Shark Bay in the winter is magnificent. Aside from the occasional sharp winds that can chill you to the bone, the sky is an electric blue and the ocean is a sight to behold! The sunsets here are really something special too.
When I was in Perth I did swimming squad three times a week at the pool. There isn’t a public pool here or a swim squad that I can attend. In winter the water is about the same temperature as the air (which is fairly cold). In my spare time, I now swim in the ocean. My dad and mum come with me (they are my squad) and we swim in entry-level open-water wetsuits. Even so, that doesn’t completely stop the chilly ocean water from seeping through the neoprene. We swim after school at a spot that’s away from the main touristy area.
However, recently we went to our normal beach and found that the tide was so low (just below my knees) that there was no way we could swim where we usually do. We had to go to another part of the beach where the shire has dug out the sand to make a deeper swimming area.
Unfortunately, it is just in front of one of the main tourist hotels (which is right in the center of town.) It was a calm and sunny day so many people (locals and tourists alike) were on the decking of the hotel looking out to sea and enjoying the view, We parked the car and came out wearing our wetsuits. Amid snickers, raised eyebrows and frequent glances in our direction we made our way to the water. Let it be noted that our wetsuits are all identical, full length, with fluorescent orange arms and the word ‘ORCA’ across them!!
Getting into the water that day wasn’t hard despite the temperature! We were just happy to be out of the way of the stares! The swim was great, with plenty of marine life along the seafloor. We saw a small spotted stingray and a white golf ball. The next 45 minutes were spent swimming laps between the Galli, an old pearling boat, and the swimming pontoon. I completely forgot about the tourists and locals, watching from the shore. The water was calm enough for me to even practice butterfly.
Written by Catherine M our North West Correspondence