One final lap, continued

After Karijini, we took a long LONG drive over to Exmouth. It’s a bit of a trick to get to Exmouth from inland. You have to drive south for a good hour or so on the North West Coastal Highway, before then heading west and eventually north again to drive up the long peninsula that is Exmouths home. And then another 70ks to our campsite at Cape Range National Park. 

Exmouth was the site of a US Naval Base for many years although they have recently left. Nice that they feel no longer needed here, but a shame for the scuba divers, because their Navy Pier, over the years, had become an artificial reef, supporting an incredible range of colorful fish. It has been described in several magazines as one of the top ten scuba sites on the planet. It’s closed now, but there are plenty more places to see the sea life. Exmouth lies at the end of the amazing Ningaloo Reef.

You are in the tropics here, and the weather certainly feels like it. Cooler at night but not as frigid as the south. 

Our campsite at Tulki Beach was literally a short sand dunes walk from the sea. The most amazing sunsets, abundant wildlife in the form of kangaroos (we hit one on the way there) emus, dingos and lizards, make for a beautiful site. It was common to see several kangaroos while exiting your tent of a morning.

 
   
A campsite lizard

 
The incredible Ningaloo coast

   
Our tent is the blue one. We had some very friendly neighbors who stopped to talk every evening on their way to “happy hour” at the picnic bench!

  
An amazing sunset on our third evening. But it was like this every night.

Will liked to play in the channels of the creek that occasionally has enough water to run into the sea. I went to find him one day, and found a blue spotted sting ray, as I was kicking around a rock in the shallows of the sea. He was mooching around for food, and flipped his rubbery flat body out of the water when he heard me, taking off at a remarkable speed.

Of course, the most beautiful part of this area is underneath the sea. At Turquoise Bay we snorkeled in an open treasure box of fish, jewels of the ocean. 

  
This has been the best view of His Creation for us this year. It all shows such immense power and yet such intricate and minute design. It’s so mesmerizing that I find myself hanging deep underneath, holding onto a rock to stay down, waiting until the  very last possible moment to kick back up into the sunlight and oxygen, gasping and grateful for what He’s made.

On our trip to Exmouth we also swam with whale sharks, a docile creature the size of a bus that has the title of the largest shark in the world. Brightly spotted over grey, smooth skin, these are incredible creatures, baleen and feeding off of plankton. 

The creatures are so placid, the tour divers could easily assess their path of travel, guiding the snorkelers alongside as it passed. And then you are off, kicking like crazy to try and keep up with this mammoth creature, who seems to be barely exerting any effort at all in its perfect design. After a heart-pounding view minutes, the tour divers call a halt, and we climb back on the boat, puffing and exclaiming noisily about the sight. 

And then another is spotted, and back in we drop, flippers first, off the wooden step, kicking like the tiny little ineffectual human fish that we are.
We have good photos on a flash drive which we will add when we have access again to a laptop.

Here’s Addie on the Three Islands Whale Shark boat. 

  
It was our last stop before getting away from somewhat familiar coastline and heading north into the tropical top-end.

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