Sand, Coral and Calm Sea

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, August 21, 2008

We arrived at the south end of Ningaloo Reef, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, before lunch and settled into our site at Bayview Coral Bay Resort where it seemed warmer and more humid that it had been at Exmouth.

This was because the cloud had come in during the day with rain threatening but thankfully the weather cleared for the rest of our time there making it a lot more comfortable than the day we arrived.  The caravans and cabins were full of babies and toddlers as it is such a safe and delightful place.  The coral reef forms a natural lagoon and the water is crystal clear.  The beach has beautiful white soft sand with very shallow water and at Bayview there is a lovely warm swimming pool and paddling pool.  The caravan park is pleasant and also close to the beach and the few shops. The TV reception here was quite good so we were again able to see some more Olympic events.  The tap water comes from an artesian bore at a temperature just right for washing up. It was great to be able to fill a bowl from the tap next to our caravan to wash up without having to boil a kettle or add cold water.  Of course it was a bit saline so not so good for drinking.  While we were at Exmouth I got a bee in my bonnet to buy a ten litre container of Exmouth Nectar Spring Water which we used for drinking while at Coral Bay. This was not altogether necessary as there were special taps at the camp kitchen with fresh water from the local desalination plant for drinking and making coffee etc.

In the evening we went for a walk along the beach and saw the most amazing sunset and though we went at the same time each subsequent evening it never was quite as good as the first day. The magnificent reds and oranges reflecting off the clouds and the water was something special to see. On the first afternoon, after watching all the children playing in the shallow water, I was wading when I spotted something in the water close to me. It looked like a flat grey stone but with a long thin grey cord attached…suddenly it moved gracefully away and I realized I was standing near a small sting ray! Guess it couldn't be dangerous with all the small children around and from then on we noticed quite a few more.  That evening a large group of Dutch people were having a rowdy party and had their tent adorned with coloured lights. There was one lady with a particularly loud laugh, and a few other slightly intoxicated guests trying to sing "Tulips from Amsterdam" along with their CD player! Thankfully it was just a special occasion as everyone was quiet for the rest of our stay there,.

On Friday morning we went snorkeling in the pristine waters with the beautiful soft white sand a little further up the beach.  The water was warm and it was amazing to float on the water and see both small and big fish swimming quite happily just below us. They seem to know that they are in a National park and there’s no need to worry about being caught. In the afternoon I lay reading my book on a comfortable wood recliner in the shade by the pool with a lovely cool breeze to keep me comfortable.  There was no cloud at all until the evening when a few little ones came up.  We again enjoyed a lovely long walk along the beach and watched a young English teenager catch a huge squid.  I decided to walk on as Mike and another guy gave their advice on how to kill it before he happily walked off down the beach to present it to his parents to cook for dinner.  On the way he stopped to show some Spanish people what he had caught.  On our way home after watching the sunset we bought fish and chips, well Mike had fish and chips which he said were the best he had ever tasted and I had the fisherman’s basket with some delicious fish, calamari, prawn and scallops.

Saturday morning I went on a sub sea coral viewing boat – Mike said he had seen it all before when he did a diving course years ago.  The sea was lovely and calm and we went below sea level and sat on comfortable seats watching the coral and the fish drifting slowly past  behind the glass panels. The different types of coral and colours were fascinating as were all the fish swimming around.  At midday I went snorkeling again but it was not so pleasant this time as the tide was in. At 3.30pm I went back to the beach to watch the daily feeding of the huge snapper in the shallow waters with all the excited children watching.  Mike hadn’t felt so well since the snorkeling the day before, but by the evening he felt much better and we once again enjoyed another long walk on the beach.  For dinner we cooked the second 500gm pack of prawn meat that we had bought in Exmouth together with some delicious fried rice.  

The next morning Mike felt well but decided not to go snorkeling again. We went down the beach and he watched while I snorkeled.  I felt much more confident and swam over the coral and amongst all sorts of fish which I found so exciting.  That day the air was also warmer and I didn’t feel at all cold even after I came out of the water.  In the afternoon everyone had entertainment laid on by a big race horse Goanna which decided to walk under and between the vehicles and caravans.  No one went too close but we were able to get close enough for some good photos of the attractive lizard with interesting markings on his back.  In the afternoon we chatted to Lesley on the mobile and while we were making sure we were sitting in the shade, Perth was so cold that she was sitting inside with even the heater on!  A couple of hours later, we suddenly had a group of people around our car watching an even bigger goanna slowly moving across the road to a nearby caravan. Eventually it disappeared out the park looking for some peace and quiet!

On our last evening at Coral Bay we again enjoyed fish and chips before watching the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on the TV. Monday morning we packed and left Coral Bay at nearly 8.45am heading for Carnarvon just 237 kms away.  By 9.30am we passed the sign “Tropic of Capricorn” so after 44 days we were officially out of the tropics again! 

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