Yesterday we arrived in Exmouth following an overnight stop on the side of the road at the Big 4 caravan park where we are booked in for 4 nights. We were trying to get into the national park for an additional 2 nights but it is booked out.

exmouth-family-photo-on-boat

Exmouth is home to the Ningaloo reef. Currently the whale shark season is just finishing and the humpback whales are making their way up the coast. It is also home to 3 marine turtle species which have strong numbers here but are endangered. Their nesting season begins around October and ends in April with he last of the hatchling attempting to make their way to the water.

Exmouth also has a large emu population which ares not afraid of cars and wander around caravan parks.

Today we went on a cruise to the magnificent Ningaloo reef (a fringe reef – for the geographers) for a glass bottom boat tour and a bit of snorkelling. For those heading up this way our cruise was with “Ningaloo Ecology Tours” and this is a wonderful small company that offered real value for money and also has strong social goals. Our bus driver Michelle offered to look after the kids whilst B and I went for a swim.

We were picked up from our caravan park and made our way out to the reef. On the way we stopped at Mildura Shipwreck before being greeted by our skipper, Alek. P wanted to know whether the Captain was like Captain Feathersword of like Captain Hook from Peter Pan?

The kids were so smug when Alek announced “VIPs on first – on you go kids”. Often they have been pushed out of the way by others and were so happy to be allowed to be first on.

Alek’s commentary as we went over the coral reef and explored the marine life was exceptional. Sometimes we forget how much our own kids have learnt – Alek was describing the behaviour of sharks as being nocturnal and P pipes up and tells everyone on the boat – “oh they are like bats”. Someone asked me how old he was and when I told them 3, I think they were a little shocked.
On this trip we were able to see a diverse range of marine life including; parrot fish, barracuda, sting rays, turtles, angle fish etc etc……… Michelle sat with the kids on the floor pointing out fish hiding in the coral.

P loved snorkelling and swimming in the ocean with the fish. G went in for a while but found the strong currents a little difficult. P would not get out and Alek yelled out to B and me, “he is like a fish”.

After we disembarked our vessel the bus took us to the turtle discovery centre and Ningaloo lighthouse in the hope of seeing some humpback whales. B saw one jump out of the water but it is difficult to get photos of these.

G asked Michelle if she could sit at the front of the bus with her. Before we went on this trip there would be no way that G would have the confidence to asked someone if she could do this but as the months have progressed she has been growing in confidence and has become more independent (with some things). G sat up the front asking questions and pointing things out to Michelle as we travelled back to our caravan park.

Source: http://travellinginabox.wordpress.com/2012/08/page/2/