|Me and Kev at Turquoise Bay|
How was your weekend? How is the new car? You've been quite busy in your first week back!
My weekend was just fantastic. I can't explain how much fun it was surprising Kev with a weekend getaway to Exmouth for his 28th birthday.
Initially, it was pretty stressful and nerve wrecking. I just wanted to make sure everything was accounted for; flights, accommodation, car hire, Kev's work knowing he will be away on Friday and keeping it a secret.
So on Thursday night, everything was going to plan. I had packed everything (stealing Kev's clothes week by week) and had everything in my car. That night I planned to take our snorkeling bag out of his room while he was showering or something. However, while we were talking about our day at work and work plans for Friday, he mentioned the he had an important meeting with some people in Melbourne. I then started freaking out. The things running through my head: 'I thought his boss would remember about tomorrow? Did he get my message from today? What happens if Kev can't make the trip? Oh my god!'
I sussed him out a little more and Kev was adamant that it was an important meeting. It was when he eventually asked me 'why?' that I caved in with 'well, because you and I will be in Exmouth tomorrow...'
Kev's face turned concerned and I could sense some unease. I swear Kev's palms went instantly clammy.
'Yup...You and I will be in Exmouth tomorrow.' (I am nervously smiling at this point in time).
Kev continued his look of confusion and disbelief. I then revealed the weekend plans to him, including the details of how I got him time off work the next day. I asked him of his meeting will be ok, and he excitedly shrugged off his 'important meeting' saying someone else could do it. I was relieved but sad, as I had to forego my initial
plans to spring him with the surprise on Friday morning. But after Kev's initial shock had been worn away with excitement, I realized that perhaps it all turned out for the best.
Friday morning came quickly, and for the first time ever, Kev sprung to life when the alarm clock rang at 4am. I couldn't believe it. Kev, who usually requires unlimited amount of snoozes before properly getting up in the morning , was jumping out of bed singing 'We're going to Exmouth! We're going to Exmouth!'
And so we did.
As we approached Exmouth, I could see from the air that the waters were brilliantly blue. I was so excited and all I wanted to do was just jump in! I also saw these two dark figures in the water, and after looking at them harder, I realised that they were most likely whales! It was definitely a good omen for the trip!
We arrived at 8am and were met with clear skies and a warm breeze. I couldn't help but start grinning. I had missed feeling the intense Australian sun on my skin.
We then picked up our car (which was a tiny Suzuki Alto) and made the drive to Exmouth which was down the road (it was literally just down the road - 30 minutes down the road).
|We're in Exmouth!|
|Our trip was hindered by some wild emus|
When we arrived in town, we checked in and went straight to the visitors' centre. We got the details of the best snorkeling spots, quickly shopped for food, and then made our road trip down the western coast to snorkel at Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay.
One important tip we were given by the tourist centre was to go to Oyster Stacks in high tide and Turquoise Bay in low tide. It didn't make sense until we got there.
|Kev with Albi the Alto outside our Villa at Exmouth Escape Resort|
Oh Chia! It was amazing! The waters in Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay were crystal clear and blue and the marine life just blew me away!
Oyster Stacks in low tide gets to a point where you can't even snorkel as you will not clear the coral! Kev and I were there for about 30 minutes before it got to a point where Kev and I were seriously concerned about scratching our bellies. So we got out and after talking to a couple on the rocky shore of Oyster Stacks about the different places to snorkel at, we made our way to Turquoise drift and then to Turquoise Bay.
|Us at Oyster Stacks|
|Kev chillin in Exmouth|
|The water at Oyster Stacks|
|Parrot Fish my favorite! They are so bright and colouful that I have to follow them!|
|Cool star fish|
When we arrived at Turquoise Bay (after giving the Turquoise drift a go), we found that the water was still amazing, however, visibility wasn't the greatest at this point in time as it was still high tide, and there was a strong current. But it was still an awesome snorkel!
|Me snorkeling through Turquoise Bay|
On Saturday, Kev's actual 28th Birthday, we went on a Eco Tour with Ningaloo Blue. They are the coolest operators around! So well informed and so friendly! I started talking to Vi the photographer and she told us about all the things we could see. I also told her how it was Kev's birthday and he had never seen an octopus. She shrieked in delight and told us that she and the rest of the Ningaloo Blue team will find Kev an octopus for his birthday!
|Kev and I on the Ningaloo Blue boat. I loveeeeeee the water in Exmouth!|
On our first snorkel stop, Vi and the Ningaloo Blue team found Kev the Octopus that would make his birthday a special one. I unfortunately missed seeing it in action (I only saw him hiding in a rock) but Kev said he saw the tentacles and all. He was a very happy boy.
Here are some photos that I took on the day:
On the boat we also saw a dugong, a spearfish, and 5 male humpback whales! They were so magical! I couldn't believe how huge they were! We got so close to them too! The captain of the boat tried to get us close but within the regulations, however, we couldn't control the actions of the whales and they came as close as 100m from the boat! It was amazing!!!! I loved hearing the noise that they make when they blow out tuffs of water, and the groan they make when they stick their heads out of the water.
Here are some of the photos that were taken by Vi that day:
|Swimming around us|
|Coming up to check us out|
It was just magical! I can't explain how much I loved loved loved the day! And Kev had such a great day too! He was so happy about seeing an octopus and the humpback whales. We were unable to see any whalesharks, as the season for them has ended, however, I know that we will be back for sure!
One other moment that was so so so special to me, happened on our second snorkel stop in the afternoon. The current was quite strong this time, and a lot of the group ended up returning to the boat. I remember swimming against it and continuously popping my head up to see where Kev was. There was one time where he disappeared, and I was like what? But then I looked at the boat and saw Kev waving at me. After that I was like oh! sweet! and I kept on swimming; focusing on reaching the others who were ahead of me. I saw some awesome yellow trumpet fish and other fishes along the way. Then, Amy (one of the snorkel guides) called out saying that she found a turtle! I swam to her and the small group that was there and saw the turtle swimming happily near the deeper corals. After sussing out the rest of the group (none of them seemed to be following it or wanting to swim with it) I decided to take a deep breath in and body dive to it.
That moment was just magical. There was no sound, no breathing, just solid, translucent nothingness. The feeling of the freedom of the ocean and the beautiful fish and coral around me and the turtle was just out of this world. The turtle just had a quick look at me, blinked (which to me, looked like a wink =P) and then just continued on his merry way. He was totally chilled out compared to the other sea animals we had seen that day.
I really, really felt like a mermaid there and then. There is something so wonderful about snorkeling. The freedom of movement, being nimble without having all the air tanks and tubes hanging off you; your skin, your breath, it's just you and the ocean.
Something Amy said later that day, really described what that moment felt like to me. She said 'there is something about the ocean and swimming in it, it cleans the soul.'