So today was kind of an optional day, we had a choice to hang out in coral bay, kiaiking, snorkeling, swim with manta rays, or swim with the whale sharks. I had heard from a friend that if I was in the area during the running of the whale sharks I should go as it is completely amazing. So when I booked this tour and realized I would be there during this time i was super pumped about being able to doing this once in a life time experience. It was an day excursion, lunch included and it cost me AUS 365. We started off in the early morning, and had about 20 people on our cruise, about 7 from our tour group. How it worked was, at about 1000 am, a plane took off and would cover an area 30 km long, and about 6 km out from the reef. The bad weather that we had in Perth, as well as the not so great weather on the way up had hit Coral Bay, and we found out that the previous three days, there where no whale sharks spotted - possibly due to the bad weather that went through prior to that. We where worried that we wouldn't see any that day, but we all tried to keep our spirits up. As we set off, within 10 minutes, we saw our first shark, but not a whale shark, a tiger shark!!!! I thought it was pretty cool, but two Irish girls that I was with - Ciara and Denise, kinda freaked out a bit!! After about an hour cruising around, we stopped for our first snorkel, just to get used to the water, and getting in and out of the boat. It was a pretty awesome snorkel and saw some really cool coral and fish. We cruised around some more, hoping for a call in from the pilot telling us where the whale sharks where. Nothing. We had lunch at about 1230, sandwiches - the usual for us!! Shortly after lunch we stopped for another snorkel, again, some pretty amazing coral, even spotting some sting rays and turtles. It was getting later in the day and no word yet. Ciara, Denise and I tanned on the front of the boat, just enjoying the nice weather we had. At around 1530 we got the word that we probably weren't going to see any whale sharks, but there was going to be one more snorkel. Sure enough, 1545 the pilot headed inland with no sighting of a whale shark. We where all really disappointed, it was a lot of money for three snorkels and lunch, but I guess it wasn't meant to be :( The last snorkel was pretty amazing though, some of the best coral I have every seen!! Some of the marine life we did see though was, turtles, tiger shark, tawny nurse shark, dugongs, and even a sea snake, which thank goodness we saw from the boat!!
So, yes, no whale sharks.....my dream, heart broken :( The company did give us the DVD of pictures for free as well as a 3 year voucher to come back and swim with the whale sharks again. The chance that many people return to use this voucher is slim, however you never know where I might be next year between March and June, and I may just have to make a special trip out to try again!
After leaving the boat, it was close to 5 and Pete was there waiting with the bus, we hoped on and had a quick look at the beach of coral bay - nothing really all that special and then drove 135 km's to Exmouth. Again, we didn't arrive till late and didn't eat till 2100, which was becoming the norm for us! We had mashers, sausage and steak for supper. Seriously, some of the best food was on this tour and I went back for seconds every time!! I couldn't resist! A bunch of us where pumped from the day still and decided to walk about 20 minutes to the beach. We grabbed a couple beer each and had a grande ole drunk time at the beach! It was one of my first late nights, but not my last!! LOL