Underwater wonders, cool cat, island diving and cruising the coast.
THE Ningaloo whale shark season may have come and gone, but there are several other seasonal visitors to the reef throughout the year. June to November is humpback whale season, with snorkellers and divers along the reef near Exmouth also able to enjoy manta ray season from May to November, before the green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles move in as summer begins to arrive in October-November. Exmouth Diving Centre, Ningaloo's only PADI five-star Instructor Development Centre, offers five-day PADI open-water courses for about $550. For those who don't have time for the full course, the centre also offers a shorter, one-day discover scuba diving experience.
JETWAVE Boat Charters is offering a new surf/dive/fishing safari tour discovering the islands of Shark Bay on board its vessel, the Eendracht (above). The three-night/four-day tour aboard the 15-metre catamaran includes transfers from Denham airport, all gourmet meals, fishing and snorkeling equipment, accommodation and staffing. Jetwave will hold two charters, departing Saturday September 6 and Friday September 26. For something a bit more laid back, Jetwave also offers evening cruises along the Swan River, between Fremantle and Perth, or daytrips across to Rottnest Island.
DIVE Adventures is embarking on its eight-night Cocos & Christmas Island diving tour, departing Perth on October 10. Close to the shore on Christmas Island lies a coral reef, which extends to the edge of the spectacular drop off into the Java Trench, with visibility reaching 50 metres. For the more experienced and adventurous, tour the Sea Caves of Christmas, where divers can explore inside thunder cliff cave and surface into a huge air filled dome adorned with stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Cruising the coast
VIEW the undersea world surrounding Rottnest Island without getting wet on the Underwater Explorer from Oceanic Cruises. Oceanic's new owners, Tim and Tammy Shuttleworth, bought the Rottnest icon earlier this year after, and offer regular reef and wreck tours around the island. The Shuttleworths also recently purchased Matrix Cruises, adding the luxury cruising vessel, The Matrix, to its expanding fleet. The Matrix cruises the Kimberley coast from April to October for seven or 14 days, and operates private charters in Perth during the summer months.