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Off the Australian West Coast: Jet Ski among humpback whales

Off the Australian West Coast: Jet Ski among humpback whales

They really do exist, dream destinations off the charts on the Australian West Coast. But she also learns the dark side of this paradise.

A sea turtle in Coral Bay, Western Australia Photo: Imago

Coral Bay has a heavenly quality about it. Pearl white and almost bare sand beaches, an unreal turquoise sea, schools of spectacular colorful fish. The holiday resort on Australia’s west coast is also one of the okier types – campsites instead of castles, diving rentals instead of ballrooms.

When we arrive here after days of driving through the dusty suburbs, I wonder for a long time: they really exist, dream places from grandma’s tableau. Ningaloo Reef is slightly less famous than the Great Barrier Reef, but is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to an abundance of species: sea turtles, dugongs, stingrays, seasonal whale sharks and humpback whales.

Snorkeling over a coral reef is like floating over an alien planet. Peaceful and magical. I think this is what space should feel like. Above a new world that opens and skips at the same time. The dark side of this paradise is actually below the surface.

Because most of the corals are dead. The organizers of the tour explain that a tragic incident happened in 2022 when the corals were spawning. Strong winds kept decaying material at bay, resulting in massive coral die-offs. But don’t worry, this is a natural phenomenon and soon everything will grow back.

Nature, a service shop

But a look at the media reports reveals the true extent of the disaster: not only massive coral reefs, but also about a million fish died. That’s not the only damage. In the spring of 2022, scientists said Coral bleaching on Ningaloo ReefEffect of global warming.

Human crimes, especially in this country with high per capita CO2 emissions2Emissions in the world, friendly guides tell you nothing. Nature here is big, wonderful and a convenience store for many Australians. One host tells us how he shoots between humpback whales on his jet ski and thinks nothing of it.

A woman at a camper rental shop speaks uncritically of the North’s productive mines. There are dead kangaroos several kilometers down the highway – a wildlife fence never comes to mind.

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An elderly woman sits with her grandchildren on the beach at Coral Bay. She says she has been coming here since childhood. But things have changed here. “The corals were very colorful and large.” Why don’t they exist anymore? “Well, because they let a lot of boats and tourists in here.” The woman says this very casually. Actually, I don’t think we should snorkel here. But it is very beautiful. Is that what Jeff Bezos told himself when he went into real space?