Why a Salty Voyage?
If you’ve ever been to the Ningaloo Reef, then maybe you don’t need to read this. You would already understand how Ningaloo Reef pulls you in, mesmerizes you and keeps you in her grip forever. This stretch of coast where the desert meets the sea.
It’s vast and empty and at the same time abundant and bountiful. It’s a place of contrasts, a place of harsh elements, and a place where you have the most amazing marine experiences of your life. Ningaloo Reef is a place that we always knew was special, but the more time we spend along this coast the more we see how truly spectacular it is.
During 2016 we sailed along Ningaloo Coast in our 32-foot sailboat. We lived along Ningaloo reef for 3 months. We could step onto land, but so much of the time we didn’t want to or need to. We saw Ningaloo from a whole different light as we called it our backyard during our sailing trip.
We started wondering and asking questions about how healthy Ningaloo reef is. We were reading a couple of books at the time about the global health of our Oceans. It was challenging to be sailing along looking outside and seeing whales, dolphins, turtles, and rays and then reading about sea temperature rise, reefs dying, and shellfish unable to create their shells due to Ocean Acidification. Coming to terms that this could be happening to the abundant marine life along Ningaloo Reef was heartbreaking.
We didn’t know what we could do… but the underlying feeling was that we can’t just turn a blind eye and not anything for our oceans. We receive so much value in our lives because of the Ocean. We surf, we sail, we dive and we do everything we can to be in, on or near the sea.
The Ocean isn’t just a novelty for humans, it is responsible for providing every second breath we breathe. It regulates the temperature of our planet and it provides us life. Like my ocean mentor, Sylvia Earle says ‘ No Blue No Green’.
Caring about a place is one thing and most people who have experienced the natural wonders of Ningaloo Reef care about it.
Taking action is the next step and we have to learn more about both the problems and solutions impacting Ningaloo. We decided to Explore, Learn, and Share about the health of Ningaloo Reef so we can all do more to protect it.
Our Citizen Science Voyage is a tool, we get to explore the reef, learn as much as we can about it, ask questions and hear from experts that are doing research on the area. We know there is scientific research being done along Ningaloo Reef, but we (as members of the public) have tried to find out how healthy the reef is and what threats are facing it. We haven’t been able to get the answers to the information we are seeking.
We decided to take a hands-on approach as two concerned ocean citizens. We will be doing reef health checks, marine debris surveys, and collecting data along the way. We have questions and we hope we can connect with scientists and reef caretakers that can help us answer these questions.
We are sharing our journey as a way to bring these issues to light.
The more we know the more we can act.
Please follow along our journey as we share what we discover and what we can do to keep Ningaloo Reef healthy and thriving.
For our Oceans,
Jamie and Base
And the Salty Voyage Team.