Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Day 06: Exmouth

Lovely beach at Exmouth. Lots of coral reefs, so was snorkelling all day long here. Saw some blue-spotted stingrays and some black tip reef sharks. Didn't manage to see or swim with turtles, though. A couple in our group did.

Oh well...I guess I shouldn't bother Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello too much anyway (in case you're wondering who they are, they're the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Turquiose Bay.

Preparing to snorkel at the reefs.

Just beautiful!

I could swim here every day!

A gigant lobster having Martin for lunch!

But I rescued my man with just my bare hands ;o). No, actually, it was just an empty lobster shell we found lying on the beach. I'm sure it would have made a very tasty and sumptuous meal ;o).

Saw this blue-spotted sting ray a few times. So cool!

Lunch time! Hungry like a pack of wolves after all the swimming. All meals were included in our outback tour, so we never had to worry about going hungry.

An emu at our lodgings! (not me; the animal thingy behind me!)

Mmm...if this fella is running towards me, maybe I should start running away from it... .

No worries, though - French Fries (Mickael) to the rescue! I think he scared off the emu. My hero... .

That's right, SHOO!

Bus ride to the lighthouse to catch the sunset!

We were running a little late, so we did miss it a little.

Breathtaking fire, nevertheless.

Perfect place to propose at!

Seemed that Italian Stallion liked to stick his tongue out at anything that moved... .

The lighthouse.

Ningaloo babes.

Us with a Ningaloo babe (it's their t-shirt that said "Ningaloo").

His beer cooler said "BOOBS"...and I think that was exactly what he needed!

And boobs was what he got! He wanted to be a Ningaloo babe too...but I don't think he'll succeed looking like that.

Fun, games and chit-chat. Social time as usual.

Serious business now: playing Black Jack.

Not with money, though.

Roberta's last night with us :o(. Funky belt she had, huh ;o)?

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Day 05: Coral Bay to Exmouth

Finally a day where we could get up at a decent time! This day was rather exciting, because we were going to go snorkelling, and in particular, with manta rays! These rays are from the same family as the sting rays, but their tails are not poisonous at all, unlike their sting ray cousins. Also, they are the largest and most harmless rays in the world, and are often very curious creatures. Some are known to grow up to 7.6m from wing tip to wing tip! Yet despite its size, they are extremely graceful as they glide in the water. Oh, and VERY fast too!

This "Manta Ray tour" costed AUS$130 per person and the reason why this activity was quite pricey was because they sent out a plane ahead of the boat to spot these rays. Sightings are therefore 95% guaranteed, since we'll only swim in the areas they are already in. Well worth the money, especially since we saw around 4 or 5 of them that day! Not just swimming, but also feeding :o).

On our boat, waiting in anticipation.

I guess this little fella wanted to watch too!

Going in for a "test" swim, so that we're sure our snorkelling gear is a good fit for us.

Testing, testing, testing... .

Lots of fish in the sea.

Long snakey ones too!

Getting a briefing from our diving guide.

Can't wait!

There it is!!! See that black shadow in the waters?!

Closer view.

Still there!

Preparing for our turn.

Feeling very excited!

It's all good!

Following our guide.

What do we see?

A big guy!

This one was "barelling". Basically, doing underwater somersaults. That's what they do when they're feeding. They feed mainly on plankton and small schooling fish.

They look very intimidating, huh? Am glad these "bat fish" do not eat humans.

Its underside, showing its gills from where it breathes through.

We managed to see so many of them, but soon it was time so say "Goodbye", so away they swam! Bye, bye, big guy!

A video clip for you to see how they do their "barelling" or feeding.

Time to reluctantly get back on our boat.

Next was to check out a shark cleaning station!

Yup, I swam with these white tip reef sharks too. Martin didn't want to do it (chicken ;oP!), so he stayed back on the boat. The sharks were getting cleaned at the "cleaning station" by small fish which pick parasites off the gills and skin of these sharks. Quite funny to watch, because it was as if the sharks were visiting the dentist when they opened their mouths to get cleaned up.

Back at the boat again, this time heading back to land.

Beautiful waters, huh? We actually also saw a couple of dolphins and big turtles on the way back. Would have liked to swim with the dolphins, though.

Finally back on land.

Clear shallow waters.

Simply picture beautiful.

Quad bikes. There was another tour you could do instead of the manta ray tour, and it was to drive these quad bikes and stop at a couple of snorkelling spots. Maybe we'll try that next time.

Gigantic termite mound! Saw quite a few of these on the way to Exmouth.

Dinner that night was spaghetti bolognese! Good that we had an Italian in our group...although I'm not sure if looking at the meat lustfully is part of the cooking process.

Mushrooms are indeed key ingredients.

As usual, some social time after dinner.

See the thunderstorm in the background? Was quite striking... .

Me with Rebecca (English) and Anthea (Australian).

Happy couple.

Liz (English) and me.

Andrea (Italian) and Anthea. Boogie on the tables.

Jonathon. Frenchy here was pretty good at this. Some real musical talents in our group.

Such as me and my digeridoo. Am I good, or what? Ok, actually, it's good that you can't hear me, 'cos I suck. I mean, I blow... . Yeah, yeah...whatever; I SUCK at BLOWing, ok? But I do look like a pro, don't I ;o)?

He was the real pro (our talented driver). Amazing sounds.

Am I becoming an alcoholic???

Ended the night at the beach. Didn't have my swim suit on though, so no swimming for me.

Can you see the Southern Cross? Click to see it bigger.

That's what's on the Australian flag too.

But yeah, what an exhausting but absolutely FUN day it had been! Time to go to bed and hit the beach again the next day for more snorkelling :o).