Coral Bay

Wi-fi in NZ and Australia sucks isn’t great. So if it looks like I’m being keen on keeping my posts up to date recently, it’s because of this brilliant little Aussie device. Telstra’s convenient dongle

It’s a 3G/4G mobile receiver and I now get broadband anywhere on Telstra’s network, and I’m told coverage is virtually all of Australia.

We’ve never been under such time pressure in a country as we are here. More on this soon.

But we have a small problem. My new (three weeks) Mitas E-09 Dakar rear tyre has worn faster than I’d hoped. We only have about 3 or 4 mm’s left center block due to running on pavement almost the whole way, as you can see from the wear pattern. So even though the above tyre looks like it has good life left, we need good tread a week or so out and it will be bald by then. Tyre options from here to the dirt route are not good. So we have to deal with it now or be sorry later. We’ve ordered a new set to be delivered to Exmouth, a small town north of here and have been waiting the 4 days it takes to ship them there from Perth.

So we’ve been diving here along about a 2 mile stretch off Coral Bay.

The water is warm, the visibility about 40′, and the coral spectacular and immaculate. The fish are beautiful.

Apologies in advance for pushing my Lumix into dive work, a job it isn’t up to completely, but makes up for in other ways. Lucinda considers the cameras part of her drone fleet, and they’re color matched to her

I have lots of photos so far but stand outs include a blue-spotted ray, a white moray and some great coral formations. But yesterday after lunch something special happened.

It’s a Manta, and it’s underneath me. Maybe 15 feet or more across

Then, with unbelievable luck

It’s feeding

And coming up

Into a barrel roll



And gone

The movement is beautiful. That it’s happening immediately below is as great a surprise as the willy willy that appeared a few days ago. I resist thinking about the continuously unexpected as part of this ride – things balance out sometimes and the not-so-good surprises have a way of appearing too. But for now, it’s good.

Then, looking below it happens again, this time in profile, a little further away

Up it comes

The speed is not slow, not fast, but powerful



And gone

Then, a few minutes later, again. But something’s different

There are more remora along for the ride

Where did they come from?

It’s a different Manta, there’s a second one here

Down it goes

It does this for 20 minutes or more. From a different angle this time

A lot of friends along. We wonder if they cause drag on the manta

Down again

A few remora swim up to the topside

Headed for the bottom again

Then there were two. They hover in front of each other

The one with the fewer remora comes up directly under me and closer than I was prepared for

Incredible seeing inside this giant fish

Whoa, she’s close

Incredible watching her movement and the movement of the remora across her under-surface as they moved together through space

Over she goes

And away

I dove with 3 great people this day. It was good to share the experience, something I don’t get to do often.

Yours truly, photo by Cat


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Hello J.,
    Crazy how the tire wore out so quickly. Are you going to replace it with the same? It turned out to be a great place to wait. The diving is the big attraction in Australia for me. What a great experience to h ave the mantas feeding so close and that you had a chance for the great pics.
    Will be waiting and watching for more updates. I’ve been enjoying “the ride” vicariously, thru you and Lucinda. Keep it up.
    Thanks, Hugh

    • Hi Hugh,

      We just mounted new TKC’s today, a fatter 150 on the rear. I can’t trust replacing the Mitas with another. There’s 600 miles of dirt in two sections, a short one then a long one, over the next 1200 miles before the next rear tyre stop, so in theory no problem with my nice soft and sticky favourite.

      I see our friend E is semi-active on the ADV forums. A ride coming up?


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