We didn’t have much time to explore Coral Bay as we were only staying one night and had a drive the next day. I would have liked to take a snorkelling trip, but there were no tours running as it was close to the end of the season here and a Sunday. I am beginning to appreciate just how quiet Sundays can be in WA. Many shops and tourist facilities close up – just like England 20 years ago. It can be difficult to find places to eat on a Sunday too.
Although we were staying right on the beach, I didn’t fancy trying my hand at snorkelling here for the very first time as there was no-one around to show me the ropes and we weren’t sure where it was best to go. A friendly Aussie we met near the =beach advised it was better to go on a boat trip anyway – “it’s very deep out there and there are big things in the water”. I didn’t need any more to put me off. I think a glass bottomed boat trip would be the best option here.
Flora and Fauna:
Whale sharks – Ningaloo is one of the few places in the world where the largest fish in the world arrive each year between March and July. They are 3m to 12m long and have up to 3,000 tiny teeth in a mouth one metre wide, but they are harmless to humans. Upload your amazing whale shark pics to Wildbook for Whale Sharks which will identify and track your whale shark.
Photo I wished I had taken(?)
A whale shark. I had to make do with the one on the road train in the servo.
It isn’t really that far to our next stop (the tented wilderness eco retreat of Sal Salis) as the crow flies – but there are so few roads on the North West Cape that you have to drive all the way around it, via Exmouth, to reach Sal Salis. Exmouth only really got started out as a town in 1962 when it was a naval site and submarine base for Australia and the US during the Cold War. It has a massive 320 days sunshine a year, hot, dry summers, mild winters and no wet season. Not surprising then that its main business now is tourism (apart from the prawn farming they do here). It isn’t just the climate that draw visitors here – it is a perfect place to explore the fringing coral reef which you can reach right from the beach without any need for a boat.
On the way to Sal Salis, we pulled into Trealla Beach – a truly beautiful beach with crystal clear water, purple sea urchins and some very pretty flowers. There are sharks in these waters, but they are harmless (so we were told?!). Signs on the road to Sal Salis warned of dingos and gave advice on how best to deal with them if you encounter them (see photos) – ah well – another danger to put to the back of our minds. The marvellous Tourist Information Office in Exmouth had details of how to deal with cyclones too as the cyclone season is just about to start here. All these dangers, but everyone seems to survive OK and be extremely good humoured too. If you can’t solve a problem straight away, they usually seem to make a joke out of it here – not at all a bad recipe for approaching life, I think.