Coral Bay Manta Rays
At 8:30 we were all set at the Ningaloo Experience office to get our wetsuits and snorkel gear. Soon all other people were there too and all 8 of us were taken by bus to the jetty where the boat was already waiting. We got on board and after getting away from the harbor we anchored near the reef to snorkel. The water was clearer than in Exmouth and the coral was more colorful too. A lot of fish gathered around the boat and didn’t appear to mind that we came within reaching distance from them.
We continued north and after a while went snorkeling where the chance of seeing sharks was high. Just minutes into the water we saw a small shark and a turtle and a bit later a 2.5 meter shark swam beneath us. Back on board we were told that the latter one has been known to attack people if it felt threatened.
We continued our trip looking for whales and again we soon found a humpback with a calf that was probably about a month old. First we saw the whale breaching and when we got closer we saw her slapping her big fin in the water to scare away sharks. We slowly followed the whales and saw the calf breaching a few times too, I only managed to get a photograph of it once as there is no warning to where or when they will put up their show. Next was a place where manta rays hang out and again just minutes after we got in the water we saw a ray beneath us. Following manta rays is hard to do as they swim faster than the occasional snorkeler.
Back on board we headed towards our starting point via a turtle sanctuary. Sea turtles spend most of their time beneath the water only to surface for a short time so they can breathe. There were a lot of them so we saw a few heads come out of the water before it was time to get back. Close to the harbor we anchored the boat again and we could snorkel one last time. Again, this was an excellent place with very good visibility and lots of coral and fish.
Since it was still early we walked across town (about 300m) to the bakery for some cake and to check on the status of our ATV tour tomorrow. It seems we were the only ones booked and they would not go out with just us but after seeing we made our reservation in February they called the owner to ask if it would be OK to go out anyway and fortunately he agreed to make the tour.