We were thrilled that we could unwind with Steve & Sheila. As always, we were received very warmly and hospitably. We stayed a few days longer than planned, as we were enjoying ourselves again! We decided to go to the casino for a day. Unfortunately, we lost our money this time (luckily not too much). We had a delicious lunch at the Atrium at Crown Plaza. Tasty dishes, fish, oysters, and drinks went down smoothly. The other days, we enjoyed doing absolutely nothing and sleeping heavenly long. I had a lot of sleep to catch up on because I was exhausted.
We said goodbye to Steve & Sheila, and it was finally time to continue our west coast trip. We were excited. Back to warmer weather, as winter is coming. We made a few stops because the entire trip, about 1500km, was just a bit too far. Monkey Mia was not exactly on our way, but we enjoyed ourselves so much last time that we decided to take a break there. It was certainly less warm than two months ago. We were lucky and saw many dolphins close up in the sea! We stayed there for two nights and planned our next stop; Coral Bay. I had to persuade Ely seriously, but he was up for it too. We booked a trip with the Whale Sharks! We drove many kilometers and had enough of the overpriced camping. Just before Coral Bay, we stopped at a free camping spot. Next to us was a French family. We started talking and were invited to play a game in the evening and eat a delicious French crepe. The next day we stayed quietly at our campsite in Coral Bay.
Rested or not, the alarm went off very early. We packed everything up and were expected at the dive shop at 7:15 am. We fitted our wetsuit and got our snorkeling gear. A short ride to the pier brought us to the boat. Once on the boat, we got a short briefing from the captain. After about half an hour of sailing, we arrived at our first snorkeling spot. This was still in the inner reef. The water was very cold, but that did not stop us from jumping in. We saw a lot of fish and coral. The water was super clear! I swam a little further away from the group and was able to spot a reef shark for the first time. I had been waiting for this for a long time. I followed the reef shark for a while but didn’t feel at ease! Quickly I swam back to Ely, super excited! That was already a hit.
We were offered a tasty snack back on the boat, and the real journey began; sailing on the open sea and looking for the Whale Sharks. The spotter plane was already in the air to locate the whale sharks faster. It was a nervous wait. We were already given the whole explanation of what awaited us when the time came. Strict rules have been imposed. You are divided into two groups and get an hour per boat to swim with the animals. After about an hour of sailing, we got good news! A whale shark had been spotted. Just in time because I was starting to feel seriously nauseous. We got ready and were divided into two groups. We were lucky and were in group 1. So, more chance of seeing him. The signal went off, and we jumped into the water. Snorkels on and heads underwater. You don’t really know what to expect in advance, but as soon as you see the whale shark, you are blown away. What a gigantic animal! Unbelievable to be able to swim next to them. Everything goes super fast and hectic. Fortunately, we have enough time to go into the water several times. Ely had seen enough after two times. Easily satisfied, apparently. I enjoyed every moment in the water. Magical! We were so far into the ocean that we only saw black under us in the water. Very strange.
We were offered a delicious lunch and sailed to the second snorkeling spot. This spot was located at the boundary between the inner and outer reef. There was a lot of current, but the water was very clear. We saw a turtle and once again enjoyed a multitude of fish. We witnessed an unseen underwater world, an actual landscape beneath the water with a wall of coral that made the division between the inner and outer reef even more evident. The crew also swam alongside us and frequently dove down.
Everyone started to get tired, and the crew suggested one more snorkel. It quickly became clear that no one else wanted to get in the water. I was eager to go! Ely promptly raised his hand to join me for another snorkel. The two of us and a small group jumped back into the water. Here, we saw several reef sharks and another turtle. On the way back, we were offered a tasty afternoon snack. The captain made two more stops because he had spotted tiger sharks and a loggerhead turtle.
We had an incredible day and enjoyed every single minute. Tired but satisfied, we quickly crawled into our tent.
X Inez & Ely