The Fantastic Exmouth Camp : 2005


Common Lionfish at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthLeaving at 6.30 in the morning for two days driving was a tough ask for some. "Where's Paris" was the question. My response was "In France", "No, Where's Paris Knight?", "In France when it's dark!". Some people are just not morning people I was quickly coming to understand. By the time we got back this had changed, with a body clock waking everyone up at 5.30 each morning. The life of a diver was a new experience and one that we all came to love.


A stop overnight in Carnarvon, was a welcome relief after 12 hours in the bus, but we were getting to know each other. Next day, Sunday, was Exmouth. Cape Village, our own dorms, with a pool and walking distance to the shops, what a resort. Within an hour we were packing a dive bag at Village Dive ready for tomorrow. Barbeque dinner cooked by the boys, and salads by the girls, no stereotyping happening here!


Ashlee at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthMonday, Muiron Islands on Seaspray, a top looking boat for the trip to the magnificent islands just North of the Cape. A little seasickness, but two fantastic dives made this little hurdle forgettable. Sea-snakes, turtles and sharks all on the first dive set what would become the norm for each dive. Fantastic visibility and an absolute abundance of life was seen on every single dive. Every person was becoming a better diver, one dive at a time, and what a venue for this to happen. Many of the divers had only experienced the relative murkiness of the Swan River prior to this. Fish and chips for dinner rounded a great first day.


Ashlee at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthTuesday and we were off to Lighthouse bay, a magnificent sanctuary zone filled with many beautiful animals. Sightings of Southern Right Whales, on the way to the bay, was a good sign of things to come. With Ryan "Noodles" Hilton driving the boat, seasickness disappeared, replaced by fear for everyone's safety. No need to worry as he proved more than competent, especially under the watchful eye of our magnificent skipper, Graeme. Watched over by 4 Dive-masters and 3 Instructors must have brought confidence to all divers, shown by a rapidly increasing confidence getting into and out of the water. Dives at Blizzard Ridge and Labyrinth (in respect of our Rock Eisteddfod crew, some of whom were on the camp) saw even more fantastic creatures, with the constant sound of whale song keeping everyone company. That afternoon was a nice time to relax, with some people hitting the shopping precinct and others taking some time to go fishing. Dinner and a welcome bed, tomorrow was sleep in day, up at 7.00am!


Tall-fin Batfish at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthWednesday was wash day and clean up day. Into town quickly and then off on the "Dan" tour. Daniel Muscat was an ex Padbury SHS student and was coincidentally our Dive-master on the camp. He was keen to give us a guided tour of Exmouth (according to Dan named after John Exmouth) and a few other places. The lighthouse (named after John Lighthouse), Yardie Creek (yeah, named after John Yardie, but we were starting to get suspicious) and a snorkel at one of the many bays in the Ningaloo Marine Park saw us having a very busy day. Having fun on underwater scooters or fishing for squid, or watching the numerous kangaroos, emus and wild horses made us all quite tired, but not so tired that we couldn't enjoy the skits put on by all campers.


whale at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthBundegi Sanctuary is the Northern most point of the mainland Ningaloo reef system and our venue for diving today. Beautiful shallow dives with lots and lots of coral and animals to be seen. The dives were really comfortable with the water temperature feeling like that of a spa. Snorkelling in the afternoon, playing on the underwater scooters and swimming with beautiful turtles was a wonderfully relaxing time. On the way home we got million dollar exhibitions of whales as they swam around and under the boat, spyhopped and frolicked in general. Thanks again to Graeme and the crew who were making this a truly memorable trip.


Student at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthSweetlips at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthTHE day. Last time up at a ridiculous hour, but the dive ahead proved worth it. In we went and the first group was being escorted by a group of six dolphins, until we found our first little white tipped reef shark. This was the first of three, with the two and a half metre Leopard Shark (harmless to humans) that was happy to have his photo taken being the most memorable. The visit by friendly and curious sea-snakes as well as turtles was amzing, but not THE highlight. That came next. Manta Rays, four metres across their magnificently graceful wings, came out of nowhere as angels of the ocean. They where happy to have a photo or two before disappearing again into the depth from which they came. On the way back was a huge jellyfish that's tentacles would cover three or four family cars. The next dive might have been alright but the last one made us complacent I suppose. Back to base for a huge cleanup, pack up and dinner before that very welcome bed.

Saturday and Sunday

Manta Ray at Ningaloo Reef, ExmouthA wet trip back home, with an overnight stay in Geraldton. A box or two of bananas in Carnarvon, as well as scaring the only fast food shop with an order for 20 chicken roll and chips. A broken wheel bearing in the trailer and some expensive items stolen from the bus after it was broken into were the only negatives of the whole trip, and thankfully they occurred after the majority of the camp. When we arrived home we were happy to see families but sad that the camp of a lifetime was over.
Next year we will do it all again, and having learned a thing or two it will become better again. Hopefully some people from this year will be able to show the newcomers the ropes, and the crew at Village Dive help us make it another fantastic event, as well as some of our underwater friends dropping in for a visit!

DIVE CREW : Exmouth 2005 - Mark Lehmann, John Sherriffs, Michael Mann, Daniel Antonello, Troy Allwright, Troy Anderson, Michael Blakely, Chelsea Blick, Travis Blick, Charlotte Chadwick, Samantha Harvey, Bradley Hepton, Ryan Hilton, Paris Knight, Kody Manning, Lea Richards, Ashlee Wynyard and Renay Wynyard. And a big thanks to : Andrea, Chris and Dan and other crew at Village Dive, the crew at Cape Village Holiday park and the magnificent people of Exmouth.

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