Day 15, Sun May 28
Another big day ahead. Microlight flight over Ningaloo. Not much sleep as the music from the Festival went way into the wee hours. Packed up and drove the van to the Light Aircraft airport. It's on the way to Coral Bay.
Feeling a bit anxious, but I've paid my money and I'm going.
I feel the need, the need for .....
Valium. Met Liv my pilot, a really nice Kiwi girl. Decked me out with jacket, helmet and filled out the usual forms.
She said it's a magic day to fly. I squeeze into the back seat. Looks like I'm Goose, not Maverick. Tried not to think about what happened to Goose.
Away we go. Absolutely brilliant sensation as you accelerate up the airstrip. In seconds we are heading up to 4500 feet and heading over Cape Range. This altitude allows them to land safely if the engine fails. Also the temperature drops by 2 degrees for every 1000 feet. So it's around 14 up there. Didn't notice it as I was just snapping away and thoroughly enjoying the experience. Hit the coast and spotted whale sharks, turtles, a hammer head, and tiger sharks (which were very close to where we had been snorkelling). The colours and textures of the ocean from above is so different to ground level. Some of the images are very artistic. l love it!
Landed safely after my one hour flight. I am hooked on aerial photography.
The doctor is waiting. I give her the thumbs up. Survived and love every minute. I give Liv a hug. She was awesome. She just focused on me getting the shots. She said she got down to 700 feet over the ocean which was probably a bit low, but was keen to maximise my experience.
Then we head off to Coral Bay. Long straight roads with lots of termite mounds. Spent some time discussing with the Doctor, why they were different sizes and shapes. Also never too close together. Are they territorial? Told you the road was a bit boring. Only drama was our front window cover blew up when a fuel tanker went past. Luckily no damage. Arrived early afternoon. All set up. A bit windier than Exmouth. Will explore tomorrow.
Short video of flight. https://youtu.be/dI5nhN9IUgU
Day 16, Mon May 29
A nice sleep-in and a very relaxed feeling here in Coral Bay. Only a 5 minute walk to snorkel, unlike Exmouth where we would travel nearly an hour to Turquoise Bay.
Checked out the local shops and the boatramp. Had another great snorkel just out from our caravan park. Amazing that's it's so close. It drops off steeply but the coral is right there, but the water temperature drops really quickly as well.
At 3.30pm half of Coral Bay wade out into the shallows for the fish-feeding. Forget the fish type but pretty large and they swim in between your legs. Weird feeling.
Booked the 2 hour glass-bottom boat snorkel tour tomorrow at10am. Hope to swim with turtles and maybe a manta ray.
Finished off with a beautiful Coral Bay sunset.
Day 18, Tues May 30
I promise to mention the doctor today as she didn't get a mention yesterday.
Learnt a new skill last night. How to get back to your van from the showers wearing thongs without throw sanding back onto your feet. Walk like a crab (or cowboy). Works a treat.
Today we did the 2 hour glass-bottom boat and snorkel tour. Only 7 plus 2 crew. Plenty of room.
The boat skims very low over the coral while Liam explains the different corals and fish.
It's much calmer than the whale shark cruise, as we stay inside the reef. First snorkel goes for 30 minutes. Many beautiful fish. Hoping for a turtle or a manta ray today. The doctor and I get separated. She reports back that she had a 2 metre reef shark (wondered it was a great white) swim within one arms-length. Liam dived in to follow it. I'm giving her the camera next time.
Next stop is the second snorkel. Another 30 minutes. A lot more fish than before and many varieties. We here the skipper call. Turtle! We all swim in the general direction and there it is. A baby one (Bruce). It goes to the surface for air, then searches for food along the bottom. Stays down forever. Awesome to see. It's not long before we all see a larger one, and spent some time swimming alongside. Brilliant. Hope the camera is working.
Headed back to shore. Drive almost into the beach to disembark. Great tour.
Back to the van and fell in a heap. Feels like we've been drugged. It must be sea, sand and snorkelling.
Recovered and had a nice meal at Bills Restaurant.
Off to Carnarvon tomorrow. Plan to do some more snorkelling at the Blowholes aquarium, Quobba.
Oh nearly forgot. We caught up with our hitchhikers yesterday here in Coral Bay. Very nice couple, and they gave us some tips on where to snorkel.
Finally saw our turtle on the last day at Coral Bay.
Video of snorkelling tour https://youtu.be/Z08Ec9l8j0U
Day 19, Wed May 31
Move out day. Not ready to go. Love the relaxed feeling in Coral Bay. The sounds of compressors inflating the 4wds tyres ready for the bitumen, means others are on their way out.
Only just realised our neighbour 2 sites down was Geoff Marsh (cricketer). The doctor thought he was familiar. His sons
Shaun and Mitch were here yesterday. Now that would have been a great game of beach cricket.
All hooked up and going through the checklist with the co-pilot. Jockey wheel up, check. Pop-top down, check. Hope it's a pleasant flight.
On to Carnarvon. First excitement for the day. About 20km from Minilya Roadhouse, saw what looked like road kill, but as we got closer it moved. The doctor yelled "it's an Iguana!". She's been watching too much David Attenborough. I don't think he travelled all the way to WA from the Galápagos Islands. I reckon it's a racehorse goanna. Glad it was on the opposite lane as it could have been very messy and dangerous as we were on about 95km per hour.
Had a nice coffee at Minilya. More discussion on the Iguana/goanna. I get 2 fingers from the doctor. I gather she means 2 hours to Carnarvon.
Arrived at Carnarvon. Nice park. Setup and check out the town. Quite nice along the river. It's steak burger night at the park while watching the State of Origin on the big screen. That's dinner sorted.
Tomorrow off to the Blowholes for some more snorkelling.
Day 20, Thurs June 1
Up early and off to the Blowholes near Quobba, about 70 kms North of Carnarvon.
Not sure if the Blowholes will be working. Before we have even parked we knew they were. Large plumes of water reaching skyward were like the Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park.
The swell is around 4 metres and the waves crash into the coast with the spray reaching 20-30 metres into the air. Awesome sight to see. Very dangerous coastline though.
Headed about a km South to the campground. A beautiful lagoon which has little shelters along the beach. Paradise!
Did some snorkelling close to shore as the current was strong. Saw some colourful coral and fish very close to shore. Another great experience.
Checked out the Blowholes again which were really pumping.
Headed back to Carnarvon. Packing up and heading for Denham tomorrow. Would love to check out the OTC satellite dish and space centre. Maybe in the morning if there is time.
Day 21. Fri June 2
Packed up and heading to Denham (Shark Bay). Stopped off at the Space Museum and satellite dish. It has many working displays, equipment, mini theatres, a planetarium, and volunteers discussing all things space. Really enjoyable and informative. You also suit up and get into a mockup of the Apollo 11 command module while it launches into space. Includes the vibrations. Also very nice cat called Buzz. Great value for $10.
Headed off. Drivers side mirror flies off after 5 minutes on the road. Great start! The doctor hotfooted it back up the road to collect. Luckily no damage. On the road again.
Great coffee at Wooramel Roadhouse. Stopped at Hamelin Pool and the Stromatolites. Impressive boardwalk into the sea.
On to Denham. 130 km straight road. Setup camp. All good. Satellite dish time. All children, ear muff time. 3 of the neighbours came over to help. Very nice but you know" too many cooks... Setup when they left. Great, in time for the footy.