Snorkeling in Turquoise Bay

10 Apr

The original plan for today was to SCUBA dive off the Exmouth Navy Pier, which is ranked in the world’s top 10 best dive sites (according to scubatravel.co.uk)! Unfortunately no one is diving there for the next couple of days, so instead we signed up for the dive at the Muiron Islands, which has wall diving, swim throughs and caves. But when we got back to our hostel last night, there was a note on our door from the dive center. We went to the shop to see what was going on and they told us that the dive had been changed to a whale shark snorkeling trip, but that we could dive at the snorkel sites. So we obliged and met up with them this morning. The crew was grumpy at first then threw on some fake smiles when we got to the boat. The trial snorkeling site was pretty weak, and it ended up raining while we were there. Trip cancelled! We all went home and got a refund. I was so relieved we weren’t going to be held hostage with that crew! Britt and I sought shelter in the pub for some lunch, and within a couple hours there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky… amazing!

We were both pretty tuckered out, but decided to go snorkeling at Turquoise Bay off of Cape Range National Park, which is about a 15 minute drive farther than the boat ramps used for the whale shark tours. We felt obligated to see the reef there because so many people had told us about how great it is, but loads of people also told us about their near drowning experiences due to the high currents that have been known to sweep people out into the sea. Even our map had a warning sign saying, “dangerous currents may occur.” We stepped into the water a little ways down the beach so that if we ended up getting caught in the current, we would still have a fighting chance to swim back to the beach before the peninsula ended. Of course as soon as we got in the water, we couldn’t figure out what everyone was talking about. It was perfect!

Turquoise Bay gets my approval

The reef was only 15-20m off the beach. And the entire time I was snorkeling there, I don’t think I went any deeper than 5m. I’ve never been a huge fan of snorkeling because I find it awkward and limiting, but this place totally changed my mind. Similar to the snorkeling sites we went to off the boat yesterday, this reef was full of colorful marine life that was easily visible from the surface!

unicorn fish

picasso triggerfish

cornetfish / smooth flutemouth / whiptail

blue-spotted stingray

In addition to all the fun little creatures, there were some more exciting larger ones swimming around as well…

white-tip reef shark

black-tip reef shark

stingray with about a 2m wingspan

I would have like to have stayed a bit longer in Exmouth so I could dive the Navy Pier and Muiron Islands, but we’re leaving tomorrow 😦

For next time!!!

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