17,785 kms, 33 degrees C, 10 snakes
We apologise to our loyal followers for the delay in getting this post on the web, but we have been far too busy having a wonderful time!! Exmouth is 1270km North of Perth – it is heaven on earth but a long from where anywhere. We loved it so much, we stayed a week, longer than anywhere on the trip so far. Part of our thinking was avoiding going South too soon as it has been wet and sub 20 degrees in Perth – we have not seen rain since June and are quite happy to keep it this way.
We stayed at an excellent Big 4 campsite, complete with emus wandering around looking for food. Some of our followers are interested in domestic matters – well we now have a clipper and Nicky is getting quite good at trimming Stuarts head. Maybe a new career beckons...
Our first trip was to see more gorges – Thomas Carter lookout and Shothole Canyon. Both had staggering views, rock formations, views of the coastline in the distance and stunning colours, pindan reds with streaks of white, plus turquoise waters....
...and the turquoise water is where we spent most of the remainder of our time, in, on or by the sea. There are so many hump backed whales migrating South after calving that at any time of day, at any point on the beach you could look out and see at least one in a matter of minutes. Nicky and Nicko did a twilight whale watching trip and were treated to a stunning display – check out the photos and the video.
The snorkelling was great off the beach – Nicko donned a mask for the first time. Stuart has some very bad shots of a loggerhead turtle’s arse, that were not quite good enough for the blog!
The snakes are becoming more common – one ran across the path in front of us and we saw a sea snake on the surface on our trip to the Murion Islands. Exmouth is a great dive centre – Stuart did a Padi refresher course and we headed off North for a spot of diving and snorkelling. The windward side of the island had lots of beautiful soft corals, which could survive better in the heavy swell. The East side had more hard coral. We dived with Mike and Alice from Calgary – some of the shots on this blog entry are Mikes. In the surface stop between dives we had lunch on the upper deck and watched manta rays on the port side, with a pod of dolphins and breaching whales on the starboard side, at the same time! The dives were awesome – we were looking down at the coral and nudibranchs (highly colour tiny sea slugs, see photo) when a 3m wide manta ray sailed above us. These gentle giants are harmless, intelligent and inquisitive – circling for a better look at us.
And having got the dive bug again, Stuart did two dives at the Navy Pier – reputed to be one of the top ten dive sites in the world, with some justification. The pier is on commonwealth defence land, so only those from a single dive shop have access to it. There is no fishing, so the pier acts as a haven for thousands of fish of all kinds. We have over 1GB of photos and video from our Exmouth trip, most of it at the Navy pier. Everywhere you look there was sea life on or near the underwater columns. 4m grey nurse sharks floated on the bottom, with some large white tipped reef sharks (see picture and video). There were heaps of lionfish (photo), highly decorative, elaborate creatures with poisonous barbs, so it pays to sort out your buoyancy and not get too close. Stingrays, wobbygongs, stonefish, nudibranchs, angelfish, batfish, moray eels, huge schools of trevally the list goes on and on. The dive was amazing – a real highlight of the trip to date.