Marine High students discover infinite possiblities in the octopus's garden

Mia Irving gets ready to feed Gilly the octopus at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre.
Mia Irving gets ready to feed Gilly the octopus at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre.

Three students from Marine High dived into working life at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre this week as part of their year 10 work experience program.

Annie Gilbert, Mia Irving and Ty Brandon Sheilds took a break from cleaning tanks and labelling specimens to share their first impressions of life working at the aquarium.

Feeding and caring for the 'at times' demanding octopus Jilly, kept all of the workers on their toes. Including Annie, who discovered that octopuses can become "cranky".

"I was feeding her prawns, when she suddenly squirted me in the face - I didn't expect her to become defensive. But you never know what can happen," Annie said.

However, the soaking didn't deter Annie, who said feeding the octopus had been one of her favourite jobs whilst at the centre.

Cleaning the tanks and creating an "aquascape" was a job all three students said they enjoyed and felt proud of.

"One of the tanks had become worm infested, naturally this made for an unhealthy environment for the sea creatures. So we took the opportunity to clean it out and create a new aquascape from scratch," Mia said.

Like his workmates, Ty said he chose to do work experience at the discovery centre because he has a keen interest in sea life.

"I thought working here I'd have the chance to learn more about fish. But I've also learned a lot about filters," he laughed.

A major job for Ty was to clean one of the 800 litre tank filters.

"It's a little bit bigger than the one at home," he added.

Ty Brandon Sheilds takes a closer look at specimans before cataloging them for the centre's MicroEye display.

Ty Brandon Sheilds takes a closer look at specimans before cataloging them for the centre's MicroEye display.

Working with the water police, investigating climate change, and species distribution are possible roles Annie could see herself in.

"I'm interested in looking after the environment and being involved with the future of marine life is something I could see myself doing," she said.

Annie Gilbert cleans the glass of one of the fish tanks.

Annie Gilbert cleans the glass of one of the fish tanks.

Mia saw herself working with animals in general.

"I just love animals of any kind," she said. "Just spending time here has shown me many different pathways. You never know I could end up in sealife rescue."

"Or swimming with humpbacks," added Annie

"Or manta rays" said Ty.

Who knows? The possiblities are endless.

Ty, Mia and Annie investigate pesky worms under the MicroEye.

Ty, Mia and Annie investigate pesky worms under the MicroEye.