DIVING THE NINGALOO REEF

DIVING THE NINGALOO REEF

My first dive spot in Exmouth was the Navy Pier. When I arrived to the dive shop most of the things were ready for me. I just had to check in and pay the pier fee. Once I did that I was fitted for my gear. We then got loaded on the bus to watch the safety video and we were off. It was all secret business. We had to stop off at the defense base entrance to get the key to the pier and after a certain point we weren’t even allowed to take our phones outs.

As we just got onto the start of pier we were already lucky to see five sharks in the water. Once we finally got to the end of the pier we were rushed to get into gear so we wouldn’t miss our dive time. We were super lucky today as we got two dives not just one. We were able to take it slower and enjoy each section on a separate dive. A dive master Amy took us on our dive, she was great at pointing out different things in the water. On our first dive we I swear I saw more variety of fish than I have in my 10 dives in Honduras. The deepest part of the dive was 14m so we were able to stay for around 50minutes each time.

In between dives we had a short water and cake break, changed our tanks over and went down again. In the two dives we saw so many different fish I couldn’t even name them all. Some of the highlights were seeing a white and black tip reef sharks, a turtle, two Wobbey Gongs, Angler Shallow Water Fish, Nudi Branch in all sizes from centimeter ones to ones the size of my hands, lots of Black Catfish that are endemic to Ningaloo. We saw lots of Starfish, Lion Fish, Butterfly Fish, Angel Fish and Box Fish. We also found a few Moray Eels and Octopuses hiding in the coral. The Navy pier is also known for being a home to BFG (the Big Friendly Groper) which I was lucky enough to get really close to as I got the air buttons confused on my BCD and shot myself right up to it. The pier is such a rich place for marine life because it is so protected and only a dive shop with a license is allowed to go there.Diving in Australia is a bit more expensive but totally worth it!

I then got dropped off back to the van before Yolly so I decided to go visit Matt and Olivia at their caravan park for a swim at the pool. Yolly joined us shortly and we decided to go shopping for the BBQ we would have later that night. We then did the usual camper activities like playing cards while having a few drinks. After dinner we decided it was time to park up the van for the night.

The next morning we did our wake up before sunrise routine. At the beach we bumped into our friend Raul a Spanish guy we met the other night. We had a chat to him and then heading for the dive shop. Today I’ll be diving in Lighthouse Bay.

When I arrived tit the dive shop, I thought I might have confused the times because it was so quiet compared to yesterday but then I saw Roos sitting on the bench. I asked her, “Am I late? Where is everyone?”. She assured me that I was in time and that we are just waiting on two more people. After they arrived we went to pick up the others from their accommodation and made our way to the boat.

On the boat we had all our gear and were briefed on the two spots we were going to dive today. The first spot we were diving at was called Blizzard Ridge before we even got there we saw a sea snake on the surface. We were actually looking out for whale sharks but unfortunately we didn’t see one.

We got into gear and stepped off the boat. On the first dive I got chased by an Olive Sea Snake which I think was the scariest thing ever. I first spotted it and was so fascinated by it. It looked just like a real snake but swimming through water. Earlier on the boat they were telling us that sea snakes are curious creatures and sometime swim up to you. One of the instructors shared that he once had the sea snake swim into his BCD(the air vest you wear). The snake than took an interest in me and began swimming towards me, all I could think of is that they sometimes swim up to your goggles and I really didn’t want that to happen. I began to swim away from it and it began to follow me. It was so freaking scary but eventually it gave up.

After the snake incident we saw a White Fin Reef Shark, lots of Box Fish, Clown Fish, Rankin Cod, Angel Fish, Cat Fish, Butterfly Fish, Long Fin Banner Fish just to make a few.

Back on the boat we had a BBQ and then got ready for our second dive at the Labyrinth. Here we saw another White Tip Reef Shark, a Turtle, Scorpion Fish which are so well camouflaged that we only saw it because Aaron scared it while pointing out a Nudibranch. We also saw Cray fish, Moroorish Idol, loads of Glass fish, Christmas Worms in various colours, Moray Eel and many more.

On the drive home Roos told me where we could watch baby turtles hatch. I couldn’t wait to tell Yolly.

When we got back to the dive shop Yolly was already waiting for me there and we set off to Five Mile Beach to watch the turtles. Maybe ten minutes into the drive the car started doing its thing where it doesn’t accelerate when you push the accelerator down and just loses power. We were a little sad but decided to continue towards the National Park.

To be continued…

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ITS FIXED!!

ITS FIXED!!

As always we woke up before sunrise. We drove a few meters down the beach to watch the sunrise and wait for the mechanics to open. This would be the first visit but unfortunately not the last. We dropped off the van at the Exmouth 4×4. The guys who own the place are so lovely. They gave us a lift into town and said they would call us when the van was ready.

We explored the little town, found a giant camping chair, and went into a few clothes shops. Then we checked out some dive shops and whale shark tours. We found out that only Dive Ningaloo offered the Navy Pier dive. The Navy Pier dive has been voted one of the top ten spots to dive. I ended up booking four dives with Dive Ningaloo, two at Navy Pier and two at Ningaloo Reef.

Around one we got the van back. The mechanic told us that the fuel filter has been clogged and he swapped that over and then he also told us to put some new wheels on because our ones were wore out.

Feeling excited after we got some new wheels and knowing that our van was now fixed we decided to go snorkeling. After the beach we stopped by the bottelo for some thank you beers and later met the boys for dinner. Originally we were planning on a big Friday night on the town but after such a long day and big plans for tomorrow we decided that an early night was a good idea.

The next morning we woke up nice and early. We found another sneaky place to camp for free. We decided that the beach was too risky and to try something else. The day before, I saw a girl I knew from back in the day and she offered us her driveway. We were super excited to have somewhere legal to camp. Although I had my concerns because her reputation back in high school wasn’t amazing, but I thought that change of scenery and travel might have changed her. I sent her a message after we got our car back but never heard back from her. Disappointing but not surprising, Perth people ya know. Our new sneaky camping spot was just next door to our mechanics with some other cars parked up outside.

As always we did our morning routine wake up before sunrise, drive the car to the beach to watch the sunrise and then get ready for the day. While Yolly was gathering her stuff I had a quick cat nap and then she dropped me off with the van in the carpark near the IGA (because I can’t drive the van). I then got all my stuff ready and read my book before it was time for me to walk over to the dive shop.

To be continued…

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A SLIGHT DELAY IN CORAL BAY

A SLIGHT DELAY IN CORAL BAY

Lots of beautiful things had happened since we had decided to leave for Exmouth. I haven’t written in a while but I’ll catch you up.

When I posted the last blog from Coral Bay I thought that was the end of the day and nothing exciting will happen for me to write about. I was about to go for a last dip in the ocean, before we once again attempted to sneak into the caravan park for a shower, and then leave to stay at a rest stop just before Exmouth.

When I went down to the beach there were some people playing music and having drinks in the water. I floated about enjoying the turquoise water and the perfect temperature before deciding to get out and find Yolly.

As I was walking to my towel I heard, “Excuse me”. I thought it was coming over from the guys I saw in the water and decided to just ignore it. I dried myself and as I turned around to look back at the water as I saw a man approaching me. He said, “Excuse me, I was wondering if you wanted to join my friends and I for a beer”. I was hesitant because I knew Yolly was waiting for me but we also haven’t met many friendly people and I liked that he made the gesture. Thus I decided to say, “Yeah, why not?”. As he handed me the beer he introduced himself as Alf, we walked over to his friends, Nathan and Matty. He also pointed over to three people that were swimming a little further away and said, “Those are our friends from Exmouth”.

They asked me what I was doing here and I told them about our trip. They then began to tell me that Coral Bay is so much better than Exmouth and that we should stay here instead of leaving. They said that they would take us out of their boats the next day to see whale sharks, that we could shower at theirs and park our van there over night. I told them that I’ll go ask Yolly but I knew that a free shower would win her over.

When I got to the van she was sitting in the back waiting for her Mum to call. I ran up and was like, “Omg, you will never guess what happened…”

I saw a look of panic on her face until she saw a beer in my hand. I told her what happened and that the guys were inviting her over for a beer. She agreed, we locked up the van and walked down to the beach.

After a few rosés in the water we decided to move the party back to their house. We followed their shiny, new, black Toyota HiLux. As we were driving we began to recognize the streets because the night before we walked around trying to find a place to park our van. When we got to their house we recognized it straight away because it was the house with two massive boats parked outside of it.

The other two guys from Exmouth weren’t actually from Exmouth they were a couple from England backpacking and they were planning on trying to find job and move to Exmouth. They too were currently living out of their van and were super excited about a fresh water shower. We took turns showering and then sat out on the veranda drinking rosé and watching the sunset.

The next morning we were supposed to wake up at 5am to go finishing with the boys but the night ended up being a big one and they didn’t wake up and neither did we. So no boat fun times for us but we just chilled in air con, slept the hang over off and then decided to make our way to Exmouth.

As we left Coral Bay, five minutes into the trip we broke down again. The van would not go over 30km/h. We saw the English couple Matt and Liv drive past us as we chilled on the side of the road giving the van a little break. For about an hour we drove at 50km/h and then finally the van decided to speed up to our max 100km/h. The trip in total took us three hours instead of one and a half.

When we finally got to Exmouth we messaged the boys that helped us the first time we broke down to tell them we finally made it and they invited us over for drinks and showers at their camp site. We didn’t last long because we were exhausted from the three hour drive with no air conditioning and we were still recovering from the night before.

To be continued…

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CORAL BAY FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES!

CORAL BAY FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES!

Hurray! It worked out for us to sleep at the hotel car park but we did get up at 6:30am to leave. On the way out we stopped off at Shell Beach but the flies were killer so we decided to leave and check out Canarvon before the closest rest stop to Coral Bay.

We drove about an hour out and the car started to play up we couldn’t do much past 90km/h and then 80km/h and then 70km/h, 60km/h, 50km/h, 40km/h and finally 30km/h and we had to pull over and let the car rest. We pull out our phones to call for help but seeing as we were 90 minutes out of town by then and there was no reception. We had our hazard lights on and waited for someone to stop. We were trying to manifest some knowledge of what was wrong and some help.

In the 20 minutes we were waiting there, sweating our asses off no one stopped. I was just saying to Yolly that my faith in humanity is lost as a car with a boat trailer pulled up. At first we weren’t sure if they were there to help us or if they were just stopping but then two guys got out and started walking towards us. At that point we realized that we were only in our swimsuits, Yolly yells out, “Shit! We are naked! Better throw something on,” and we scrimmage to put some clothes on.

The guys came and looked at our car, we explained the issue and then one of them drove it for a bit to see what was happening. They then narrowed down the issue to it being something to do with the fuel pump and the that we are using the cheap dirty fuel that was clogging up the fuel pipe and to have it looked at. We exchanged details and set good bye.

Just before the next “town”, where we were originally going to look for a mechanic, which ended up being just a service station, I get a text from Dan, he was one of the guys helping us. The text said to stop at the next stop they had another idea. They recommend that we us the premium fuel and that it should flush out the fuel pipe, then if that doesn’t work we should go to the mechanic.

We drove through Canarvon, it was full of seedy men, reminding me of time I spend in India. I was surprised that there was such lack of social etiquette. The town was pretty but didn’t have much to offer and we were worried about getting to the rest stop if we have to drive at 80km/h so we had a quick dip at the town centre and set off towards the rest stop.

On the way out we were recommended a farmers markets, local fruit and veg shop that we were planning to get all our supplies at. We realized they only had the fruit from the farm mangos, passion fruit and bananas. After leaving disappointed we were too worried about the car that we didn’t go back into town we decided to just keep on driving forward.

We finally got to the rest stop on time because our car decided to drive 100km/h (which is our usual limit). We found a nice spot in the shade, poured ourselves some Mimosas and then we saw it. A huge sandstorm coming towards us, we decided that we had to pack everything and leave to Coral Bay. We knew that in Coral Bay there would be no free area to leave our car and we would most likely be stranded again.

We made it just in time to watch the most magical sunset, had a quick dip and then got our stuff to take a shower. Budget tip on how to get into the caravan showers, either knock on the door or pretend you forgot your key and ask someone for one.

After dinner we scouted for a place to sleep and then made dinner. We decided on trying to stay in the backpackers car park over night and just to wake up super early. When we were scouting for a place we saw a guy sitting in his van in the car park. We asked him if he was sleeping there and he said no, he got a spot in the backpackers but he did sleep in the car last night because the key didn’t work for his room and the reception was closed by that time. He told us that no one checked on him so we should be fine to stay there.

The next morning we woke up to the sound of the alarm. The sun hasn’t come up yet but we had to get out of the backpackers carpark before the ranger came to do the rounds at 6am. We decided to just leave the car in the carpark and go watch the sunrise on the beach. The sunrise was beautiful. After that we found a nice spot on the beach for a cheeky nap.

Around 8am we headed back to our van to drive it over to the washing station to do the dishes from last night and to clean up our van. As we were cleaning up, Paul the guy from the backpackers carpark pulled up. He has been leaving up in Broom and is now moving to Perth. He gave us some tips on Exmouth and then told us about his epic snorkeling adventure yesterday, where he saw dolphins, sharks and a turtle. We decided that we would go snorkeling with him seeing as he had the good luck. Unfortunately his luck had run out and we didn’t see anything that special but it was still so exciting to see all the different fish. My favorite is when I get to see big schools of fish swimming together.

Now we are just relaxing in the shade under the tree. Our plan for today is to chill here for the next few hours, then pack up and move to a rest stop for an early night. Next stop Exmouth.

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YOU SHOULDN’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ONLINE…

YOU SHOULDN’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ONLINE…

DAY 4

This morning we work up in a driveway of some lovely Denham residents. Our one big mistake was not to ask them to stay another night because once again we find ourselves stranded. Our original plan was to stay in Monkey Mia at their camp site for $11 a night, which we looked up the night before online. Well…guess what? It doesn’t exist and the only place to stay at is the RAC resort or the backpackers which are both out of our price range. We thought we would just drive back and ask the same people but they seem to be out tonight so that’s a no go.

Last night when we were chatting with the girls we noticed a guy looking a little out of place. He had all his belongings, a huge backpack on the back and a little one of the front. He just sat on a picnic bench a few meters from us. I wondered about him but didn’t approach him and went on with our night. Today we saw him again at the gazebo and decided to join him to make dinner. It was sad to find out that he was homeless last night because his car, that he has been living in, is broken so he had nowhere to sleep last night. He also told us that he has been volounteering at Monkey Mia the past few days but had no way of getting there today. If only we spoke to him last night we could have taken him there today but instead he was stranded in Denham.

Since he has been staying in town the last few days we asked him where he has been parking his car and hallelujah, I think he might have saved us tonight. He told us that he has been parking is at the resort across the road because their reception hours are 7am-9pm.

Now backtrack to the start of the day. As we woke up we raced off to Monkey Mia to watch the dolphins get fed. Wow, I have never seen dolphins up close for this long, unfortunately we didn’t get chosen to feed them but we learned a lot of facts about them. After that we found a quiet spot on the beach to sunbath and relax. During lunch we got our water colours and did some art and then I went to fly my drone. On the way back to Denham we went past the Little Lagoon.

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824KMS FROM PERTH

824KMS FROM PERTH

Update, we didn’t get caught by the ranger and we flew my drone for the first time. Since we woke up before 7am and the wind had not picked up yet. We then drove back into Kalbarri town for showers and breakfast. After breakfast we went snorkeling at Blue Holes Beach, where I saw lots of different fish all shapes and sizes and a HUGE star fish.

After the beach we decided it was time to move on to Shark Bay. The river in Kalbarri has flooded so the water in town was murky and brown and not what we were expecting.

Four hours later we got to Shark Bay and our first stop was Shell Beach. The water was crystal clear and just the right temperature. We spent the rest of the afternoon there until it was time to head into Denham to find a place to crash. We asked a few bloggers for tips on where they stayed for free and they suggested an app Wiki Camping but unfortunately there was nothing for Shark Bay.

When we got in town we did a loop and saw a few vans parked up together on the beach front and decided to join them. Tonight was pasta night, so we got all our stuff out to make dinner. We ended up chatting with some people from the other vans and learned an awesome tip that will get us some fun adventures for sure. One of the girls told us that they just go to houses and ask if they can stay in their drive way (genius), we have been trying to use tinder but the old fashioned way is so much better. They told us about the awesome people that have hosted them and how friendly and hospitable they had been. They did say it was better to ask during the day before it got dark and unfortunately we were there for sunset so it was too late for us. One of the guys of tinder recommended some place for us to try and stay at so we decided to try there.

As we were driving out of town a kangaroo jumped out and we nearly hit it, at that point we decided it was better to turn back and find something in town. When we were driving out of town I noticed an old couple walking towards their property and decided to try them. Unfortunately by the time we returned they were already inside but then I noticed their neighbours were out as we drove past. We decided to drive back again and try our luck, circling their house. Eventually we got the courage to ask if we could park up on their drive way and they agreed and ushered us into their driveway. And here we are, this is where I am writing the blog from.

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LEAVING PERTH

LEAVING PERTH

DAY 1

The time of my workaholism has finally come to an end and I am off on my next adventure. Yolly arrived today to pick me up for our road trip from Perth to Kununurra.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Yolly on Sail Turkey that we embarked on in the summer of 2017. We got on like a house on fire and I visited her in Busselton when I returned from my European adventure. We chatted about wanting to do this road trip and then she bought a van and here we are.

Our first stop is Geraldton a rural, coastal, city with a population of nearly 40,000. It is 415kms from Perth which took us about 5hrs with a stop for some salt and vinegar chips, which is a must on an Aussie road trip, and we got stuck in traffic because we left Perth too late on a Friday (would not recommend).

We finally arrived around 10pm met up with my mate who lives up here. Our number one mission was to remember to put our fridge on charge and get a pot to cook our pasta. Jake helped us out with both and then we went to sleep for our first night in the van.

DAY 2

Today we woke up nice and early to go grab some supplies that we didn’t have time to pick up in Perth. Geraldton is a great place to stop and buy anything last minute you didn’t get in Perth because it the last city before rural towns start and the prices are more. There are are a few cute cafes that you can relax in. One of my favorite coffee shops is Piper Lane Cafe and it’s right next to my fave shop, Cavania.

We also stumbled upon and indoor market. I have been looking for a book a mate of mine recommended The Celestine Prophecy, so I have been trying to manifest it, either a gift or in an op shop and today I finally found it for $6.50 in this indoor market. Woop, woop such a win. The first chapter and I’m hooked especially because it is this trip, a trip I have been wanting to do for years and then I meet Yolly. You kinda have to read the book to understand.

We drove past and sunk into the Pink lake in Port Gregory (it is 97km from Gero). The lake is a half way point between Gero and Kalbarri (Kalbarri is then another 67km from that).

When we got to Kalbarri we scouted car parks and lookouts for a place to park our van over night for free.

We finished the day off with a sunset picnic in Kalbarri town centre before heading to our sleeping spot. I’ll keep you posted on whether the rangers found us.

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