(Wednesday – no Tuesday)
Its been a while since I’ve been to Coral Bay – the last time I was here was in 1992 just before the Eagles won their first GF. Before that I came here with Mum, Dad and Brad as a kid where we had fun on surf cats with the Hawke Brothers.
This time I came by sea on a slightly bigger cat. We set off from Gnarloo at 8.30am after dislodging a gaint piece of coral from our anchor chain – the legacy of swinging off two anchors. We got a nice SE to push us up the coast. We thought about going in the Southern entrance (Yalobia Passage), but were put off by the warnings even though Royce (sans me) took Camelot through on his way down to Perth.
As we neared Coral Bay we started to get mobile and internet access back. Very exciting. Interesting how you get dependent on it after a while to stay connected.
So it was off to the northern entrance (Cardabia Passage) and then down to Maud’s Landing. The wind had increased to over 20kts at this stage so our choice was to reef or to motor the last couple of miles in. We took the lazy option. It made quite a long day by the time we anchored at 5.30pm.
Next morning we took the dingy into the beach and headed into town. We took the beach route (there’s a dirt road as well) and it took us an hour to get around to the settlement. It was just past high tide so a lot of the beach was under water and we had to wade our way around bushes and over rocks at times. Its a bit of a pain that you can’t even get a dingy within one a half kilometres of the settlement. There’s an exclusion zone for non-authorised vessels right around Coral Bay, and the nearest moorings/anchorages are at Maud’s Landing and Monck Head. And then there is only one suitable mooring and no anchorage at Monck’s Head and Smiley had that.
Coral Bay has changed quite a bit since I’ve been there. One caravan park is now two caravan parks. And holiday units – one and two storey everywhere. One shop has become two – one of which is called a supermarket. The prices however haven’t changed. 95c for a potato! So one mocha, one pie and sauce, one apple turnover, one gaint sandwich and one iced coffee later suggested my sweet tooth had kicked back into action.
Next stop was the Dive Shop where I booked a whale shark dive with Stuat and Magda from Smiley for Saturday (tomorrow). Looking forward to that. If the spotter plane doesn’t find one then we get another trip for free.
Thursday was designated a boat job and snorkelling day. We re-attached the ceiling that had parted ways with the velco that was holding it up and came crashing down, narrowly missing a bottle of champagne. Disaster averted by mere millimetres. In order to ensure our champagne would be safe in the future, we added 5 screws to make sure it definitely stayed there in the future. John would be pleased – he thought we should have done this last time rather than adding extra velcro.
The afternoon snorkel was very exciting. We took the dingy out to an interesting bit of channel and off we went. The coral initially looked very disappointing with much of it dead but then we swam out to a point and the fish life was incredible. Heaps of snapper, emporors, parrot fish and a shark. Michael saw a second but Elaine and I both missed it. Great place to fish except it was a sanctuary zone so dinner wasn’t coming from here.
Time for a bit of exploring, snorkelling and fishing so off we went North to Stanley Pool. What a beautiful place. A deep (15m) pool surrounded by shallower sandy bits. And really clear water. Beautiful to swim in (we jumped in as As I write, Elaine and Michael have taken the dingy off to the reef (about 1nm away) and I’m hoping they will come back with a dingy load full of snapper and emporer.