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Have you ever ever needed to swim with manta rays? Then Coral Bay on the Coral Coast of Western Australia is the place to go!
Swimming with manta rays in Coral Bay was one of many highlights of our journey round Australia. Positioned on the shores of the world well-known Ningaloo Reef, which is legendary for being a thriving residence to whale sharks, wobbegongs, and a number of other species of reef shark – to say our expectations have been excessive was an understatement.
It’s stated that manta rays swim within the bay of Coral Bay all 12 months spherical. And since they’re filter feeders, they’re protected to swim with.
If you happen to’ve thought of swimming with manta rays however undecided what to anticipate, right here is our expertise swimming with these magnificent creatures.
The place is Coral Bay?
Coral Bay is positioned on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, and is a 1.5 hour drive (151 km) from Exmouth Western Australia and 11.5 hours drive from Perth.
You may get excursions out to Coral Bay from Exmouth Marina or from Coral Bay – although anticipate excursions from Exmouth to take a full day, whereas you possibly can take a half day tour from Coral Bay and find time for different actions.
Our Expertise Swimming With Manta Rays at Coral Bay
“Okay everybody, put your gear on, she’s heading this fashion. Get within the water as shortly and quietly as you possibly can and comply with me, I’ll be protecting close to it so you possibly can monitor it.”
Finned ft started shuffling in all instructions to the again of the boat. Nobody needed to overlook the possibility to swim with these sleek underwater butterflies.
I turned to assist Kalyra put her snorkel on and he or she began to have a type of meltdowns. The snorkel wasn’t on to her liking and so the frustration started to vent as wails. She wouldn’t take heed to my calm, sage recommendation.
One after the other, the others on the boat slipped within the heat Australian waters and began swimming. Quickly, we have been left on our personal.
We got here all this method to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and paid some huge cash to sit down on a ship and undergo a tantrum. The others have been swimming behind the manta and getting farther from the boat.
We couldn’t catch up now. We lastly acquired the snorkel sorted and sat on the sting of the boat.
Holding arms we counted to 3 and slipped in.
We put our faces within the water and there was the manta ray’s face only some ft away swimming in the direction of us. We each squealed, “manta ray!” It turned and we swam to maintain up.
Fairly quickly the others had caught up and overtook us and the manta slipped away. Making an attempt to swim quick whereas holding onto a seven 12 months previous is not any straightforward feat.
“Did you see that Mummy? We have been so near it. That was superb.”
Kalyra, she determined it was too chilly and waved the boat down to select us up. She’d seen the manta ray up shut and that was sufficient. No extra chasing was wanted, which was fantastic information for me because it meant I may return in to swim with the manta ray alone.
Due to the kerfuffle getting Kalyra prepared, I forgot to show the Gopro on so completely missed that second when the manta got here as much as say hello.
We’d joined the tour early that morning from Coral Bay and hadn’t sailed very far out in the direction of the outer Ningaloo reef when the manta ray was noticed swimming the crystal clear turquoise water the Ningaloo Marine Park is thought for.
It was simply Kalyra and I on this tour because it was costly so we have been lowering prices. Craig had opted to do the quad biking tour with Kalyra as a substitute on one other day.
However, we have been fortunate to be doing it with our pals Nikki and Drew, and their daughter Maddie, who is identical age as Kalyra. It was so pretty for Kalyra to be having such a enjoyable time out along with her good friend.
Whereas they performed, I slipped again into the water to swim with the manta once more. I copped a fantastic huge mouthful of diesel fumes on the best way in. Once more the manta got here shut and I began swimming, making an attempt to navigate by way of all of the arms and fins thrashing in my face
I swam across the exterior of the pack and bolted in the direction of the entrance. For the subsequent 5 minutes I swam behind the manta ray marveling at its grace and delighting within the small fish that swam near it’s stomach.
For some cause, I believed that the manta rays would simply come as much as the boat and linger round us whereas we swam with them. I by no means realised it might contain Olympic type races to maintain up with it.
Fairly quickly the diesel fumes mixed with the bodily exertion began to meet up with me and I needed to maintain down the rising must vomit. I pulled away and swam again to the boat.
Man they’re quick, nevertheless it was numerous enjoyable to swim with them. Subsequent time I hope they simply linger!
It was time to let one other tour boat in to swim with the rays so we moved out in the direction of the outer reef for snorkeling.
Kalyra didn’t wish to come again within the water so once more I went exploring the reefs alone. Faculties of lots of of tiny fish got here swimming in the direction of and round me. There have been plenty of waving blue coral out right here and some giant fish poking out and in of the gorgeous coral gardens to eat.
The present was actually robust and I didn’t keep out lengthy as I used to be frightened about drifting distant from the boat and getting caught on prime of the reefs, unable to be rescued.
Lunch was served by the crew. We had chilly meat and salad sandwiches, and though yummy as a result of I used to be ravenous, I felt the lunch unfold wasn’t that nice and will have been higher for what we’d paid for the tour.
There was a considerable amount of time spent driving round and at this stage I used to be making an attempt to determine if the tour was price it (it’s not the most cost effective exercise in Western Aus!)
It undoubtedly wasn’t for Kalyra. If I have been to do it once more, I wouldn’t take her as she solely had that one swim with the reef manta ray and didn’t wish to do the rest. It depends upon the temperament of your little one.
I wasn’t offered on the worth till we stopped at our second snorkel spot.
I used to be fairly chilly by now and this reef was manner out the again close to the outer rim and the breaking waves. It made me slightly nervous to exit and was considering sitting it out.
Then our information stated she’d take us all on a guided snorkeling tour and I’m so glad I went. A guided snorkeling tour is one of the best. You’re feeling a lot safer snorkeling in a gaggle and he or she took us to all one of the best spots stating discoveries alongside the best way.
The one drawback was a couple of kicks to the pinnacle as you’re exploring.
We swam within the channels between big reefs and bombies. It was among the greatest snorkeling I’ve ever accomplished.
We swam above a few inexperienced turtles after which a loggerhead turtle swam so near us, that are rather a lot rarer to see. It was so superior.
The coral was a lot better out right here, vibrant and all sizes and shapes.
We weaved out and in of the reef system for a while delighting in it. One man from the group determined to go off snorkeling on his personal and he noticed a few sharks. So glad I wasn’t snorkeling solo!
FAQs About Swimming with Manta Rays, Coral Bay
Right here’s what folks often ask us about swimming with manta rays in Coral Bay…
What time of 12 months are you able to see manta rays at Coral Bay?
It’s stated that manta rays swim within the bay all 12 months spherical, however one of the best time to see them is from mid-Might to November when there’s stated to be the very best variety of rays. Weekdays are greatest as there are fewer folks on the excursions.
Are you able to swim with manta rays?
Sure, you possibly can swim with them. They have a tendency to feed close to the floor, which implies you possibly can seize a snorkel masks and swim together with them.
Is it OK to the touch a manta ray?
No, they don’t like being touched and can probably swim away.
Are manta rays aggressive to people?
No, they’re light animals and have a peaceful and peaceable nature. They’re recognized to be considerably curious of people, and should swim as much as you, however they’re no hazard to you.
How huge are manta rays?
There are two essential species of manta ray and so they have a wing span of between 4 and 7 meters!
The place to Keep in Coral Bay
If you happen to’re undecided the place to base your self on your manta ray expertise, then I like to recommend staying at Mantarays Ningaloo Seaside Resort, which is the one resort on the seaside at Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.
This family-friendly resort is positioned on Dawn Seaside within the Cape Vary Nationwide Park.
Every of the rooms comes with air con, free Wi-Fi, fridges, and personal loos. Some rooms have a balcony or patio.
You’ll be able to select between 1-2 bed room residences or bungalows. It has a swimming pool, free parking, and is positioned close to many close by points of interest.
Last Ideas on Swimming with Manta Rays in Coral Bay
Ningaloo is an incredible coral reef to go to. You’ll be able to discover it from so near shore and it’s nonetheless so pristine, with fairly low variety of vacationers. We have been the one folks on the market snorkeling.
On the Nice Barrier Reef you’re competing with many.
I had a beautiful excessive after that snorkel and loved the gorgeous views of the white sandy Coral Bay as we sailed again in.
We didn’t see any reef sharks or dugongs, nevertheless it’s potential to see some dolphins and humpback whales taking part in within the waters as you sail again from visiting the mantas if you happen to go to in the course of the winter months.
Kalyra felt she acquired her cash’s price on the finish with all of the lollies she stored sneaking in. She was tremendous excited to run and inform her Dad that she swam with a manta ray up shut.
So was I.
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Have you ever been swimming with sleek manta rays in Coral Bay? What was your expertise like? Tell us within the feedback.