Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel
Ningaloo Marine Park
Directions - Located about 65km from Exmouth, 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 Turquoise Bay on your right. Take the sealed road all the way to the end where you will find two car parks, one for the drift snorkel to the left and one for sheltered bay on the right.
The Snorkel - The Ningaloo Coast is a world famous stretch of Western Australia that is home to an abundance of marine life, stunning turquoise waters and some of the best beaches on Planet Earth. With a record breaking amount of rain falling in July down in Perth, I was looking forward to escaping up north and getting out into the water for some fun in the sun. One particular activity I was excited about the most was snorkelling and one of the best spots is the Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel located about 45 minutes from the centre of Exmouth.
With the weather on our arrival being a little on the cool and windy side, the third full day of our trip seemed to be the warmest and least windy we would get so I made plans to explore some of the snorkelling spots along the coast. Loading up the CH-R, Caris and I headed out of town and began the now familiar drive around the cape towards the national park. With a nice playlist pumping out some tunes, it was a great drive to the well sign-posted car park where we nabbed a spot among the other tourists. There are two parts to Turquoise Bay with the drift snorkel on the southern side of the sandbar and a protected bay on the north side. Both have excellent snorkelling opportunities but care must be taken on both because if you get dragged into the currents that flow outward from the sandbar then you will get carried out to sea. This is made clear on all the signs there but it's something to be aware of when out in the water. I had brought our beach shelter with us from Perth as Caris isn't very fond of UV rays and we found an empty space on the beach to setup.
There were already a few people in the water and so with all our gear ready, we started walking down the beach to find a good entry point. Being a drift snorkel, the current naturally pulls you from south to north so to maximise the benefit it's best to walk down the beach before getting in the water. How far is up to you but the exit point has to be before the sand bar so you don't get sucked out to sea. Getting in the water, it was a little colder than I was expecting but once I was in and had the mask on, things were more bearable. It doesn't take long before you reach the coral reef and there is a garden of formations, bombies and open sand to explore that is just teeming with life. With my Olympus TG6 in hand, I floated along, racing from one coral formation to the next as I saw something that caught my attention. Caris was nearby and would frequently wave me down to point something out but there was so much to see that it wouldn't take long before there was something new to look at. Within a few minutes I had seen a Bluespot Butterflyfish, a juvenile Black Damsel, Blue-green Puller and one of our favourites, the Hawaiian Triggerfish that looks a bit like a clown with long yellow lipstick.