Well, the whole reason we came to Exmouth was because Michael had been given a voucher to swim with the Whale Sharks for his 60th Birthday by his family.
We arrived in Exmouth on Saturday and Michael was booked in for his swim on Sunday.
Exmouth had had 173mm of rain on the Wednesday before we arrived, so there was still quite a bit of water around and debris in the streets, we saw one young lad riding his bike through waist deep water!
Sunday's forecast wasn't too bad, a bit of cloud, but quite a bit of wind.
We were picked up from out the front of our caravan park and then taken around the other accomodation places to pickup the other passengers before driving around to the western side of the peninsula to where we would board our catamaran for our Whale Shark swim.
On the way our guide told us about Exmouth and Whale Sharks. Exmouth only really exists because of WWII and the Americans, the town wasn't opened until 1967, making it younger than us!!
There were only 20 guests on the catamaran and 5 crew. We were only allowed to have 10 guests in the water at a time with the Whale Shark, we also had a camera lady and a swim guide. Before we had our swim, we stopped by the reef to have a snorkel swim to test our gear. The water was about 4m deep, on the swim we saw a lot of fish and coral, it was a good introduction before the main event.
After our practice swim we headed out to the ocean side of the reef and headed to where the spotter plane directed us. This took awhile and on the way we had morning tea. The seas were getting quite rough now with about a 1.5m swell and the wind was creating a few white caps on the waves.
Once we were near the Whale Shark our photographer jumped in the water to determine which way the shark was heading and if it was close to the surface. Once she had done this the first group jumped in with their swim guide. The guide would get us to line up as close together as possible, then we would wait for the shark to approach and swim by us, as it did we would put our heads under water to watch it come past us, as it did we would start swimming as hard as we could to keep along side the shark. This was easier said than done, with the waves and swell water would splash into your snorkel, while the wind and current made it hard to swim forward and keep up with the shark.
Once the shark had swum away from us the catamaran would come around and pick us up and the second group would jump in and do the same thing.
In all we did this four times, but Michael bailed out after two swims, it was just too hard work.
After our swims we headed back to the passage through the reef while we had lunch. This time we were under sail, so it was much nicer than when we went out.
A couple of lucky people spotted turtles as we headed back to shore, though it looked very much like one was hit by a power boat as it passed us, distressing some passengers.
On shore we were driven back to our caravan park.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we looked around the area, we visited some gorges and did some walks. We also did a bit of beach combing and found some good shells. Unfortunately the weather really wasn't conducive to spending much time on the beach.
The walks were nice and our favourite gorge was Shothole Canyon, this gorge we were able to drive to the end of, though the track had been washed out by the earlier rains. When we arrived at the end we were the only ones there, it was lovely and quiet.