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).

20130808_RCH_0569I 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.

20130808_RCH_0574Our 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.

DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPROThe 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…

20130808_RCH_0576 DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPROThe 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

DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPROWe 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.

DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPRO DCIM101GOPROAnd 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…

20130808_RCH_0584 20130808_RCH_0586And 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.

20130808_RCH_0593 20130808_RCH_0595 20130808_RCH_0596All 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!!

昨日は、大移動日だったのでブログを省略しました。 あしからず。

今日は、人生でもきっと、ずっと思い出に残る1日でした☆

実は、昨日ここExmouthに到着したのが、夕方すぎで、どのダイビングの

店も電話をかけても通じなかったので、とりあえず今晩は、ご飯を食べ、早寝して早朝にダイビングショップに直接行く事に。

朝は、6時ちょっとすぎに出発してダイブショップの前で朝食を食べて、回転7時をまちました。

今日は、残念ながらクジラ(ジンベイザメ)と泳ぐツアーは開催されてなかったので、スキューバーのツアーに参加。

7:30に小型の船に乗って、ほか2カップルとシングル2名との少人数ツアーでした☆

まず沖にでてすぐにクジラを発見!!  けっこう近くて、潮を噴いているのがはっきりみえるし、ジャンプも披露してくれました!!

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。

最初の地点は、かなり水深が深かったので、(一緒に行ったメンバーは、ダイビングだったので。)あまり魚もサンゴもよく見えなかったけど、
カメさん数匹と泳ぐ事ができましたー♡

次に移動したポイントは、かなり水深も浅く、水の透明具合がとってもよくて、最高に奇麗なカラフルなサンゴや、お魚ちゃん、またまたカメさんたちもいました。

カメさんは、なんかひょろ長い魚にまとわりつかれ、それが嫌だったらしく、すごい速さで途中から泳ぎだしてたけど、カメがあんなスピードで泳ぐとは知らなかったので、とてもびっくりしました。 あれは、速い、、、

この辺は、小さな島がいくつかあり、島には、かなり高い波があがっていて、サーフィンをする人たちには、最高な場所だろうなーと移動中のボートから眺めていました。

潮の流れがけっこう強くかなり流されやすかったので、逆方向に行くには、けっこうキックが必要で、いつもより体力を消耗しました。 そしていちおう冬なので、海水が25℃辺りで結構寒かった!!

特に上がった後が寒いので、ジャンバーを持ってった方がいいです。

お昼をたべてもう一本ちがうポイントで潜りました。

移動の度に、クジラに出会えてほんとうに、この辺は、季節によるけど、クジラだらけ!!!

ここは、前回の場所よりちょっと水深が深かったので、ちょっと魚の数も少なかったかなー。 でもかなりつかれていたので、ちょうど良かったかな。

そして、そして帰路で、奇跡がおこりました!!!

なななななんと、大きなマンタレイ!   エイの群れと遭遇!!!

群れというか、ビュッフェスタイルのお食事にみなさんいらしていたそうで、大きなお口をあけてぐわぁーーーーーーーーっとプランクトンを召し上がっていました。

体長は、2m以上のかなり大型のものたちで、インストラクターさんたち曰くこれだけ沢山見れるのは、かなりラッキーだそうで、インストラクターさんも興奮してめっちゃ写真とってました笑

見つけて、追いかけているときは、感動というよりかなりな必死感が大きかったけど、改めて、見れるとラッキーだねーっと言っていたものが、見られたあとは感動が押し寄せもう笑顔がとまりませんでした。

あの大きな口をあけて、その周りを泳いでいる魚の群れをみて、五体満足で生まれて、こんなに美しい景色をみられている自分は、なんて幸せなんだろうと改めて自分の置かれている立場の贅沢さに感謝しました。

そんなこんなで、感動のあとも、クジラを発見、イルカも発見。

最後の最後まで最高のツアーでした!!!

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♡  )
明日は、ジンベイザメと泳ぐツアーに参加!!!!!

今日これだけ、見れたので、ぜったい泳げる!はず!!

あしたも最高にラッキーな一日でありますよーに☆☆

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