What we ultimately wanted to experience during our visit to Exmouth was being able to get up close to the largesf fish in the world, the Whale Shark. We were picked up just after 7:00 from our hotel and on the way to the dock, Alana, one of our guides, told us about the history of Exmouth. Interestingly, the town was built by the Americans in 1964 as part of the Harold Holt Communications Centre. So it was an American outpost, gradually became jointly contolled and ultimately, was totally handed to Australia. Today, tourism is big here and the World Heritage Ningaloo Reef is the main attraction.
We reached the boat operated by Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours and had our introductory snorkel by 9:00. We had been told to expect a good day with the calm ocean conditions. Within half an hour, the spotter plane sighted sharks and off we went to deep ocean side of the reef. We got our wetsuits and fins ready to go.
It wasn’t long before we were in the water, swimming alongside these majestic giants. Over the next few hours we met three different whale sharks, one of them a female eight metres
(25 feet) long! Sometimes we were within three metres, though the tour staff in the water kept us at a safe distance. When these creatures leave the scene they usually dive to huge depths, like 2,000 metres. No one knows how they withstand the deep pressures on their bodies and no one has seen them give birth. So they are indeed somewhat of a mystery.
What is known is that they are not harmful to humans. They consume plankton with their huge mouths but they have tiny throats and could never swallow a human. Unfortunately, the day had to end. We were tired and a bit sore from lifting ourselves onto the dropp-off board at the stern of the boat. It was all worth it and a thank you to the great job done by Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours. https://www.kingsningalooreeftours.com.au/
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