West Coast 02-05-08

Friday May 2nd is another fine sunny day.  We have a rest day of sorts - nothing planned.  While we are at Exmouth for 5 full days, we have booked activities on 4 of them.  This is our day to do what we want.  We head out mid morning, heading North.  The communications base in intriguing.  There are many large towers there, well fenced off and one road in that has a gate house.  We learn that this is the way to the Navy pier which we can see from the nearby beach.  We see it better in a few days when we take the boat out to Lighthouse bay for some diving.  The pier is very large and can accommodate a Collins class submarine comfortably.  Only one dive operator has the contract to dive the pier and the cost is around $120 for one dive and $180 for two.  It is described as one of the top 10 shore dives in Australia (and by some as one of the top 10 shore dives in the world).  We don't dive it this trip.  It will have to wait for the next time

We visit a sandy point where we can view the wreck of the Manildra.  She was a cattle carrying ship that came too close and ran aground on the reef.  She lies upright across the reef in very shallow water.  The ribbing and boiler are clear to see from the beach.  From here we drive round to the Lighthouse.  It has been closed for many years, being replaced by a light on one of the communication towers.  There is a lovely caravan  park here.  It is clearly quite popular.  From here, heading South down the West coast there are many, mostly dirt roads that lead across to isolated beaches.  The beaches are clean and smooth and the water warm and calm, being sheltered from the seas by the surrounding reefs.  During our stay, the water was 27oC and the air temperature up to mid 30's Celsius.  It was humid, and in places the flies are very friendly.  Sunscreen and repellent are both necessary.  The road enters the National park where there is a small fee to enter.  You can also arrange camping sites at some of the beaches from here.

We stop at the Heritage centre, a specially designed building that is very sympathetic with the environment.  It houses interesting displays on local flora and fauna.  The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful.  We were directed to Turquoise Bay which is just superb for snorkelling.  There are two areas, one to the North where beginners will be comfortable.  This is shallow, clear and clean with little water movement.  There is a lot to see, especially at the most right had end towards the rocks where there are lovely corals and fish.  We snorkelled happily here for an hour before hunger stepped in.  We had brought salad rolls that we bought at the local baker.  There is large shaded area with benches where we sat with a very mixed group of backpackers.  The salad rolls were delicious.  After lunch we move across to the southerly part of Turquoise Bay.  This is the drift snorkel.  The current runs South to North along this coast here.  With a bit of care, you can swim out 30-50m and drift with the current over the most wonderful bommies and corals that you can see without scuba.  These are alive with all sorts of fish of all sizes, including a turtle (see pic) and a reef shark.  The current is not so strong that you can't swim against it if you want to have a really good look at something.  The only concern is to keep an eye on where you are in relation to the beach.  At the North end of this part of the bay there is a sandy bar and this is where the current changes direction and heads out to sea.  You need to be back at the beach well before here to ensure you don't get pulled out to sea.  The risk is low as long as you keep an eye on the beach and plan your return, leaving enough time to swim across the current back to the beach.  We did this drift 3 times, finding it most enjoyable and would have done more except that dusk was approaching fast.  After packing up we thought we would stay and watch the sunset.  It was a most beautiful sunset (see pics).  The we headed back.  Well, we had not considered the number of roos on the way back.  They were everywhere and frequently jumped across the road, virtually right in front of the car.  It would be easy to hit one.  We traveled the 70km back at a max speed of 40km/hr, regularly having to brake suddenly due to roos. 

We didn't get any further South, certainly no where near Yardey creek, nor the wonderful ranges that run down the coast. 

Whaleshark swim
West Coast 02-05-08
Murion Islands  04-05-08
Lighthouse Bay 05-05-08
Sea Kayaking 06-05-08
Monkey Mia 30-04-08
Floats 03-05-08


Mildura wreck


broken fencing near lighthouse

radar tower


lighthouse bay


plaque on lighthouse





fish under bommie

sunset at Turquoise Bay




Home | Whaleshark swim | West Coast 02-05-08 | Murion Islands  04-05-08 | Lighthouse Bay 05-05-08 | Sea Kayaking 06-05-08 | Monkey Mia 30-04-08 | Floats 03-05-08

This site was last updated 06/07/09