A dugong has called Merimbula Lake home for the past week leaving locals and tourists amazed.
Beth Richards spotted the creature on Wednesday, November 18, when she was with her family trying to catch a glimpse of Merimbula’s resident seal.
“At first we thought it was the seal swimming around but then it put it’s head up and it was obvious it was something else,” Ms Richards said.
“I had never seen a dugong in the wild before and couldn’t really believe it was right there, so close.”
Since then the dugong has been spotted numerous times eating sea-grass near the Merimbula Causeway.
Merimbula Aquarium manager Anthony Daly said it was the first he has heard of a dugong being sighted in Merimbula in around 25 years.
“We have heard rumours of dugongs in Tathra but in my 15 years of being here I have never heard of one in Merimbula Lake,” Mr Daly said. “They are tropical and subtropical animals so it is unusual for it to be this far south.”
Mr Daly said some people first thought it was a baby whale because it was so large.
“It was bigger than a dolphin but definitely not as big as a baby whale. I thought I saw something like this a week or so ago but was unsure so I kept it quiet, hopefully it hangs around for a while so a few people get the chance to see it,” Mr Daly said.
Ms Richards has been back to the bridge hoping the dugong will make another appearance but has been left disappointed.
“I just feel incredibly lucky that I was there and got to see it. People were calling it a very ugly mermaid but they are beautiful creatures.”