The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

26 September, 2013

Ningaloo Coast

Well.... I've had a most magnificent experience!!

Turtle tracks coming up the beach
It was a full moon and we decided to go to Trisel Beach at high tide, 9PM to watch the Turtles come in and lay their eggs.  Kathy and Neville had seen this phenomena a week or so earlier and suggested that the full moon and high tide was the best opportunity.  We had watched Turtles swimming along the beach and seen their tracks across the beach - normally this happens in October however for some reason the Turtles are nesting earlier this year.

Turtle 'resting' in the shallows during the day

With warm jackets and beanie and after negotiating several kangaroos on the road down we ventured onto the beach.  As we walked around the bay we saw a few turtles swimming in the shallows which they can do for days just resting before they commence their epic journey up the beach to lay eggs.  I walked along the beach in the moon light to the far end without seeing any sign of turtles nesting.  When I returned to Hels and Kathy they were sitting on the beach watching in anticipation the turtle shapes come close to the beach then disappear into the surf again, all three of us sat for 20 min or more watching as one looked like she was coming out but washed back out again.  Finally in the distance I could see a shimmering in the moon light on what looked like a rock but it changed position on the beach.  As I walked down the beach to investigate I confirmed it was a turtle heading up the beach to nest, I signalled the girls with my head light (sound like spy stuff, hey) to come down the beach.  When I got within 20m or so (according to the Turtle Watchers Code of Conduct) we sat on the beach and watched mesmerised as she moved slowly up the beach stopping to regain her strength before moving another 40cm or so.  Finally the Turtle made it to the nesting site and started to dig, using the front flippers first digging meticulously to make the nest.  Just watching for 20 min or so we seemed so privileged to see the effort made to make their way up the beach, coming back to the same beach where she was born (some 20 years previous)  to lay her eggs.  When we thought she had finished making the nest I decided it would be safe to move closer, so moving along the water edge to a position behind the Turtle I was still about 10 meters away trying to see if she had finished the nest and laying the eggs.  After sitting still on the beach for some time, I suddenly saw her make a move from the nest back to the beach.

WOW! an unforgettable experience

Look close.....turtle disappearing into the surf

Sh#t, what should I do, all I could do was stay sitting on the sand and stay as still as possible while she made her way back to the sea.  This was just amazing as the turtle passed what seemed to be only meters away stopping to gain her strength and possibly watching me before finally making it to the surf and disappearing into the ocean.  Little did I know that there was another Turtle moving up the beach about 15 meters behind me which Hels and Kathy had been trying to signal me about.  I was sitting so still absolutely wrapped up in watching the Turtle returning to the beach and did not see the frantic signalling!  We watched this turtle for some time but as it was getting late we decided to return along the beach and back to camp.  What a great experience we had, one to be remembered!!  Helen and I returned the next day to see how many turtles came up the beach later in the night.  We only saw one other track which was exactly where we had been sitting earlier in the night watching the turtles struggle against the surf to come ashore.

Trisel beach during the day

The nest we watched the Turtle make

The morning after our Turtle watch - these tracks led up and back a large sand hill.  The Turtle would have been exhausted!

We had planned to camp in the Cape Range National Park but after making a day trip into the park with Neville and Kathy and seeing some of the camp sites we decided to stay at Yardie Homestead Caravan Park as it was more sheltered from the strong winds experienced at this time of year, hot showers  and also it was central to visit the park or drop into other beaches outside of the park and pop into Exmouth for supplies.  

Yardie Creek Gorge

Tours at Yardie Creek Gorge

Yardie Creek mouth is normally blocked by a sandbar and only opens up in extreme weather conditions

Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area includes Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park. 

Ningaloo Marine Park - stretches 260 kilometres from Bundegi Reef near Exmouth to Amherst Point south of Coral Bay.  It reaches nearly 20km seaward encompassing 5,000 square kilometres and is known to have 500 species of tropical fish and 220 species of coral.

Cape Range National Park - encompasses  50,581 ha on the Cape Range Peninsula .  The limestone range has deep canyons and ridges which provides a dramatic contrast to the surrounding landscape.  There is an abundance of wildlife including kangaroos, rock wallabies, emus, reptiles and various birds.

Pilgramunna Camp Site and bay in the National Park

Oyster Stacks

All go for snorkelling action
Ready to see the wonders of Ningaloo Reef

Based at Yardie Homestead Caravan Park, we have been able to venture out on numerous day trips including walking Yardie Creek Gorge, snorkelling at Turquoise Bay and calling into many of the little beaches in the park.  The colours of the sea are spectacular and highlighted by the turquoise colour which is stunning along the coast, particularly at Turquoise Bay. 

It's not surprising that we have stayed here for some time to fish, swim, watch the many whales passing by (some giving us delight with their aerial antics) or just sitting on the beach enjoying the surroundings.

Turquoise Bay

White centred Sturt Peas

WA (Windy Always) - Kite boarders taking advantage of the strong winds

Vlamingh Head Light House, spent several hours here as best spot for phone/internet reception!

Mildura Wreck - Cattle transporter which ran aground during 1907 cyclone.

Looking from the 'Surfers Hut' back towards Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
Sea Eagle nest taking advantage of the communications tower next to Cape Range National Park Information Centre

1 comment:

The Retro Roamers said...

Hi Guys

Boy am I exhausted, just reading your blog entry. Seems the WA coast is keeping up with it's reputation....Windy Always.

Off to Casino tomorrow to start work on Wednesday or Friday maybe.

Have a great time in Geraldton.