Travel,

How a getaway with strangers was my best decision in 2017.

It all started with a poolside conversation with my newest of Karratha friends the long legged bubbly Anya, we had met 1 week earlier, had a great connection and with a common love for travel and adventure decided a snorkelling trip would ease our travel bug a little and since WA has some beautiful snorkelling destinations it seemed like the perfect idea.
Fast-forward a few weeks and here we all were bags packed and ready to set off on our 5hr drive to Ex-Mouth. I was introduced to the lovely petite Sarah and as we drove around to pick up our fourth passenger whom I can only describe as Saba the Starburst due to her effervescent and infectious personality, I thought to myself this is either a really desperate attempt for me to make friends or a really cool adventure! I chose to believe the latter and driving through the night our 5hr trip passed by seamlessly as we chatted and laughed about life, love, work, travelling and everything else in between making it feel like we had known one another for years instead of a mere few weeks at the most.
Finally we arrived at our destination – Ex-Mouth, as it was afterhours and the drive was long we all decided sleep was the best option at this point. After setting the car alarm off 3 times and probably waking up half the holiday park we finally settled into our cabin, it was quaint, clean and with a few bunk bed creaks from settling in we all fell into a deep sleep underneath the gentle hum of the air-con.

 

A picnic and a wine

Rise and Shine its snorkelling time
As I sleepily awoke from my bunk bed slumber, I heard the sound of the next-door cabin being opened then a familiar voice saying something along the lines of ‘oh my gosh I’m so sorry, wrong room’ and a scuffling of feet coming nearer to our cabin, it took myself and Anya a few seconds to realize what had happened as we burst into Laughter and Saba burst through the door with a look of disbelief on her face relaying to us what we already knew, that she had mistaken next doors room for ours and awoken some holiday maker from their sleep. After this I knew we were going to have an interesting trip.
We sat hungrily at the public BBQ tables and were met with a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked by Saba and fortunately nobody seemed to be giving us any dirty looks from a lack of sleep due to our car alarm error so it was safe to assume we didn’t awaken the sleeping. In between bites of food our conversations deepened into more life experiences as we sat completely engrossed in each other’s conversations, further revelations about one another deepened our newfound friendship and respect and with full bellies we decided to get the show on the road and head out for a snorkel and a swim.

Off we went towards the National Park and the famous Turquoise Bay but when we arrived the sea was so choppy and we kept getting sand whipped there was no chance of being able to get a good snorkel, so instead we drove to a second point kindly recommended to us by the National Park Staff called Sandy Bay, we had the perfect spot underneath a covered table, and beautiful views of the blue ocean, on went our music, out came our drinks and we sat around laughing and chatting under a blue sky, a cold beer and some Belvedere Vodka thrown in. Finally we decided to try our luck at snorkelling again, but luck just wasn’t on our side that day. There was nothing but sand and choppy waves yet again. Oh well hopefully tomorrow will be the day for a snorkelling adventure we told ourselves.

Bright and early we rose, our breakfast this time was a quick and tasty homemade Granola (made by yours truly) and some yoghurt, we were Quad biking today and the trip to Coral Bay was a good 1.5hr from Ex-Mouth so an early getaway was our top priority. We arrived at the sleepy coastal town and what a little beaut she is. We were greeted with a sparkling ocean and gentle sea breeze as we stepped out of the car, but according to our google maps our Coastal Adventure tours should’ve been opposite to us and next to the Coles, unfortunately as we called the tour place we were told there is no Coles in Coral Bay and they were not at the place Google maps was directing us too, our hearts dropped as we wondered for a split second if we were in the wrong town but lo and behold they were just across the road, well it got 1 out of 2 right…Nice try Google Maps…

Setting off on our ride

The Quad Squad
Finally we were off on our Quad Biking adventure, we started out as 1 big group but as experienced levels differed they decided to split us into two and I would like to imagine our group of 4 girls was the more experienced of the bunch but unfortunately I think the reality was a slightly different story. Moving on though, we went off with our Tour Guide Steve and as he zoomed off onto the Sandy Trail we followed him one by one, feeling like we were some Madmax gang travelling through the desert wilderness on our cool bikes, zooming along the trails following our ‘Pack’ Leader Steve as we rode up and down Sand Dunes and over sandy bumps it was awesome! We reached our beautiful beach destination for another try at snorkelling but Alas! The waves were even more choppy here and all I got was a bunch of seaweed in my face instead of fish. This snorkelling buzz just wasn’t happening. The swim at least left us refreshed from the hot sun which pounded us on our bike ride, so with some renewed energy we headed back off again Madmax Style (or so I imagined us to be) and even though our tour was over our buzz and excitement wasn’t. We stopped off on the way back to Ex-mouth to view the Termite Nests which are dotted along the highway and look like huge boulders, I would of never of considered these things a tourist attraction but apparently they are so if you ever travel along the road to Coral Bay check out the huge ‘boulders’ along the side of the road.

 

On our quad squad adventure in the beautiful Coral Bay.

 

One of the many termite nests along dotted along the road

One of the many termite nests dotted along the highway.

All good Things come to an end
Our last day in the beautiful Ex-Mouth and we wondered if we should try our hand at snorkelling one last time. We drove up to the Lighthouse to check out the surf, and unfortunately the water was still looking pretty choppy but we hoped that third time might be a charm and headed to the beach again… It wasn’t, and the undertow was pretty strong with no possibility for a snorkel out there. As we ended the night in the exact same way that it had all started – poolside, we talked about our future trips together, when our next catch up would be and laughed about all the crazy antics that happened on our trip. We may not of got our snorkelling like we wanted to but we got out so much more from our trip and although it was disappointing we didn’t get to see any exotic fish or beautiful coral, the adventure itself was still pretty awesome as 4 strangers became 4 friends and shared more than just a trip away, but shared an experience that will always be special and unique to just us four, we were girls just being girls, no inhibitions, no judgements, all from different backgrounds but all sharing a bond for travelling and having an open mind. We laughed, we divulged, we expressed and we understood, with less than a month of knowing one another it was like we already knew one another and this is what a true adventure is about. To trek the unknown, to expect the unexpected and to make lifelong friendships along the way.

 

Hot Tips
1. Don’t buy Ice from the Ex-Mouth Service station, it is $23 per bag, head to the local IGA where you can get it for around $6.
2. If you are on a budget, Ex-Mouth Holiday Park is a great stay for a group. We paid $396 for a 4 bed dormitory, the kitchen and toilet/bathrooms are communal. The facilities are clean and staff are very friendly. A late check-in is allowed and there is a funky food van out the front which sells delicious coffee (they are closed Sundays though).
3. We booked our Quad Biking Tour through Coastal Adventure Tours, the cost is $110 each or $50 if you are a passenger or for an extra $10 you can add a snorkel in (hopefully you will see more than seaweed) – www.coralbaytours.com.au