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How does the Ningaloo Reef compare to the world?

Images & Trip Review by Joseph Dallison – Perth Scuba Shop ManagerNingaloo by Joe Dallison

Having grown up in WA it’s always been on my list, especially after 13 years away living and working overseas.  Did it live up to my expectations especially after diving some of the best locations in the world such as the Maldives, the Red Sea, Galapagos, etc?  Well I have to say that from the moment I stepped off the plane at the remote airport at Learmouth, I know this was going to be awesome!

The Skipper and owner of the boat, Luke, met us and from that moment we were his major concern.  The boat, Shore Thing, is luxurious and the perfect vessel for cruising the pristine reefs of the Ningaloo National Park.  The weather, as it often is, was fairly windy but the protected inner lagoons and reefs are always diveable.  The coral is in fabulous condition and although the visibility was not quite as good as it usually is, this didn’t stop us seeing an abundance of different fish, Nudibranches, crustaceans and more.  I particularly liked the endemic Catfish and there were other fish which looked familiar to me from other places, but were either slightly different (“They’ve been Ningalooed”), or they were supersized! The max depth for most of the inner reef dives was around 10m, which made it very easy relaxing diving.

Sail Ningaloo by Joe DallisonOne of the best was a place called Ashos Gap.  With a large porite coral bombie that serves as a Grey Reef Shark cleaning station, it provided some of the best diving of the trip.  We sat on the sand and watched as 6-7 sharks circled the location, occasionally gliding over the top of the coral with mouths wide open to allow the cleaner wrasse to enter and give their teeth a scrub!  The most dramatic scenery is to be had on the outside reef.  To dive this, the wind needs to abate a little, which it did and we had 3 fantastic dives.  My favourite was a dive called The Lost City.  We became surrounded by a school of Buffalo Bream, which was so dense I actually lost the group because I couldn’t see where I was going!  There were thousands and they seemed intrigued by me and my bubbles, I suppose they don’t see a lot of divers!  It was brilliant, although it made me feel slightly dizzy the speed they were swirling around me.

Luke knew all the great locations to find Manta Rays, so we had a couple of hours of exciting snorkelling with these majestic beasts.  They also didn’t seem to mind us being there and were quite relaxed to pose for photos.  After diving the chef on board, Dean, kept us well fed with quality meals and snacks and most importantly my favourite beer, Little Creatures Pale Ale always cold and ready for consumption!  It’s definitely a place that I would recommend and go back to.  It feels remote and untouched…exactly the sort of place I seek out for a holiday.  Cheers Perth Scuba!

Want to see more of Joe’s photos from the tour? Click here to check them out and leave your comments :)

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