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Swim with the fishes

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 20 August 2007 | Views [1294]

Oyster Stacks

Oyster Stacks

Here’s an expression with a double meaning, but when used in its original sense, it can be an unforgettable experience. This one started some time ago with a friend of mine while sipping a bottle of good wine. Having visited Australia before, he was recommending places. Among them was a marine park he had forgotten the name but was nevertheless able to pinpoint on a large-scale map. And according to the map I’d been studying in Broome, it had to be my next point of interest.


Ningaloo Marine Park- that’s the place's name - is on the Exmouth Peninsula, roughly halfway between Broome and Perth. It’s a mighty long distance, going from desperately empty bush to seemingly lifeless deserts, all of it swept by never-ending winds, punctuated by lost in the middle of nowhere service stations. Distances are really incredible in Western Australia, and 300 km usually gets you nowhere!


But perseverance has its rewards, and I eventually made it to Exmouth, a city whose rather recent existence here is due to the nearby Naval Communication Station. But the surrounding natural beauties made it a real tourist magnet over the years. It is only 30 odd km from the entrance of probably the most beautiful park I visited so far in Australia. The feeling of the warm white sand on the sole of my feet, warm turquoise water, an incredible coral reef, a set of fins, and a mask were the recipe for a truly unique experience. I have been snorkeling in many places already, but never had I been able to swim with a shark. A blacktip reef shark of about a meter and a half, and even if he was shy, I was able to follow him for a couple of minutes. It was all magical, and I had shivers when I got out of the water. Add to this another premiere when I encountered a turtle, then some stingrays, or listened to a parrotfish bite off chunks of coral with its beak, not mentioning the hundreds of different and colorful coral fishes, and the result is perhaps some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever done. And looking back, I wonder why I didn’t stay a little longer…

To see more pictures, click here.

Tags: ambassador van, shark, snorkeling, the great outdoors


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