Crabs and Ospreys

Wed. 29th May 2019

Looking back at Coral BayOnce we start something we have to finish it, and so it was with the walk to the reef shark nursery. The only instructions we had were to head north along the shore for 15 minutes or so. The shore was very rocky and it was not easy walking but we kept going to the destination despite Dave catching his toe as he slipped on a rock (he will live but the toe nail suffered). Once we reached a sign explaining the sanctuary, a sheltered shallow bay where the sharks can be seen Sept to Mar. Needless to say there was not a shark in sight, a few birds along the shore was all there was.

Green crabStill it helps us towards our step target before we head north to Exmouth to explore the northern part of the Ningaloo Reef. On the walk back to town I got excited by a group of crabs sunning themselves in the rocks. What vivid colours, surprisingly I think they are European green crabs. The walk back also gave us good views of Coral Bay resort. We have enjoyed our time here, even though it is a busy full on resort with holiday makers of all ages enjoying the beach. Like the rest of WA everyone is so friendly. The couple we spoke to whilst walking to the nursery were having coffee in the bakery when we arrived to order Dave’s morning coffee fix and we struggled to escape the chatter!

And then two ospreys come at onceOne last sight to visit before we move on was the osprey nest we had seen from the bus yesterday on the way back from the boat jetty. One of the wind turbines had been dismantled for maintenance and before it could be reassembled an osprey had built its nest there. With my 100 to 400mm lens we were able to get close enough for photos without spooking the birds. Result!

Termite mounds are hugeThe next creatures to get the photo treatment were the termites and luckily my camera did the business again. As soon as we stopped and opened the car door the flies swarmed in. I could not stand still long enough to press the shutter without flies in my eyes and ears. This also reinforced the thought that we would not stop for our picnic en route at a rest area in the middle of the countryside. So a late lunch was the order of the day and soon after we are all checked in. Apparently, Exmouth only came into existence in the 1960s as a town for the US troops stationed here. It does have a more modern feel to it than other towns in WA and certainly than Coral Bay. 

Vlamingh Head LighthouseTo save some time tomorrow we head out to the northernmost point of the cape to see what remains of SS Mildura a 2,217 ton vessel. It was en route from Kimberley to Fremantle with 498 cattle on board when it ran aground on the reef in 1907. The poor cattle had to swim the 1km to shore and as they are not known for their swimming prowess most did not make it. The wreck is visible from the shore but not very photogenic.The timing of the shipwreck helped the Cape’s cause in getting a lighthouse built. So Vlamingh Head Lighthouse was built in 1912 and has a spectacular position on top of the hill with views all around the cape. This includes the thirteen radio masts, the highest being taller than the Eiffel Tower.

A history lessonThe light on top of one of the towers has replaced the lighthouse for warning shipping of the reef. The guide book says the panoramic view makes it a popular place to watch the sunset and it was getting busy with vehicles parked everywhere. With the clear sky this evening we were not anticipating a sunset to match the last few days, so we headed to our new home. We are staying in a comfy well equipped one bed apartment for three nights with its own personal bbq in a sheltered seating area. This is going to suit us well.

View from the lighthouse looking north to the end of the cape

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