Friday, August 10, 2007

Days 28: Coral Bay (Ningaloo Reef)

Our 120km paddle along the North West Cape commenced at Coral Bay, which on arrival, appeared to be the snorkelling Mecca of the west. This so called ‘tiny, chilled out’ place was absolutely bumpin’ with tourists, 4wd’s, caravans and their share of grey nomads. Parking on the beach we packed our kayaks with sufficient supplies for a few days as well as all the necessities that real kayakers require…fishing lines, snorkels/fins, spear gun, and BIG JOHN.

The purpose for kayaking this stretch was to enter the EXCISED waters off the mainland. The excised/unexcised boarder is at 23 degrees south latitude which is not far north of Coral Bay. Farewelling the support crew after a quick lunch (Dave’s family & a small group of friends who’ve joined for this leg to Darwin), we paddled off into the glare of the hot WA sun. Happily leaving behind the tour boats and the Coral Bay masses, we paddled around Maud’s Landing and soon found our space in a paradise. The afternoon paddle of about 20km finds us at 23 degrees south… a place of great significance to those arriving by boat seeking protection, and as the sun sets today a place of extraordinary beauty. It couldn’t feel more contrasting. And much like the issue of EXCISION, which is unknown by most Australians, this place feels relatively untouchable/inaccessible by most. With its beauty, it doesn’t really feel like this is, or could, or should, be that place of such significance.

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