June 6, 2023

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Have you ever ever needed to swim with manta rays? Then Coral Bay on the Coral Coast of Western Australia is the place to go!

Swimming with manta rays in Coral Bay was one of many highlights of our journey round Australia. Positioned on the shores of the world well-known Ningaloo Reef, which is known for being a thriving residence to whale sharks, wobbegongs, and a number of other species of reef shark – to say our expectations have been excessive was an understatement.

It’s stated that manta rays swim within the bay of Coral Bay all yr spherical. And since they’re filter feeders, they’re protected to swim with.

In case you’ve considered swimming with manta rays however unsure what to anticipate, right here is our expertise swimming with these magnificent creatures.

The place is Coral Bay?

Coral Bay, Western Australia

Coral Bay is positioned on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, and is a 1.5 hour drive (151 km) from Exmouth Western Australia and 11.5 hours drive from Perth.

You will get excursions out to Coral Bay from Exmouth Marina or from Coral Bay – although count on excursions from Exmouth to take a full day, whereas you possibly can take a half day tour from Coral Bay and find time for different actions.

Our Expertise Swimming With Manta Rays at Coral Bay

A sandy beach next to a body of water
Coral Bay, Western Australia

“Okay everybody, put your gear on, she’s heading this manner. Get within the water as shortly and quietly as you possibly can and comply with me, I’ll be holding close to it so you possibly can observe it.”

Finned ft started shuffling in all instructions to the again of the boat. Nobody needed to overlook the possibility to swim with these sleek underwater butterflies.

I turned to assist Kalyra put her snorkel on and she or he began to have a kind of meltdowns. The snorkel wasn’t on to her liking and so the frustration started to vent as wails. She wouldn’t hearken to my calm, sage recommendation.

One after the other, the others on the boat slipped within the heat Australian waters and began swimming. Quickly, we have been left on our personal.

We got here all this technique to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia and paid some huge cash to sit down on a ship and endure a tantrum. The others have been swimming behind the manta and getting farther from the boat.

We couldn’t catch up now. We lastly bought the snorkel sorted and sat on the sting of the boat.

Holding arms we counted to 3 and slipped in.

We put our faces within the water and there was the manta ray’s face just a few ft away swimming in the direction of us. We each squealed, “manta ray!” It turned and we swam to maintain up.

A manta ray swimming under water

Fairly quickly the others had caught up and overtook us and the manta slipped away. Attempting to swim quick whereas holding onto a seven yr outdated isn’t any simple feat.

“Did you see that Mummy? We have been so near it. That was wonderful.”

Kalyra, she determined it was too chilly and waved the boat down to select us up. She’d seen the manta ray up shut and that was sufficient. No extra chasing was wanted, which was fantastic information for me because it meant I may return in to swim with the manta ray by myself.

Due to the kerfuffle getting Kalyra prepared, I forgot to show the Gopro on so completely missed that second when the manta got here as much as say hello.

We’d joined the tour early that morning from Coral Bay and hadn’t sailed very far out in the direction of the outer Ningaloo reef when the manta ray was noticed swimming the crystal clear turquoise water the Ningaloo Marine Park is thought for.

It was simply Kalyra and I on this tour because it was costly so we have been decreasing prices. Craig had opted to do the quad biking tour with Kalyra as a substitute on one other day.

However, we have been fortunate to be doing it with our mates Nikki and Drew, and their daughter Maddie, who is similar age as Kalyra. It was so pretty for Kalyra to be having such a enjoyable time out together with her buddy.

people looking off boat
Maddie and Kalyra

Whereas they performed, I slipped again into the water to swim with the manta once more. I copped an awesome huge mouthful of diesel fumes on the best way in. Once more the manta got here shut and I began swimming, making an attempt to navigate by all of the arms and fins thrashing in my face

I swam across the outdoors of the pack and bolted in the direction of the entrance. For the subsequent 5 minutes I swam behind the manta ray marveling at its grace and delighting within the small fish that swam near it’s stomach.

For some motive, I believed that the manta rays would simply come as much as the boat and linger round us whereas we swam with them. I by no means realised it could contain Olympic model races to maintain up with it.

A manta ray swimming under water

Fairly quickly the diesel fumes mixed with the bodily exertion began to meet up with me and I needed to maintain down the rising have to vomit. I pulled away and swam again to the boat.

Man they’re quick, nevertheless it was loads of enjoyable to swim with them. Subsequent time I hope they only linger!

It was time to let one other tour boat in to swim with the rays so we moved out in the direction of the outer reef for snorkeling.

Kalyra didn’t wish to come again within the water so once more I went exploring the reefs by myself. Colleges of tons of of tiny fish got here swimming in the direction of and round me. There have been a lot of waving blue coral out right here and some giant fish poking out and in of the gorgeous coral gardens to eat.

man snorkeling under the water

The present was actually robust and I didn’t keep out lengthy as I used to be frightened about drifting far-off from the boat and getting caught on high of the reefs, unable to be rescued.

Lunch was served by the crew. We had chilly meat and salad sandwiches, and though yummy as a result of I used to be ravenous, I felt the lunch unfold wasn’t that nice and will have been higher for what we’d paid for the tour.

There was a considerable amount of time spent driving round and at this stage I used to be making an attempt to resolve if the tour was price it (it’s not the most affordable exercise in Western Aus!)

It positively wasn’t for Kalyra. If I have been to do it once more, I wouldn’t take her as she solely had that one swim with the reef manta ray and didn’t wish to do anything. It relies on the temperament of your youngster.

I wasn’t offered on the worth till we stopped at our second snorkel spot.

I used to be fairly chilly by now and this reef was manner out the again close to the outer rim and the breaking waves. It made me a bit nervous to exit and was considering sitting it out.

Then our information stated she’d take us all on a guided snorkeling tour and I’m so glad I went. A guided snorkeling tour is the most effective. You are feeling a lot safer snorkeling in a gaggle and she or he took us to all the most effective spots mentioning discoveries alongside the best way.

The one downside was just a few kicks to the pinnacle as you’re exploring.

We swam within the channels between enormous reefs and bombies. It was a few of the finest snorkeling I’ve ever finished.

We swam above a few inexperienced turtles after which a loggerhead turtle swam so near us, that are quite a bit rarer to see. It was so superior.

Swimming with turtles in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

The coral was a lot better out right here, vibrant and all styles and sizes.

We weaved out and in of the reef system for a while delighting in it. One man from the group determined to go off snorkeling on his personal and he noticed a few sharks. So glad I wasn’t snorkeling solo!

coral in the ocean

FAQs About Swimming with Manta Rays, Coral Bay

Right here’s what individuals often ask us about swimming with manta rays in Coral Bay…

What time of yr are you able to see manta rays at Coral Bay?

It’s stated that manta rays swim within the bay all yr spherical, however the most effective time to see them is from mid-Might to November when there’s stated to be the best variety of rays. Weekdays are finest as there are fewer individuals on the excursions.

Are you able to swim with manta rays?

Sure, you possibly can swim with them. They have an inclination to feed close to the floor, which suggests you possibly can seize a snorkel masks and swim together with them.

Is it OK to the touch a manta ray?

No, they don’t like being touched and can seemingly swim away.

Are manta rays aggressive to people?

No, they’re mild animals and have a peaceful and peaceable nature. They’re recognized to be considerably curious of people, and will swim as much as you, however they’re no hazard to you.

How huge are manta rays?

There are two essential species of manta ray they usually have a wing span of between 4 and 7 meters!

The place to Keep in Coral Bay

In case you’re unsure the place to base your self on your manta ray expertise, then I like to recommend staying at Mantarays Ningaloo Seashore Resort, which is the one resort on the seaside at Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.

This family-friendly resort is positioned on Dawn Seashore within the Cape Vary Nationwide Park.

Every of the rooms comes with air-con, free Wi-Fi, fridges, and personal bogs. Some rooms have a balcony or patio.

You possibly can select between 1-2 bed room residences or bungalows. It has a swimming pool, free parking, and is positioned close to many close by sights.

Last Ideas on Swimming with Manta Rays in Coral Bay

Ningaloo is a tremendous coral reef to go to. You possibly can discover it from so near shore and it’s nonetheless so pristine, with fairly low variety of vacationers. We have been the one individuals on the market snorkeling.

On the Nice Barrier Reef you’re competing with many.

I had a beautiful excessive after that snorkel and loved the gorgeous views of the white sandy Coral Bay as we sailed again in.

We didn’t see any reef sharks or dugongs, nevertheless it’s potential to see some dolphins and humpback whales enjoying within the waters as you sail again from visiting the mantas should you go to throughout the winter months.

Kalyra felt she bought her cash’s price on the finish with all of the lollies she stored sneaking in. She was tremendous excited to run and inform her Dad that she swam with a manta ray up shut.

So was I.

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Have you ever been swimming with sleek manta rays in Coral Bay? What was your expertise like? Tell us within the feedback.

Swimming with Manta Rays at Ningaloo Reef