You land at an Aussie Air Force base when heading to Ningaloo National Park. No photos permitted. Originally it was an American base when the US found it had a gap in its submarine communication system. So they built transmission towers taller than the Empire State Building in a grid at the end of the remote, desolate desert peninsula. American cars were imported, and everyone drove on the right side of the road. And a town rose up in Exmouth and eventually the Aussies took over…and returned to driving on the left side of the road.
After getting the keys to our rental Toyota Corolla, we found ourselves to be the last in the airport. It was deserted. Just a little creepy. We headed north to Exmouth with a vast blue bay to the east and to the west, – rough hewn hills warn down over eons.
Breakfast was at the Social Society Cafe where they served everything vegetarian…and sold vegan dog food. You can hear the dingos laughing like hyenas over that. Actually there are warning signs about dingos up here though we did not heard any yipes in the night.
Past the tip of the peninsula, we could see the turquoise water to the west in brief glimpses through the low dunes along the coast.
[Note the submarine communication towers in the photo off to the right.]
Just arriving at our “camping” destination Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, and like magic a humpback breached just past the reef. A nice orientation.
Our stay was brief but we managed to snorkel twice, drifting with the current just off the beach over coral and multiple varieties of colorful fish. While kayaking we floated over a sea turtle and startled a reef shark. At night, we walked down to the beach, stretched out on the beach furniture…and watched the infinite stars above us.
Conversations over meals came in all varieties from political, to health policy and homelessness. And travel. Our fellow campers seem to have been everywhere. Taking the first Northeast Passage Cruise, riding helicopters to resorts for Christmas on the Barrier Reef, arriving to much hoopla in Yangon on the first cruise ship to dock at their port, and on and on. No travel envy here. Several fellow campers were from Melbourne…and without much to say on the positive side for Perth. “Nothing to see in Perth!”