2015 made for another epic whale shark season here in Coral Bay.
Getting off to a slow start due to cyclone Olywn beating down on our doorstep in late March (I believe it is one of the largest cyclones to come through this small township of Coral Bay - at least since 1999 when Exmouth suffered the devastating TC Vance).
The community spirit came together in full force with the clean up & to start picking up the pieces, putting our beautiful oasis back together & very soon the tourists rolling back in.
After experiencing quite a few seasons now, I guess I start comparing as to what made the year so special.
For me I feel like we were blessed with that warm electric blue water for a majority of the year.
The big spotted fish look surreal in these conditions accompany that with flat glassy sea’s. Multiple whale sharks in one view is also a treat or when you cross paths with another whale shark & have the big decisions on which one to swim with.
ohh how I wish I had gills free diving down into that endless blue you start sinking & surrender yourself to the ocean & her pressure whilst she gives you the mother of all hugs.
After years of manifesting for the pandas of the sea, they finally cruised right up to Kai Aura riding our wake & bow waves. Orcas; the smartest creatures in the ocean looked as if they were just as curious as us as we were of them (maybe the high pitch squealing coming from most of the crew kept their interest).
The way they move through the water, their robust physique, that black & white colour contrast - perfect in every way. The energy onboard was insane, I still felt myself vibrating a few days after this encounter. It was nice to have Steve's Mum & Dad out for that one as well.
Don’t get me wrong I love swimming with whale sharks but being out on the back of the reef cruising the big blue is where the addiction lies for me, you just never know what you are going to see... It's what keeps it exciting & what keeps it fresh.
This year the smacks of red bell jellies on the tide lines & even with the whale sharks were an incredible view (incredibly painful too!!! Still it took a lot of stings before I would get out of the water) - They were mesmerising.
This year we noticed an extraordinary amount of bait balls, tuna everywhere, schooling trevally & rainbow runners with a few whalers passing through.
Also thanks to our spotter pilot with our eyes in the sky he directed us over to investigate an unidentified object floating on closer inspection it was part of a water tank (one of many which had gone missing during the cyclone) it had been floating & drifting in the currents for months acting as a FAD. Then on even closer inspections when we pulled along side flashes of blue darted around within seconds the crew were overboard swimming with 30+ mahi mahi.
Acrobatic humpback whales always leave me in awe. Just the way they launch their whole body weight completely out of the water... Maybe its a mammal thing going on but I feel there is such a definite connection.
The majestic mantas ballet around us whilst snorkelling on the back of the reef, even a rare encounter with the giant oceanic manta made my day…week…..season… , her body to wing ratio seem so out of proportion when you are use to swimming regularly with coastal mantas & those impressive topside markings.
...& then there was a great white, a beautiful big fat female so chilled & elegant - so different from what you will typically see in mainstream media.
Lets not forget about the little guys; seahorses, paper nautilus, bailer shells, scorpionfish, rock mover wrasse, nudibranchs, octopus, even a blue ring found inside our bin onboard! (stowed away after a crew member did the good deed of removing an empty beer bottle from the sea floor which it turns out he was living in), also turtles, rays & a lost New Zealand fur seal just to name a few.