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Each year in November/December the annual mating season for Port Jackson sharks takes place in SA!
Port Noarlunga Reef is always a great spot to spot the beautiful (and super cute) Port Jackon Sharks (affectionately called “PJs”). The Port Jackson sharks have small flat teeth and unless you’re a crustacean, mollusc or sea urchin, their teeth are absolutely harmless as they’re small and flat – ideal for crushing small prey!
They can grow to over a 1.5m long and can be found at Port Noarlunga all year round, as they love the rocky reef with its many ledges and small caves (and the food that it provides of course).
You can spot them at any time of the year, but there is usually a lot more activity on and around the reef during and around their mating season in November and December!
Baby Port Jacksons can be spotted in the sea grasses (predominently in the shallows on the left hand side of the jetty in recent years) and adults can be seen moving around the reef and in the shallows. A ledge a few hundred metres to the north of the jetty has been a favourite in recent years as well as the shallows on the south side of Christies Beach!
For the last few years, the Port Jackson sharks have been found mating in the shallows of Port Noarlunga Reef and at Christies Beach, just around the corner from Port Noarlunga Reef! We believe the sharks moved into this new mating spot when the Port Stanvac Jetty was demolished a few years ago. The area around the jetty at Port Stanvac was off limits to divers and it is believed that the sharks previously mated in this area, but have moved location after the jetty was removed.
They move into this area to mate, and tuck their eggs between the rocks of the main reef and the shallower reefs and ledges! As the eggs take up to 12 months to hatch, the Australian Spring season is also a great time to see baby PJs on the reef. We usually find the babies hanging out in groups as well. The location of the babies changes each season, so if you’re keen to see them, check in beforehand for their current location (a favourite spot for them seems to be the sea grasses on the south side of the jetty).
The sharks are usually resting during the day, which offers a great opportunity to take some close up photographs of the sharks on the sandy bottoms around the jetty. The babies tend to hang in and around around the jetty and the shallow reef until they’re big enough to move to different locations.
As they hunt and feed at night, they’re usually much more active at night, so night diving is a must. Try to keep your lights away from their eyes, as the sharks have sensitive eyes and can easily be blinded by a dive torch.
Dive tours of Port Noarlunga are for certified divers only.
The shallow reefs at Christies Beach are easy to snorkel as they’re only a few metres deep and the visibility in this area is usually great at that time of the year. The waters are usually around 18-19 degrees, so a 5mm (or 7mm) wetsuit is recommended (although a 3mm wetsuit can be sufficient for shorter snorkels).
As it’s so shallow it’s a great family activity, that both kids and parents will enjoy!