Mel — Inter­pre­tive Officer

How did you come to this job?

I stud­ied a degree in Tourism Busi­ness Man­age­ment in Ade­laide and start­ed a senior guide role at South­ern Ocean Lodge on Kan­ga­roo Island.

I would take short tours with Lodge guests to Seal Bay and I always strug­gled to tear myself away from the seals – I could watch them all day! I start­ed as a guide at Seal Bay that summer.

What do you most like about your work?

Work­ing with a great team of guides who are pas­sion­ate about ani­mals and con­ser­va­tion – we have a lot of fun. I also love work­ing in the salty air, being active and get­ting to meet inter­est­ing peo­ple from around the globe.

What’s the most amaz­ing thing you’ve seen at work?

It was dur­ing a big storm and the South­ern Ocean was going wild. I was hud­dled on the beach with a tour group. Sud­den­ly we saw a choco­late-brown pup wad­dle out of the dunes, fol­lowed by anoth­er, and then anoth­er. There were 9 pups all in a row slid­ing down the dunes and let­ting them­selves be tak­en out by the white wash – they were jump­ing out of the water and surf­ing – it was magic.

What fas­ci­nates you about the Aus­tralian sea lion?

I love observ­ing how the sea lions inter­act with each oth­er. Their behav­iour and ges­tures are very sub­tle, the slight­est head flick from a mas­sive bull can send anoth­er 350kg bull run­ning scared into the water. Their rela­tion­ships are a mys­tery to us, but there is def­i­nite­ly a hier­ar­chy on this beach and it’s fas­ci­nat­ing to watch.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your own time?

I love to walk my dog and swim at Pen­ning­ton Bay on the South Coast. It must be one of the most rugged­ly beau­ti­ful beach­es in the world, yet we’re usu­al­ly the only ones enjoy­ing it.