Darryl and Heather, your hosts, offer short, personalized cruises aboard the 12 metre ‘Sylvia C’, to view the wholly protected Australian fur seal (Artocephalus pusillus), from the wharf in Stanley, North Western Tasmania.
Leaving from the pontoon at the fisherman's dock, the 80 minute scenic cruise takes in spectacular views of the Stanley Nut, the unique township, the old pioneer cemetery and Godfrey’s Beach. Historic farmlands extend to the waterline below, where ocean-eroded caves scatter the shoreline.
The destination is Bull Rock, a non-breeding ground or haul-out, 600 metres offshore. Here, up to 500 seals bask in the sunshine or frolic playfully in the crystal-clear waters of Bass Strait. This is the most common seal in Tasmanian waters and breeds from October to January on rocky outcrops, extending from King Island, in the North West, to Tenth Island in the North Eastern corner.
Hunted almost to extinction last century, the population recovery of the largest and fourth-rarest seal species in the world, has been slow and the mammal is now wholly protected. Ironically the seal is now a great source of enjoyment for tourists visiting Stanley.