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Osprey Bay

Osprey Bay

Ningaloo Reef

Getting There - Located about 80km from Exmouth, to reach Osprey Bay head north out of town on Murat Road and take a left onto Yardie Creek Road. Follow the signs for Cape Range National Park and keeping driving until you see the turnoff for Osprey Bay on your right (after Sandy Bay). Turn here and follow the road and park in the Small Boat Launch car park. Enter the water at the boat ramp and head out from there.

The Snorkel - Having done a bit of snorkeling during my visits to Ningaloo in 2021 and this trip in 2023, I was keen to explore a few new spots during the latest holiday. One location that popped up in my research was Osprey Bay, and while the masses of coral reef at places like Turquoise Bay or Lakeside are not found here, the grassy beds of this sheltered bay provide valuable food for the turtles of Ningaloo. With a bit of luck I might even see a Dugong but with my fortune when it comes to spotting wildlife, I wasn't counting my sea cows before they hatched. 

Planning a visit a couple of days after a large swell had rolled through the reef, conditions were less than ideal and more akin to being in a washing machine during the spin cycle. With visibility so poor (see first three photos of the above gallery), it was a great shock when I came across a turtle, as I could only spot them when I was a few metres away. I'm not sure who was more shocked, me or the turtles but it was safe to say that it wasn't the best timing for a visit. I did manage to extract a Smirnoff can from the bay and it was pleasing to report that this was one of two pieces of rubbish I saw for the entire week. Returning a couple of days later, after a morning visit to Pilgramunna, the visibility had greatly improved. The turquoise waters looked inviting, so after taking a few snaps of the surrounding area, I donned the snorkeling gear and headed into the water. The rough plan was to do a big loop of the bay but as I've found with snorkeling, my route is mainly determined by what I see in the water. 


The first fish sighting was a Smallspotted Dart, well camouflaged against the white sands near shore. It didn't take long until I spotted my first turtle, and it was quite happy to ignore me, while I maintained a respectful distance. Being the main goal of this snorkel, I was excited to have seen one so early and as it turned out, it was hard not to find one. On my first snorkel here, I found that the bay was mostly covered in grasses but there were patches of coral dotted about the place that provided home for a few species. Little holes in the harder surfaces of the sea floor also provided refuge for one of my favourite fish, the Lagoon or Hawaiian Triggerfish. Heading away from shore and swimming a fair way out, more turtles started to appear and unlike previous snorkels where I might only see the one turtle, I was quite happy to just glide by and observe, rather than follow it for a photo. One group of fish I did want to photo was a school of Blue-tail Mullet, that seemed happy to investigate me from a distance but quickly split up when I looked at them.