Looking West from the boat ramp into a threatening sky, the Ningaloo reef protects the Bay
Coral Bay is 150 km south of Exmouth, in the middle of the Ningaloo Marine Park, sheltered from the Indian Ocean by Australia’s second largest Coral Reef.
Atop the sand dune that separates the Caravan park from the beach showing the sweep of the section of the bay called Maud’s sanctuary.
This reef runs closer to the shore than the Great Barrier reef – about a 20 minute paddle in a kayak actually and in the protected water behind it coral grows along the beach within a couple of metres from the shore.
The last boats are leaving the reef for the sanctuary of the very new boat launching ramps south of Coral Bay
Mingling of cold and warm water currents here means an enormous variety of sea creatures. We missed the whale sharks and the dugongs but there are huge manta rays, turtles and reef sharks that you can swim amongst in an amazing “octopuses garden” of coral formations all year round. The town itself is a small resort/hotel, two caravan parks and some tourist shops – that’s it! Not even a school – workers here mostly live in the parks and if they have kids either home school them or send them 150 km each way to school in Exmouth by bus. Therefore most employees are backpackers.
It is not just the water that shows a diversity of life. The sand dunes themselves look arid from a distance, but closes up these were plenty of small wild flowers to photograph but the butterflies were a little too fast and flighty for this photographer.