Wading through the knee-high shallows of Brighton Beach, you could be forgiven for not comparing Port Phillip Bay to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
In the past two years, however, marine expert and confessed “water baby” Sheree Marris has uncovered an equally astonishing world of wonder right on Victoria’s doorstep.
Since a coastal ecology excursion in high school, Marris has endeavoured to prove science and conservation to be as simple and entertaining as a leisurely trip to the beach.
In her recent book, Melbourne Down Under, Marris bridges the disconnection between science and common understanding by uncovering underwater forests, colourful reefs and an abundance of marine-dwelling species, unknown to everyday Victorians.
“I hope my book helps to ignite conversation about our local, beautiful and natural marine life … It is hard for people to truly understand and appreciate something they cannot see,” Marris says.
Beyond Port Phillip Bay’s coastline of more than 260 kilometres lies an incredibly diverse and unique habitat, according to the scuba enthusiast.
Her 200-page book combines the efforts of Australia’s best marine photographers and cinematographers and is the first step in a four-stage effort to enhance appreciation for Melbourne’s underwater paradise.
Exquisite photographs are accompanied by fascinating facts for each of the bay’s hypnotic creatures, from neon jellyfish to delicate seahorses.
“We could only feature a small fraction of the sea life that sits right under our noses. There is still so much we can discover with just a mask and a snorkel."
» Melbourne Down Under: The Jewels of Port Phillip Bay, by Sheree Marris