Yesterday we had our first taste of Ningaloo Reef. I had been itching to get out there because well…. it really is why you come to Exmouth. For someone like me, being in water with a snorkel on, is the closest I get to complete relaxation. It just feels like home (I am 90% sure I was a dolphin in a past life).
So, after a slow (and if I am honest, frustrating) morning of getting lunches ready, washing done and shopping duties squared away, we were all a little tense on the 45min journey.
Once we reached our first snorkelling spot there was a scramble of equipment as we adjusted masks, squeezed into flippers and found a suitable spot to enter the water. Then we put our heads under….
Suddenly, we were in a scene from Finding Nemo.
There were clam shells, corals of all shapes, sizes and colours, fish, fish and more fish. There were big ones, little ones, blue ones, rainbow ones, yellow ones, red ones, black ones, stripy ones, long ones and tiny rock dwelling fish. My favourite, was this dark grey fish that looked like someone had traced around it’s edge with a blue highlighter pen. He stood out as if he was glowing.
Even a stubbed and bloody toe couldn’t stop our youngest from exploring all the place had to offer. In the end with little meat on her, it was the cold that drove her out. After this, we hopped back in the car and headed to the next bay.
At Turquoise Bay you enter the water on one side and let the current drift you across the reef, exiting on the other side. The kids decided not to get in first up, preferring to warm up a little on land. This meant mum and dad were able to dive down and explore things from a little closer range.
When we exited on the other side our son was waiting, excited to hear about what we had seen. I actually considered not telling him, because boy did they miss a treat!
I was trying to point out a vivid blue coral to my husband when he excitedly told me look in the opposite direction…… and there, almost hidden amongst the coral was a Green turtle!! A mini version of ‘Crush’ from Finding Nemo and in his words, he was ‘totally awesome dude’.
For about 5 mins we followed him as he swam against the strong current. Gliding along, in what looked like an effortless fashion while we had to kick hard against the current’s pull. Then, as the effort took its toll, he nestled between two rocks to rest. I loved watching the way he wiggled in, wedging himself into a spot where we couldn’t be swept away. I took the opportunity to dive down beside him and he merely rolled his eye around to look at me, unconcerned by my presence. Then we let the current take us and the encounter was over.
I had no underwater camera to capture the moment but I think just being able to soak it up was more than enough. It will be forever etched in my mind.
Of course the others on the beach were super jealous. My son and I went in again and did another lap over the reef. There was no sign of ‘Crush’ but we were not short on things to look at.
An amazing day. We are all looking forward to getting out there again soon.