29 June 2008

Ningaloo Reef June 08 - (Part 1- Snorkel with Whale Sharks)

My experience of a lifetime was to snorkel with whale sharks at the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. This is the only place that whale sharks congregate regularly at a certain time of the year, which is April-July.

Despite it looking massive, this whale shark is actually pretty small for one. It is only about 4.5m long!

We were extremely fortunate to see a female whale shark! The probability of them appearing is 1 in 10! Furthermore, it was actually opening its mouth wide and frantically feeding. The guide on the boat said that he had never seen this happening since 4 years ago, as whale sharks usually just glide along and eat the plankton along the way.

You can tell a female whale shark from a male one by looking at its tail. A female's tail is "torn" at the end.

The photos were taken by my dad! Enjoy!

28 June 2008

Ninglaloo Reef June 08 (Part 2 - Snorkel at Mandu South)

Ningaloo Reef is a fringing coral reef located off the west coast of Australia, approximately 1200 km north of Perth. The reef is 280 km long and is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass.

It is known for its seasonal feeding concentrations of the whale shark, and the conservation debate surrounding its potential tourism development. In 1987 the reef and surrounding waters where designated as the Ningaloo Marine Park.

We stayed at an eco-camp during our trip to the Ningaloo Reef. It is located at Mandu South within the Cape Range National Park. The camp has a great snorkeling site just infront of it and that is very convenient for us! We could practically snorkel anytime :)

...the eco camp site

...view from our tent

...me coming out from the sea after snorkelling

We saw many corals during the trip, especially staghorn and tabletop corals. Aren't they pretty?

We also saw lots of fishes, turtles and even small sharks!!!