After a great sleep we are up and excited because today is the day when we will go out on Joel’s boat and swim with Whales at Ningaloo.
First we get to the fab pool again and have a morning wake up dip and then treat ourselves to a square sausage roll for breakfast. We read something we tend to ignore, that is the tide times and winds forecast for the day. We are in luck as it looks pretty good, as if we know anything really. We head out and raid the shops for supplies, ie snacks, beers, cider and Jim Beam. The temperature is about 35 degrees and sunny as usual. We get a text from Joel “5 minutes to pick up”. Yep not only is he taking us out for the day but we are being collected and dropped off!!
We grab all our gear and it must look like we are leaving for a week as we have bags of stuff snorkels, towels, sun oil, fins, food, camera and GoPro. We get outside and see the 4×4 with boat in tow approaching and can’t lie, we are relieved the boat is the size it is. We thought it might have been a tinny and our collective stomachs would have turned. We are also pleased that Joel has brought a friend name Flick with him rather than being stuck with us two oldies for the day. Flick proved her worth during the entire day by being able to do all things regarding the boat and being a fantastic and extremely cool individual who we discovered later makes spectacular canapés.
Joel and Flick get the boat launched off the trailer as we stand pretending to be helping. In no time we are heading out in to the most amazing turquoise water.
We are hardly 10 minutes in to the trip when we spot a manta ray gliding in the water and without hesitation Joel is in the water to see if the Ray will hang around for a play and also that it won’t freak us out. Flick takes over the boat driving and we collect Joel and the three of us get in and swim alongside this amazing creature which moves through the water as if it is flying while we kick like crazy with our fins in snorkels and masks, what a start to the day. Back on board we motor on spot another manta ray which is wider than the boat and has to be four times the size of the one earlier but this ray does not want to play and dives deep and disappears. Whilst this is happening out in the deep water we can see some Hump Back Whales breaching and spouting in large numbers. Joel guns it and we are getting close to them, so much so that we are now in their swimming line and they are heading straight for us. No joke we are shitting ourselves as these things are the size of a house. “Get in NOW” shouts Joel, Kaz and Flick jump in and there is a moment of silence as they float like corks and wait to see what will happen. Then a massive whale and calf swim directly under and miss them both by about one metre and they both dive with heads down to get a view not many people get as mother and baby power on past then break the surface to show their bulk before swimming on. Kaz and Flick return to the boat ready to burst in to tears at the enormity of the experience they have just shared, a pinch me moment for sure.
We motor on a bit and head for a favourite swimming spot of theirs which was pretty good but the wind had picked up a wee bit and is making it a bit of a slog to swim around. We cane this and head out deep again looking to swim with some more Whales and we find plenty but the all seem to turn away or dive deep to avoid us. It is still amazing just being this close to them in the wild and it gives and amazing perspective of scale.
Joel decides we will break and heads in to a sheltered spot as the sun starts to set already and we crack open our food and drinks. Both myself and Kaz are looking around thinking ” how is it that we are here in this moment” very very lucky people indeed.
Flicks canapés do not last long as the drinks flow and the four of us have a collective laugh together and take in the extraordinary scenery on offer. The wind picks up again and before it’s too late Joel makes the decision to get the boat back on to the trailer before dark. We power in to the jetty where we launched from but it’s a bit choppy so we decamp and Flick will drop us off and then meet Joel with the boat at a different jetty. So before we know it the day has been and gone. One thing in the rush we forgot was to do was thank them both properly but we will get the chance to do that Friday as Joel has invited us to his house to watch the Geelong game with a few of his mates. Go Geelong.
PS sorry no pic’s as the camera stuffed up on the boat.