We said goodbye to our little baby Suzuki 4WD in the morning at Exmouth as we returned it to Avis and jumped in the repaired Renault to start the fairly uneventful drive out to Coral Bay – lots of flat dunes, scrub and sandy goat tracks leading off on both sides. Coral Bay is a one road town that was filled to the brim with tourists even now in the off season, but the beach was nice and the very helpful lady at the ticket booking desk helped us book in for a manta ray snorkelling tour the following day with one of the many companies that has a license to go out and take customers swimming with these gentle giants. We filled the afternoon with a finless snorkel around the western side of the beach, another drift loop which was great. The current slowly lead us around the point back to the main beach over huge rose-shaped corals and even bigger fish than up at the northern end of the reef yesterday.
The sun was losing some of its warmth and the water was fairly cold so we got out and dried off on a walk around the eastern side of Coral Bay to Skeleton Bay, where there was a designated sanctuary zone for the reef sharks that you could observe from the shoreline.
We saw a few dark shapes in the water and spotted a couple of very small baby sharks under the waves, and loads of sting rays going to and from, but the light wasn’t great for spotting much else so we walked back and hung out at the caravan park for the evening, eager to get an early start tomorrow for the mantas and a big day of snorkelling on the outer reef.