Thursday, July 30, 2015

Coral Bay 23-26 July

Coral Bay, a small tourism oriented village is about 200 km south of Exmouth, and is very well named. Its facilities include a small supermarket, a few dive shops and ticket offices, a newsagent, a very popular bakery and a medical centre. It makes North Haven look big, and Beachfront Caravan Park look distant from the beach. The 2 parks here are on the opposite side of the road from the beach. The whole place is totally geared to tourism and it wouldn't surprise me if the whole place closed down in the wet season as there is a complex of seasonal workers accommodation.

Views from the dunes to the south of the bay

Pigface growing wild on the dunes
Coral Bay is towards the southern end of Ningaloo Reef. It is very calm and doesn't have the currents that make swimming and snorkelling more difficult in Cape Range. In Coral Bay you just walk out a few metres off the beach and there is the coral reef. There is also good fishing but you can't fish from shore, only from your boat.

Views of the Bay, with exceptionally clear water

The coral doesn't have the variety of colours you find on the Barrier Reef, but there are many different types of coral. We decided to do a glass bottomed boat cruise to see the variety and we weren't disappointed.  The coral is so dense, even though the tide was low you couldn't see the sandy sea floor. There is a particularly large mass that appears at low tide, known as Ayers Rock, that is growing all the time. We didn't see as many fish because they are wary of the noise of the boat. Except for the blue-green emperor fish. They associated the boat with food so these very large fish were like bees to a honeypot. David went snorkelling twice, and I went once, the water being a bit cooler than we have become accustomed to.

Ayers Rock Coral
Views of the dunes from the boat

Some of the fish and coral. I had a video but it was too big to load.

For a couple of days the weather at Coral Bay was cool and drizzly so it was very conducive to doing nothing much at all. Fortunately, on our last day the weather was warm, the sun shone brightly, the wind dropped and the water was a brilliant hue. Considering that the caravan parks were almost full there weren't many people on the beach. However we could hear a large crowd of keen AFL supporters cheering loudly. Obviously they had access to one of the satellite dishes that have sprouted in the park like weeds.

As we woke to pack up and leave we discovered we had no power in the camper, so a quick call to an auto-electrician in Carnarvon, about 200 km down the road was organised. On the way we crossed the tropic of Capricorn again, so now we are out of the tropics where we have been since May 20. 

The electrical problem has been fixed, so all is fine in Wilkos World again.

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