Day 87 – Whales, Turtles, Fish, Coral, Manta Rays and … Jellyfish
Now that it’s been such a long time since I have had to use an alarm clock (yes, obnoxious, I know…), I find I am so anxious awaiting for my cue to wake up. We had to set an early alarm this morning to make sure that we got to the tour desk early enough to be able to buy tickets for this morning’s tour (as they all seem to depart at 7:30AM).
The first setback of the day was that the company that we’d chosen, Exmouth Diving Centre (the PADI approved company), wasn’t running a whale shark tour today due to insufficient numbers… so we decided to do a SCUBA tour with them instead. …which brought about the second setback of the day – chronic sinusitis in my teenage years was enough for them to not feel comfortable taking me on a tour, even though I had successfully had them operated on, and even though I had successfully been SCUBA diving twice before (Fiji and Great Barrier Reef). So, we settled for a snorkelling tour instead (which was the same tour, except we see the dive sites from above, while the others see it from below).
I asked the lady at the booking desk how big their boat was, and got quite a shock when she told me it was a 12ft boat (Deli-chan is probably 16ft). I was relieved when it turned out to be a 12m boat… I’ll excuse her since English didn’t seem to be her first language. It was a nice boat, with three big 300HP motors on the rear – so you could say it was rather fast. It was an absolutely perfect day for it, too – next to no wind, and not a cloud in the sky. The water was beautifully calm, which makes things more pleasant. It still seems weird to be going snorkelling in the middle of winter, at least they gave us wetsuits. I wasn’t going to bother with a wetsuit, but I thought it would be easier than sunscreen so I grabbed a half-length one, which was a mistake as it was frigid and my suit did little to warm me up.
Our dive sites were out near Muiron Island, about 20 nautical miles from Exmouth. I was rather surprised to see the size of the surf that was breaking just off the island, especially since it felt so calm in the boat.
The moment I got into the water at the ominously named dive-site, ‘Jaws’, I saw a turtle just going about his turtle-business. And, that was about the time I wished I had a real underwater camera (I think it might have been the first underwater shot of the day). I tried to keep up with it, but I had no chance, it slipped away from me with ease, almost unaware that I was trying to chase it. And that was the highlight of the first dive, while the water was relatively clear, the reef was quite deep (10-20m) and not suited to snorkelling. It was about then that I was jealous of all the people down below us…
The second dive site, ‘Dinner Plate’, was much more suited to snorkelling (Risa and I were the only snorkelers, the rest were doing SCUBA). We were able to explore reefs that were 2-5m deep, while the underwater breathers went and explored shelves and small caves. The coral was all hard coral (so not that colourful), but it was still very pretty, and despite what the very average photos may show, there was an absolute abundance of fish life – a huge variety of fishes. We also saw another two small turtles – I chased one, Risa chased the other
We went to a third site after lunch (chicken and salad roll) that we all did snorkelling. It was similar to the second site, though possibly not as good (not as colourful, and less fish). It was only taking 10-minutes from getting in to the water for my core to feel extremely cold, which surprised me as it was only 22˚C in the water. I convinced my body to be warm by swimming harder, which came in pretty handy as the tide had some pull to it.
And that was it, the tour was over and it was time to return to shore. Except, by pure luck, we came across quite a few manta rays having a feed! The excitement was incredible, the tour guides stopped the boats immediately, and we all grabbed our snorkelling gear as quickly as we could for this rare chance to swim with some huge (2-3m wingspan) manta rays. It was hard work swimming with them, they move through the water much faster/easier than we did. Plus, the water was a little murky here (and full of small jelly fish…). But, it was really, really cool to see this giant fish doing its thing. I also got excited when I thought there were two small sharks swimming below it, but apparently they are ‘cobia’ not sharks…
And then, only a few minutes later, we came across even more humpback whales. We’d seen quite a few on the way there, but they’d been much further away and for whatever reason, our tour didn’t deviate to get closer to them. The whales didn’t stick around for long, popping up, exhaling, and going back down without a fuss. I crossed my fingers to see one of them doing a big dive, but it wasn’t to be.
All that looking at fish all day for Risa was too much temptation, so she wanted seafood for dinner. Exmouth is known for its fresh prawns, and if there is something in the world that Risa likes more than prawns, I’ll be surprised. Me, I just had some naked sausages (no reason, they were just on special at the supermarket). We washed it down with Matso’s (the Broome brewery) signature beer, Pearlers Pale Ale. Not my favourite beer, but still a very easy to drink beer – very clean/clear and refreshing.
We’re booked on to a whale shark tour first thing tomorrow morning, so we’ll have to rest up…
８７日目 ８月 ８日 (木) さかな、クジラ、カメ、イルカ、そして巨大エイ！！
超感動！！！！ と思っていたら、スキューバーの地点につく４０分以内に、１０匹位は見えたかも！ ほんとうに沢山いました。
今日の晩ご飯は、地元のエビを５００gもっさり、がっつり頂きました。 しかも＄７以下だった！！！ ミソまで新鮮でとってもおいしかったーー
(インストラクターさんに、おいしいシーフードSEA Food の店はどこ？ って聞いたら、 いま良いだけ海で潜って “SEE” FOOD”
したのにもっと欲しいの？！ ってジョークと共に、まちの産魚店を教えてくれました笑 さすが冗談好きのオージー♡ )