Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coral Bay experience (1) - First impression

Well, finally, I am ready to start blogging again. I was on holiday at Coral Bay, "the southern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park", for a week. I only got back to Perth last Sunday evening, after sitting 16 hours on the bus.

Did I have a good time? Yes! Why wouldn't I when the most important decision every morning was simply where to snorkel! And when I could be in the water two hours every morning and three hours every afternoon. Was it too short? YES! Were there moments that were less than perfect? Yes, unfortunately, but that's for the next post, or the one after.

For this first post, I would like to say just a little about my first impression of Coral Bay.

What the ...? I was a little disappointed when I first hit the water. I have seen too many documentaries that I expected crystal clear waters and madly colorful corals. But unfortunately, the underwater visibility was not that impressive. It was not very turbid but neither was it clear, even at midday. And madly colorful corals? Not what I first saw.
By the way the fish is a scissortail sergeant (Abudefduf sexfasciatus).

Colorful corals? Colored, yes. Colorful, not really. When I snorkeled near the shore (up to 50 m or so from shore), most corals I saw were quite dull in color and many were bleached or have turned into dead rocks too. When I talked to someone at the backpackers, he seemed not surprised and told me that I shouldn't compare these with the Great Barrier Reef.

Not very attractive. But they would have at least looked better in the photo if the water was clearer.

Although not colorful, I am glad that they were at least growing. And there wasn't a fish line entangled in them.

A sad sight. When I saw this, I just couldn't believe that this is part of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. "Rubbles" was the word that came to mind.

As I explored the floor of the main beach further, I began to find more colors.

These were nice. But you won't find many of them around.

So, my first day of snorkeling wasn't that interesting. I didn't see what I have expected to. Most corals I saw were dull. And the water wasn't that clear. Why? I really have no idea. Is it because I was snorkeling at the main beach, where most people snorkel and where there is a boat ramp? Too much disturbance for the corals?


mick said...

A most interesting post. An interesting area to visit I am sure - even if you didn't see the 'perfect' reef life you had expected.

Mosura said...

Welcome back!

It may not have been what you expected but I'm sure you had a great time and found lots of interesting marine life.

Do you know what those things in the second shot are? The ones that look like an emu egg and a grapefruit.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Thanks, Mick & Alan.

The emu egg and grapefruit are both corals. They are about 50 cm across. These coral balls are pretty common there.

Mosura said...

Thanks for that.

Oh and I wrote grapefruit but I meant rock melon - not that it matters :-)

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Chai,
Re the not-colourful corals, I have heard that the bright colours we see on TV are because of special light the cameramen carry with them. Maybe Infra-red? Not sure. I have only once seen tropical corals in the Whitsunday Islands, in Qld, and they looked to the naked eye just like the ones you have there.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

I guess you have a point there, Denis.

At the moment, I just depend on natural light when I am underwater. I don't even use the built in flash so that I won't drain the batteries too fast and so that I won't get a backscatter effect.