Big fish in the tropics

Coral Bay Travel Blog

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The beach at Coral Bay

Head up high way one I get out of the terrible cold weather of southern Oz - ok the winter temperature down here is still higher than the summer temperature at home when I left - and cross the Tropic of Capricorn to go into the nice climate part of Oz. The tropics. Now I can enjoy nice weather and warm waters.

I have finally arrived at a place I never been before - first time on this trip. So I want to explore a bit. Well actually the city of Coral Bay is so small it hardly merits to be called a city. So spending time on land isn’t really an option. But fortunately I am at the southern end of the Ningaloo Reef system. This just happens to be the biggest reef in the world - facing west.

I heard about water shortage in Australia - but come on this is getting a bit silly.
Most people know the biggest reef system in the world is placed on the east coast of Australia and called the Great Barrier Reef. But here on the other coast is actually also a substantial coral reef system.

And down here at Coral Bay it is the season to go snorkeling with manta rays. I have only seen one manta ray ever before on my different snorkeling and diving trips - hence I am quite excited about the possibility to go out for a day snorkeling with mantas. So I sign up for it.

I get down to the dive shop in the morning and pays - but the boat isn’t leaving for a while. So I might as well go for a cup of coffee. But my plan of having a nice cup of coffee this morning is spoiled by a sign declaring - due to the lack of water no coffee is available today! Take away food only! - come on.

Dugong
I know Australia is hard hit by droughts but this is just ridiculous. I guess I will have no coffee before going snorkeling.

The boat is getting ready to leave and we will all go out searching for mantas. There should be a pretty good chance of finding some because there will be a spotter plane up in the air searching for the fish around the reef. But before going out for the mantas we will warm up with a little snorkeling trip on another part of the reef - I guess part of the reason for this snorkeling trip is the crew onboard the boat want to make sure all the passengers can actually swim before they want to let us loose on the outside of the outer reef.

One great thing about going snorkeling on the Ningaloo Reef compared to the Great Barrier Reef is the proximity of the reef.

Manta
On the east coast you’ll end up spending ours sailing out to the outer reef - here on the west coast it only takes a few minutes to get to the outer reef.

After the warm up snorkeling we head for the mantas. We find a couple of mantas. The reason the mantas go here at the reef this time of year is due to the coral spawning. A couple of months ago all the corals spawn their eggs - and some of them is still in the water supplying lots of food for the big filter feeding fish - like the manta rays. The flip side of all the food for the fish is the water is not quite as clear as I would like. Hence visibility is sort of poor.

Hence when we see the mantas we can’t really see them when they are more than a few meters away. But fortunately the mantas are feeding in a steady pattern doing loops all the time filtering the water in a systematic way.

Manta
When they are feeding this way they don’t move nearly as fast as they will do at other times. Hence it is pretty easy to keep up with the big fish. After swimming with the mantas for a while it is time to go back towards other parts of the reef.

Before we go to the last snorkeling spot we are so lucky to actually pass by a dugong swimming around in the water. Getting back in the water for the last time was quite nice and the scenery was nice and actually better than the first spot of the day but after having spent time with mantas previously on the day it could not help feel like a bit of an anticlimax.

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The beach at Coral Bay
The beach at Coral Bay
I heard about water shortage in Au…
I heard about water shortage in A…
Dugong
Dugong
Manta
Manta
Manta
Manta
Ningaloo Reef
Ningaloo Reef
Dugong
Dugong
Dugong
Dugong
Dugong
Dugong
The beach at Coral Bay
The beach at Coral Bay
Birdie
Birdie
Manta
Manta
Manta
Manta
Coral Bay
photo by: tj1777