Ryan had a good surf until sunset and then we embarked on a local feast at Finlays Barbeque. The owner was an interesting character that called people out over the microphone when they came to pick up their food.
We stopped in Monkey Mia for a night to see the dolphins that come in for daily feedings. We were told they only feed them a small amount of their daily intake to encourage them to find food naturally, and also so they will leave the shallows to feed their young. As everyday is different, we didn't know how many would come in. A regular patron named Puck cruised in along with her son Shamu and an older son, India that was nursing a fairly large shark bite!
Just as the food buckets were coming out, Nicky an unpredictable dolphin charged for the shore to take part. Only nine out of over 200 people would be selected to hand feed the dolphins. Ryan was one of these lucky ducks and slowing slid the slimy fish down to Nicky’s mouth. She ate it greedily and showed us her toothy grin.
From here we traveled further north to the edge of the Ningaloo Reef. Coral Bay is a cute little seaside town that has a couple of grocery stores, a great bakery, hair salon, dive shops, and a cool little resort bar and restaurant. We took to the place instantly and decided to book an extra night so we had plenty of time to take in the experience. We booked a ride of the eco friendly glass bottom boat that the Laugharne’s so generously gave us as a belated wedding present. It far succeeded our expectations! It was a great experience to be able to see the coral formations that lined the coast, the largest fringing reef in the world, and the deck hand explained what the different corals were called as well as the hundreds of tropical fish that skimmed by.
We anchored once we got to the outer reef and jumped in to extract every possible minute we could. It’s difficult to explain how it feels when you’re viewing an underwater world like this. Other divers and snorkel fanatics will know what I mean by this. It’s absolutely incredible! Ryan said, "everything you see is new and amazing and then you see something else that is even more amazing!" We tried our best to capture it on our camera and will try to always remember the beauty of it. After a couple hours at sea we came back to land life and made a beeline for the resort where a large crowd of people congregated. Happy hour! We decided to stay for dinner too and had a delicious braised lamb shank with roasted vegetables. Best day ever! Back at our campsite a group of French travelers had invaded our parking space, so we set up on the other side. We threw in Gavin and Stacey (a British sitcom that the Laugharne’s got us addicted to!) and then turned in for the night. The frenchies next to us chatted away loudly not caring about other campers and then, just as I was almost asleep they decided to put their tent up next to ours in our camp space. I was hoping they wouldn’t carry on talking so I could sleep, but I never guessed how wrong I was. They proceeded to show their “love” for each other and weren’t shy about letting everyone else know it too!
Next we drifted up to Exmouth to buy supplies and then headed to our secluded campsite in the Cape Range National Park. We stopped by Lakeside Beach to get in a quick snorkel before dark and we were more than rewarded! There was not as much coral but lots and lots of new tropical fish to see and we happened upon a very rare and endangered Hawksbill sea turtle! We were in our element swimming alongside the beautiful turtle. I always feel incredibly lucky to swim with them in their environment.
They are my favorite creatures in the ocean and I can’t help to feel a strange connection with them. We dragged ourselves out of the sea in time to put our tent up before dark and had a nice moonlit dinner and a glass of wine. The stars in Western Australia are incredible! We could easily see Orion, The Big Dipper (it’s upside down in the Southern hemisphere) and the Milky Way. At this point we were really beginning to settle into our life on the road and really starting to soak up everything around us. We spent the next day snorkeling and lazing around Turquoise Bay, the beautiful and pristine beach that really makes you feel like you’re in paradise, because you actually are!
That night the wind picked up and Ryan had to readjust the stakes at 3am to ensure we didn’t get swept away! It was an adventure for sure.
We were both tired and ready for showers, so we headed back south to Geraldton to stay with Jane and Jeannette. We passed time by listening to the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audio book, which was brilliant and we’re now on the lookout for the others to tide us over on our long trips! Jane and Jeannette toured us around and we took in the local history at the museum, had coffee at the lavender farm, wonderful dinners prepared by Jeannette, and watched some classic films.
We spent a couple more days in Perth enjoying hanging out with the Laugharne’s and planning our return visit. We have had the most amazing time here, and it definitely won’t be long before we’re back!
We spent the last several days in WA exploring the coral, tropical fish and turtles in the tropics of northwest Australia. Jane and Jon kindly lent us their new Santa Fe and off we went to explore. We spent our first night in Kalbarri, a small desert town most famous for Jake's Point surf break. It might be famous for something else, but this is why Ryan knows about it!