It is said that Ningaloo Reef is where Australia’s outback meets the Indian Ocean. In fact, it is the only large reef ecosystem in the world found so close to a continental land mass. On the one hand, the area is remote, yet sophisticated in its offerings. On the other, Ningaloo Reef’s peaceful blue waters are bursting with wildlife. Lots of wildlife! Essentially, there are whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, and whale sharks everywhere!
In addition, more than 500 tropical fish species inhabit Ningaloo Reef along with more than 200 species of coral. In other words, it’s a marine biologist’s dream come true!
Furthermore, if you visit at the right time of year (as we did), you can view the mass coral spawning. This is a 3-day event that begins a week or so after the full moon during the months of March and April. Then, from April to July each year, the HUGE but gentle whale sharks begin to appear in Ningaloo Reef in large numbers.
Swimming with the whale sharks
Ningaloo Reef Whale Shark Swimming Experience
At first, our group was a bit nervous but excited to swim with the whale sharks. We knew that they are the biggest and one of the most gentle fish in the ocean. But, what I did not expect was my reaction to the majesty of these creatures. They are simply amazing!
Of course, we had our safety talk about how to interact with the whale sharks properly and then began to socialize and wait for a sighting. Above us, there was a seaplane that was tasked as the lookout for the whale sharks. After an hour, one was spotted and the boat quickly headed over to the area while we put on our snorkeling gear.
Because of the location of Ningaloo Reef, snorkeling with the whale sharks is rather easy. As a result, it’s a perfect excursion for families as you don’t need scuba equipment or to be certified.
Quickly, the group participants entered the water. Then, when it was my turn to enter, I found myself directly above the whale shark. I was startled at its grace. So often, we are taught to fear the unknown, especially if it’s something bigger than you. But, as I looking down at this immense, graceful whale shark, my soul was stirred.
I was so happy to see this almost 35-foot beauty! I just wanted to stay with it for as long as possible. It was patient – almost posing for photos. It was tranquil and it was noiseless. Alas, my time with the whale shark was shortlived as it was time to get back onto the boat. Then, unfortunately, my seasickness then kicked in quickly thereafter. So, the sightings for the rest of the day were not in the cards for me. However, the memory will stay with me for a lifetime.
For this experience, we recommend staying at Sal Salis, which is an eco-luxury tented camp offering service and style in the World Heritage listed Cape Range National Park. Contact us for more package options.