The Ningaloo reef is a gem on our coastline and we are excited to visit via sailing. But how friendly is a fringing reef to a sailboat? Let’s just say we didn’t know how intimate we were going to get with Ningaloo while sailing North…. but she cast a spell on us and we spent quite a bit of time exploring this magnificent fringing reef that is over 300km long.
Since Charade has a shallow draft (1.4m deep) and since we are willing to take on adventure (also known as risk) we ended up finding amazing spots where the reef opens up and we found some great anchorages to check out and explore Ningaloo.
The first reef pass that we took to get inside the Ningaloo Reef got our hearts pumping. There was a bit of swell running and we were trying to get into a reef pass where a friend had his boat anchored. We got some guidance on where to enter the reef from him ( thanks Captain Joe).
Lady C was getting tossed around by the swell and as we approached the reef pass I was hanging onto the mast trying to spot any coral bommies to avoid. As we started to approach the gap in the reef the swell was starting to jack up. I headed to the cockpit and while Base had a stoic all in control look about him. I ducked down covered my eyes and may or may not have cried out “ I want my mommy”… hahaha!
It felt like waves were going break over top of us, but they didn’t, we surfed through the pass and made it safely inside the reef where it was calm and beautiful.
We still had a little ways to navigate to get to a anchoring spot. Luckily it was mostly sand with the occasional coral to look out for. But sand can be deceiving in depth, so we did a bit of weaving to get towards a couple other boats that were anchored.
Not only was this a beautiful spot, we were also excited to have 3 other boats to hang out with. The draw card to this spot was a surf break that was easily accessible and a wave that both Base and I could enjoy. So far we couldn’t see any reason to rush past this spot.
Once we anchored up, our mate gave us a call over the radio and said to come over to his boat. Happy to celebrate our first taste of Ningaloo we headed over with a couple of beers. The boat we headed to was of the larger and motoring type. We didn’t realize… but there was a bubbling hot spa on the back deck and we found ourselves having drinks in a hot tub after a 12 hour sail…. Wooofrickenhoo! Watching the sunset from the spa and seeing the sky fill with stars was surreal and a memory that we will never forget. Us grotty yachties aren’t use to this kind of luxury.
This spot ticked many boxes for us… surfing everyday, amazing snorkeling, beautiful turquoise waters, and we were starting to get warm!! No surprise we hung out here for about 3 weeks to soak in all the goodness it had to offer.