Water can be warm
25.06.2012 - 25.06.2012
Those who went whale shark watching left earlier but we got to lie in until 6, pack, have breaky (pancakes) at 7, and then went off to tour the nearby bays.
We started with Vlaming Head Lighthouse near Cape Range National Park. From that lookout we could also see Australia's 2nd, 3rd and 6th tallest structures (as of 22/4/2015 they all became one ranking taller when the Omega Naviational mast at Woodside in Victoria was demolsihed) at the Harold Holt Naval Communications Facility as well as an old radar mast, the lighthouse itself and an automatic ship identification system.
Then on to the CRNP itself and the Ningaloo Marine Reserve, first stop the visitors centre. It had lots of info about Whale Sharks and the other marine and land life that might be seen in the NP. It also had a souvenir shop where we picked up some items for the grandkids.
Next stop, Turquoise Bay where we got more than an intellectual understanding of what a fringe reef was. There were points where the reef was little more than 10m away from the beach, admittedly thin and bleached but still part of the reef. I tried snorkeling but found it particularly difficult to get an effective goggle seal. That's one of the drawbacks of allowing my mustache and beard to grow for the last 10 and a bit weeks.
Eventually I got the mask to seal intermittently and got further out to the denser parts of the reef but, without glasses, I couldn't see much - the blurry outline of a turtle, vague dark wavy shapes of sea grass, quick moving blurs that were probably schools of small fish. Karen did better snorkeling but stayed closer to shore so didn't see much either
Still, the water was much much warmer than the gorge water in Karajini, the sun was shining, the beach sand was white instead of oxide red and we could float in the water instead of spider walking through a crevice. It was a good start to the day.
There was another Adventure Tours group there, almost all of whom were lying on the beach because the water seemed too cold to them. They are northward bound and will be in the Karajini in a couple of days. Coastal waters too cold?!
We drove further into the CRNP to have lunch at Yardie Creek and then we went for a walk up into the gorge that's been carved by the creek. It was an easy walk with lovely views of the creek below in which some people were canoeing, had some rock types and formations unlike any that we'd seen elsewhere on the trip including some really porous rock that looked, to me, because of the holes and stark shadows a little lunar like. We also found some coral fossils and saw a couple of wallabies.
Then we went back into town so that Jess could fuel up and restock with food, bought an ice block or three (it had been a big day), and picked up the whale shark watchers who'd been lazing away the last part of the afternoon back at the accommodation by the pool.
It's clear that they had a great time on their cruise as they're chattering away about swimming beside several whale sharks and seeing lots of other sea creatures so it seems a good day has been had by all.
Now Jess just has to drive us down the road to Coral Bay. That'll be the shortest drive of the trip.