours and signals about cuttlefish BEFORE GOING DOWN so you can look out for those interesting sights and actually understand what you are seeing when you are there. I reccommend this video by Roger Hanlon.
  • There is little current, making it easier to snorkel. Also, swim towards the buoy, which is where the cuttlefish are around. Keep right as the left side has boats.
  • Bring a GoPro to take videos. The GoPro is waterproof but I always use a waterproof suit just for extra protection from leaks. Set it in linear mode(not wide) and it helps to put the GoPro on a selfie stick to take videos closer as the visibility is not the best there. Also, do fasten ur GoPro with a wrist band or coil as I've seen too many people losing their GoPros underwater.
  • Do not touch marine life. Also fishing is prohibited here.
  • You can just stay nearer to the shore, no need to go beyond 3m depth as visibility will be reduced. You might see cuttlefish already at 1m depth.
  • The thick wetsuit is very buoyant. If you would like the duck dive, rent a weight belt.
  • If possible, go in the late afternoon of a warm and sunny day for a more bearable swim.

I made a terrible video from my 45minute snorkelling adventure

Good resources on these Australian Giant Cuttlefish:

Youtube video by BBC who made a cuttlefish robot with a flexible screen display to catfish and film them

Excellent article by ScubaDiver Magazine on these cuttlefish

Diving VS snorkelling to see whyalla cuttlefish?

I would reccommend diving over snorkelling because you can get much closer and better buoyancy by diving. But if you don't want to pay more for diving equipment or can't dive, snorkelling or free diving is fine as many of the cuttlefish can be found at around 1m-3m depth, and can be seen clearly as visibility is decent most of the time.

What if I don't want to snorkel because it's cold?

Yes, there were some people using kayaks with glass bottoms and also boats with glass bottoms. But snorkelling and diving will give you a better view and experience.

Other cuttlefish facts:

They have blue blood, 3 hearts, w-shaped pupils.
BBC made a cuttlefish robot with a flexible screen display to catfish and film them.

Conservation efforts to protect these cuttlefish:

Fishermen almost wiped out the cuttlefish
Hopefully the state government would do more to protect these creatures here. When I was at Whyalla, there were many banners of the cuttlefish around the streets and also the library.