One off the bucket list.
Since I was a child I had heard of these enormous fish (the largest in the world in fact) that cruised the coast of North Western Australia every winter, ever since I had always had it on my bucket list of wildlife experiences and when we began planning this trip I knew it was something I would just have to do.
We had been camping in Cape Range National Park prior to the tour and every morning I would watch in anticipation as the spotter planes buzzed overhead ready to report the first sighting to the boat loads of eager swimmers below.
I met our crew at the Tantabiddi boat ramp on the edge of the National Park and we quickly ferried out to our vessel. Before we knew it, the crew had fitted us all out with our snorkeling equipment and suits for the day.
After a quick steam inside the Ningaloo Reef we arrived at our first snorkel for the day and a chance to test the equipment. We slipped into the warm waters to an ocean of colourful fish and corals of all shapes and sizes.
It was then time for the main event, as I sat on the fly bridge with the skipper our pilot radioed she had seen our first whale shark not far from us outside the reef. What happened next was like a well drilled military exercise, the crew had 20 of us segregated into two groups and lined up ready to jump in. On our mark, we slid into the open ocean, a little daunting considering we had just been snorkeling in 10ft of water and now we were in the open ocean and a long way from shore, our guide lined us up in the water and then shouted masks on.
We lowered our masks into the water to see a 6m whale shark slowly making its way towards us. This was a special moment and one I had been waiting a long time for. It was obvious that it wasn’t concerned by our presence and I swear we even made eye contact for a while. It was truly beautiful.
We dived with the Whale sharks four more times during the day, in truth I could have stayed there all day leap frogging with the sharks. By the end of the day we had also seen Humpback whales, Dugongs, Manta rays and plenty of other sealife.
So that’s another one on the bucket list ticked off, now to the next one.
September 5, 2017