West Coast Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: April 2007
I persuaded my wife to get in the water. Then the Captain had us get in a semicircle and he dropped the head of the Sea Brim we caught earlier today into the water. The Grouper finally got brave enough to come up and swallowed the head whole right in front of us. Wow!!!
We treated John to coffee and ice cream after the trip for saving my wife. John used to work for World Com in Pittsburgh, but lost his job a few years ago in reorganization. He has been traveling around the world ever since.
On April 6 we went for a walk on the beach before sun-up. We checked-out the Fairy Terns that are always sitting on floaters near shore.
On the morning snorkel trip our first stop was at the Coral Gardens. My wife was still feeling knacked from yesterday, so she skipped it. There was a vast profusion of corals -- the plate corals always intrigue me, as do the petal corals and stag horns with blue tips. So many fish!
Our next stop was the Manta extravaganza. Manta Rays are actually the fourth largest Shark - not a Ray. The water temp today was 79F.
We divided up into groups like at the Whale Shark snorkel. My wife decided to watch from the top of the boat and try to get some pictures.
The first Manta Ray we saw was a pacer. When I got in the water, I was immediately over top the Manta Ray. It swam off with the guide chasing it. I didn't try to sprint after it like everyone else. Pretty soon, the Manta came back to check me out. I had a really good look as it approached, swam under me, turned around, and headed back toward me. Then it dashed off, only to return in a minute or so to see why I was so far behind. It did this five times over 10 minutes, until we had to get out of the water so the next group could see the Manta Ray.
While we were resting on the boat, the Captain spotted another Manta Ray close by -- so back in the water my group went. This Manta was in a rest mode. It stayed pretty much in one area while its crew of cleaner fish gave it a good going over. After 10 minutes we got out and let the next group have a crack it the Ray.
When it was our turn again, my wife decided to get in the water. But by now, the Manta was actively feeding again -- so the guide and passengers had to chase after it. My wife and I returned to the boat along with another young man who thought chasing the Manta was not to his liking either. I thought the Manta was around 16 ft from wing tip to wing tip.
After lunch, we went to an area with Turtle Grass. We spotted a dozen Green Sea Turtles on the surface.
Our last snorkel was near the outer edge of the reef. Most of the passengers went with the guide, thru a break in the reef, to where you could see Reef Sharks. It sounded like too much distance and current for us, so we had a good snorkel with the fish and coral around the boat.
To celebrate our adventure, we had ice cream from the dive shop restaurant (everything else in town was closed for Good Friday). My wife had a scoop of Chocolate and a scoop of Rum Raisin. I had a Connoisseur Sundae -- a scoop of Cookies and Cream, Strawberries and Cream, and Berries and Cream in a glass lined with chocolate syrup and topped with Whipped Cream and nuts.
On Good Friday we heard the WA Police were targeting people not wearing seat belts -- it's a $500 fine. They also are going after people driving 45Km over the speed limit (that would be over 100mph)!
To celebrate Good Friday, the Australians at the resort got rip-roaring drunk. This morning the garbage collection bins were overflowing with beer and wine bottles. A table on the veranda near our room was full of bottles, purses and high heal shoes.
It took a long time to get the snorkel stuff packed up, so we didn't get off till 8:15. It was already HOT. It was soooooo hot (102F) that the Little Crows were sitting on posts panting. It was so hot that Richard's Pipit was standing in the shade of a speed limit sign (at least they are good for something).
The drive on April 7 to Exmouth (just say X-Mouth) was thru Termite Mound territory -- really big ones. I don't know what they eat, since there is practically nothing out here.
Closer to Exmouth, things started to green-up a little, thanks to the recent cyclones. We saw heaps of Nanking Kestrels on the road. They are so prominent that they named a road in Exmouth after them.
Exmouth is as far NW as you can go in Australia. From now on, we will be going NE.
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