May 16, 2009

Finding Nemo and the 1000 star hotel

Here comes the short wrap up of the 10 day trip I went on from Perth to Broome in the beginning of May. It´s been a blast. We covered sooo much it´s unbelievable. Most of the time we spent on the road for hours and hours driving through nothing except bushland and the occasional roadhouse to get petrol, a cup of coffee and stretch. It was really hard to imagine how big Australia really is, now it came a bit more real, and we just covered a bit of Western Australia. The scenery is stunning and makes you breathless at times.

We started out in the Nambung National Park with the Pinnacles and a bit of sandboarding on our first day. Then after a crayfish feast at our overnight stay in Horrocks we made our way up to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins. They really came up close and personal. Amazing.

The next day we arrived at Coral Bay and went snorkeling at the Nigaloo Reef all day. I went on the boat to swim with the manta rays. What an experience. After a amazing snorkel practice, we had a a briefing of the code of condcut with those huge animals. Then shortly the plane spotted a manta ray close to the shore, so we were divided up into groups of 6 and off we went. After one of the crew members made sure that it wasn´t a shark or anything, thumbs up and off we snorkeled. Alright, keep in mind that a manta ray has a size of up to 5m and can swim up to 60 km/h... And this one was in a hurry, so we all swam like crazy. Unfortunatley the water was not so crystal clear, but that was why the manta was feeding there, so I had trouble spotting it. But suddendly the manta turned and came right up to me. Talking about up close and personal, this thing was swimming right into me, well, right beneath me. That was the closest you can get, let me tell you. I am still thrilled. Afterwards we were all really enthusiastic and thrilled, couldn´t shut up about it. But that´s not enough since we spotted a manatee after a while and some huge turtles, reallz close to the boat. Later in the afternoon we swam through a little hole in the reef to the outter side to see some sharks. And we truly did see some sharks, docking at the „cleaning station“ on the reef. Nice sharks though. What a day!

The next day we chilled at Turquoise Bay. We collected our snorkel gears early in the morning because there you can just walk into the water to snorkel since the reef is soo close. And that was truly amazing, we just swam for a few meters into the ocean and head under water and ... Wow... right into the aquarium tank .... we saw so many fishes, big and small, in all colors, also a few huge turtels and even a reef shark. That was soo AWESOME!

After our adventures out in the Nigaloo Reef, we heading North and to the East into the Outback of Australia, to Karijini National Park. There we were to camp three days in the middle of nowhere. After settling in we went for a short hike down our first gorge - a few more shall follow. Down at the gorge we all just had to jump into this refreshing looking natural pool... And refreshing it was, it was freezing cold water. I bet I never swam so fast in my life to reach the rocks to climb up again. But it was great. After a Barbie - what else - and some booze we all settled into our swags outside under the stars. We were told that it got really cold at night, but we never thought it would get that freezing during the night. In the mornings we all were shivering next to teh BBQ to warm up, we all did warm up during our hikes during the heat of the day, let me tell you. During the days we discovered gorge after gorge - one more beautiful and breathtaking than the other. We also outgrew our own expectations, when we climbed down those tricky steep gorges without any abseiling, help, ladders or anything. Spider walk was one of the challenges, where you had to move like a spider a long steep gorge to make it to the pools for a swim. And we did them all!

After amazing days at Karijini we had to move on to Broome, our final destination. During our stay in the desert we all had turned into red dustfigures as well, since it was everywhere, your whites turned red, your backpack was red, your skin shimmered red... It was everywhere. Uuaahhh!

In Broome we had the rare chance to watch the staircase of the moon on our first night. Amazing - it truly does look like a staircase out of the ocean leading to the moon. Stunning. The famous sunsets over Cable Beach were as specatular as everyone told us before. The few days we spent in Broome at the Beach or at the pool in our flashpacker hostel. What a life! What a trip!

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