Parker Point Snorkel Trail
Directions - Parker Point is found on the south side of Rottnest Island on the Parker Point Loop road. Getting out there can be done by bike (head south from the main settlement and follow the signs past the airport) or if you are taking the Island Explorer Bus then get off at Stop #5, which is right near the lookout over the bay.
The Snorkel - With a fantastic first snorkel just around the corner at Little Salmon Bay, it was time to move on to the next underwater adventure for the day at Parker Point. Drying off and grabbing our bikes we left the now crowded beach at Little Salmon Bay and headed back up the hill to reach Parker Point. With a lovely sunny day the tourist numbers were just as high here, thanks to a postcard perfect scene overlooking the turquoise waters and a family of quokkas (including a little bubba quokka). We took a few shots of these iconic Rottnest locals with some very unsuccessful #quokkaselfie attempts by myself (I am no Roger Federer).
Before we descended down the staircase to yet another pristine white sandy beach I wanted to take some shots from up above overlooking the azure waters with the boats in shot. I got a nice photo of the turquoise bay contrasted again the white of a boat with the Perth CBD in the distance, reminding me that this was indeed a great choice to take the day off work. Heading down to the beach I made the decision to head right along the rocky bay instead of leaving our gear on the beach (where the official snorkel trail begins). The reason for this is because we were all going in the water and I had my camera in my bag I had just shown everyone I was using plus we all had our phones and wallets that would be easy for someone to steal. As a result we waded through the shallows and found a nice rocky ledge to leave our stuff (there is a beach further round but it was occupied at the time). Sure people could still get to our stuff but it would be a lot more difficult. With great access to the water and our gear on we ventured out through the shallows over the sea grass to the series of buoys and ropes fencing off the reef to boats. It was a little tricky to begin with as the water was shallow and there wasn't much distance between the surface and the sea grass but we eventually reached deeper waters.
A welcoming committee of Western Buffalo Bream greeted us as we headed along the buoy line towards the coral reefs in the distance. Much like the reefs of Little Salmon Bay, these were a delight to explore with a variety of corals, channels to explore and marine life. The reef here seemed to be a lot bigger and there was a greater variety of spots to check out in the never ending maze of underwater islands. Being terrible dive buddies to each other, soon I had separated from Jen and Aron but some waving indicated they were heading back the way we came. With a lot of reef still to explore I gave them an enthusiastic thumbs up to indicate I was A-Okay to keep going without them so continued on my aimless wandering. Having not located one of the eleven buoys that forms part of the official trail, I wasn't too fussed about finding them. As I said in the Little Salmon Bay post, snorkel trails are more of an indication of where might nice to get people out into the water, once I'm there I'm quite happy to explore wherever looks most attractive. With so much good looking coral to photograph and fish to chase I was having a great time. I tried to stick to a line heading back to shore but every time I surfaced to get my bearings I had somehow drifted out further.
After a good amount of time in the water I decided to head back after spotting a lot of Green Moon Wrasse, Scalyfin, Stripeys, Western King Wrasse and Western Buffalo Bream plus a great number of fish I can't name. Making my way towards the boats anchored in the bay I was going to head back towards the beach and walk around to our stuff but in the end a patch of sea grass caught my eye and I decided to make a bee-line (or fish-line) directly back to the rocks where Jen and Aron were waiting. On the way I spotted a Red Lipped Morwong hiding in the shallows. I spooked it trying to get a shot and it popped out into the sunlight for an even better photo. With the snorkel over there was one last wildlife surprise for this visit as a couple of ospreys were putting on a great Top Gun impersonation as they fought/mated around the cliffs of Parker Point. Not a bad spectacle to end on and after a few more quokka photos while we were drying off, that was it for the morning. I had to catch an early ferry home for a Fringe show/dinner but Jen and Aron stayed to enjoy a tour with the new clear bottomed Sea Kayaks that has just started up on the island.