In the four or five days that we spent in Coral Bay, we must have gone snorkeling most every day. From our hotel the beach was a short 5 minute walk and once you cleared Coral Bay for Paradise Beach, you pretty much had the whole place to yourself. Offshore the bottom of the ocean was covered in sand and continued out for about 50 yards before you hit the reef. Each day as we swam out to the reef we would see some sand rays and I began to notice this little fellow (above). He stood out because he was quite distinguishable with his missing tail. And after we had fed the Snapper some snails on the first day, they continued following us for the rest of the time that we were here; they tagged along like little puppies, watching as we swam, hoping for an additional snack.
From the shoreline the water grew gradually deeper until it was about 4 meters (12’) at the start of the coral reef. The reef was quite thick and extended out to about a mile offshore where the heavy ocean waves broke creating massive white-wash and waves. Most of the snorkelers just swam in this deeper water and looked down at the reef but after the second day I realized that if you continued swimming further and further out to sea the water became more and more shallow until the reef was just two or three feet under the water. In this shallow water the colors of the reef were bright and vivid and I swam around happily for hours on end watching the fish as they swam between the fingers of reef.
The varieties of coral that we saw were endless; red coral, yellow and blue, tall stag coral, fire coral and crazy looking mushroom and dome corals. I didn’t see too many large fish or sharks inside of this protected coral bay but there were plenty of little fish to keep the eyes entertained.
As I look back on my photos I realize that they don’t nearly capture how beautiful this reef was and I didn’t hardly capture all of the things that I saw. I spent too little time photographing and spent much more time swimming and enjoying the fish and the reef. As I think back to Coral Bay and its Ningaloo Reef I have the fondest memories and I would recommend a visit to anyone traveling on the Western Australian coast.
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