Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay

Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay - 15th to 19th May 2009

Coral Bay
Coral Bay Ningaloo Reef Western Australia
From Coral Bay

After a night in a free rest area we arrived in Coral Bay, a resort town next to the beach right on Ningaloo Reef. Luckily we managed to get a spot in one of the caravan parks. The place was packed and so busy. We were told that we were lucky to get a spot for 3 nights.
From here we set about exploring the wonderful beaches and spent the rest of the first day on the beach across from the caravan park snorkelling. The beach is gorgeous, such clear shallow water for ages before dropping off a bit deeper where the reef starts.
Coral Bay is set amongst the Ningaloo reef and the real attraction is that you can snorkel straight off the beach. We were a bit nervous to start with, as the first things we saw were these huge Spangled Emperor fish swimming along the edge of the shallow water - it was soon apparent that these were friendly locals. As we swam out a bit further, there were lots of fish amongst the coral. The coral was at quite a depth so it wasn’t that clear, but good to get back into the water.

Five Finger Reef, Coral Bay
Five Finger Reef Ningaloo Reef Western Australia
From Coral Bay

The next morning we set off to Five Finger Reef, accessible by 4wd. Ningaloo Reef is an amazing sight with all the different blue/turquoise colours, the water is so clear. After having some fun driving in soft sand, we found ourselves a spot on the beach and went snorkelling. The coral was not so deep this time and we got to see lots of different fish. Their colours are amazing, bright blue, yellow, pink, purple, green, stripy, spotty…… well you get the picture, lots of colourful fish! It was great being able to park the car on the beach and just head off into the water, there was hardly anybody around and we had a wonderful afternoon. On the way back to camp we stopped to feed the Spangled Emperor on the beach. They were crazy and would just swim madly around your legs (you had to hide your toes in the sand in case they got mistaken for food!)

4x4 ONLY!
4x4 Ningaloo Reef Western Australia
From Coral Bay

The next morning was Heidi’s birthday, so we set about having another lazy day, snorkelling. We had been told about a place called Oyster Bridge and how good the snorkelling was there, so we headed out to find it. We were told to follow the signs through the sand dunes. Well we tried our best, but we didn’t see any signs and then we got bogged in very soft sand!! Typical! It took a while to get the car out as we were stuck in a dip that we just didn’t have the speed to get out of. We set about digging ourselves out, from there we decided not to go any further and turned the car around. We got OJ back up the hill after a bit more digging, a bit of pushing, a bit more digging and some sweating!
We did manage to find another place that was recommended, however the sea was full of seaweed so we decided not to venture in and headed back to the campsite and to the beach across the road. Next stop Exmouth and the Whale Sharks!

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