Seadragon amongst sea lettuce by Heidi Dungey
Tinderbox Marine Nature Reserve was declared to provide a safe, sheltered marine study area for education, research and recreation. A beach and the foreshore are included within the reserve.
Tinderbox reserve is a great place to go for a snorkel or scuba dive. To the south, the rock platform drops 2 or 3 metres to sand. It is an ideal place for snorkellers to explore the ledges and crevices in the reef. To the north, the reef is wider and extends into deeper water. Progressing towards the Derwent Estuary, the reef becomes increasingly exposed to weather and the reef structure becomes more complex and drops more quickly into deeper water. Leatherjackets and wrasse are common on the reef, and if you look amongst the kelp you may be lucky enough to see a big-bellied seahorse or an octopus.
View of Tinderbox Marine Reserve
Another place to dive is to head directly out from the beach. The bottom drops gradually to 12 metres, then more quickly to well over 25 metres. A dive here on the open soft bottom in greenish water is an unusual experience for many, and provides an opportunity to see spiny pipehorses or Tasmanian numbfish. Look out for feeding tentacles of numerous Holothurians (sea cucumbers) that live buried in the sediment. A night dive along the edge of the reef is a good place to see volutes and gurnards.
The reserve is jointly managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service (03 6121 7026) and Marine Resources.