Having put the towels saturated after last night’s escapade with the jacuzzi out last night on the verandah, they were bone dry by the morning. Shows how warm it is around here.
Having booked this yesterday online, we were picked up by Glass Bottom Boats PLC (or something like that) in a knackered old VW combi bus, driven by a cheerful extroverted Aussie blonde young lady by the name of Emilia. We picked up some other fellow travellers on the way to Tantabiddi Boat Ramp on the other side of the peninsula, stopping at a viewpoint to view the Mildura shipwreck which foundered here in 1907 whilst trying to avoid a cyclone. It was carrying cattle, most of whom survived, as did all crew members, fortunately. There was also much evidence of humpback whales larking around not too far out at sea. Actually, there is a lot of that round here…..
Tantabiddi, apparently, is an indigenous word meaning “smelly creek”(!) Not much evidence of smelliness, but a definite creek behind us. In front of us, however, was a Glass Bottomed Boat, captained by another cheerful extroverted, although non-blond, Aussie called Todd. Emilia was to be the deck-hand.
The Ningaloo Reef starts only a few hundred metres off shore, and the sights underneath the boat were truly amazing. Pictures simply cannot do them justice, particularly through the glass at the bottom – however, there are a few samples here:
Part of the deal was the opportunity to go snorkelling. Neither Jean nor I are experienced at this, and the sea did look a little choppy. However, we decided to give it a go, although we were both more than a trifle nervous. Todd and Emilia were brilliant at helping us into the water and giving us tips. Managed to get some views of the incredible coral formations and a huge variety of fish, but the experience was spoilt by water seeping into our masks and we were never really comfortable or relaxed. I do wish I was better at this – we have the Great Barrier Reef coming up later in the tour after all. At least we have reacquainted ourselves with what we need to do, but the chances to practise are very limited.
Back to shore, then a visit to the Vlamingh Head lighthouse, completed in 1912 after the Mildura incident referred to above. Not uninteresting, as the views were great and the US transmitting towers could be clearly seen. Some signboards describing the history of the place were very informative.
Emilia dropped us off back at the resort, and we treated ourselves to a light lunch and a beer in the restaurant. However, we are branching out and going to the Potshot Hotel (me neither) for dinner tonight.
Meal at the Potshot was disappointing, unfortunately. Not cheap, either. Jean had a pork chop served on a sizzling stone, which looked good but was apparently very bland. I had a lamb rogan josh which was OK, but not exceptional. The biggest issue really was the level of service – staffed by backpackers who really didn’t know what was going on. However, we got dropped off and picked up from the Mantarays resort with no difficulty, and had a nightcap before retiring to bed.
Should be a straightforward drive to Carnarvon tomorrow.