Category Archives: Blog

Lucky Lizard

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The Brown Falcon is found in the drier regions of Australia. The Cape Range National Park is an arid limestone area and we are starting to see some lovely wildflowers at this time of year including Sturt Desert Peas and the beautiful Bird Flower.

Sal Salis is wedged into the dunes between these dramatic limestone ranges and then the World Heritage Ningaloo Reef on the other side.

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Our location makes for some amazing outback sunrises and magical coastal sunsets and our habitual routine is to kick back with an aperitif and a canape or two as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. Ching ching D

Winter … What Winter ?

Juliet, Conrad, Jack & Georgina can vouch that Ningaloo is somewhat warmer than their home in Sydney right now ! They have been enjoying a break from the cold this week at Sal Salis, lounging on the beach in 25 degrees and snorkelling with the turtles in the crystal clear water. One turtle even crawled up the beach to check on an old nest hidden amongst the dunes of the Cape Range. 

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After swimming with the world’s biggest fish – the wonderful whale sharks our guests spotted a pod of killer whales off the reef break in hunting formation, looking for a meal. Back in camp our chef, Pedro, whipped up delicious paella and saffron mussels amongst other tasty morsels. Thank you for visiting our paradise & for sharing some pictures ! 

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Sydney-Siders Wander West

Just like our Sal Salis field guide Emma, who visited Ningaloo when she was a child and vowed to return and work in the area one day, our guests Manon & Tom from Sydney are now hoping to do the same!

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Wonder what they witnessed when they wandered west ?

Wildlife …

World Heritage Ningaloo Reef …

Wallabies …

Whale sharks (aka world’s largest fish) …

Australian Wildlife Conservancy …

Window to the west …

Wedge-tail Eagle …

Wilderness Wisdom from our Wonderful Guides  …

Wide Brimmed Hat …

Wine …

Wade into Water Without Waiting …

Gorge Walks …

While-a-week-away …

White sandy beaches …

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Shall we start on A ? We wouldn’t do that to you !

Wonderful ‘Wedgie’

A wonderdul Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) soars above our guests while exploring the Cape Range National Park this week. The ‘Wedgie’ is the largest bird of prey in Australia and has a wingspan of up to 2.27 metres ! 

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Other birdlife to be spotted in our backyard include Pied Butcherbirds, Fairy Wrens, Kestrels, Zebra Finches, Reef Herons, waders and seabirds amongst others.

This striking silhouette of the Wedge-tailed Eagle cruising overhead may just fool you into forgetting they are opportunists,  constantly searching for a bite to eat.  Nevertheless they do strike an impressive pose when in full flight. 

Turtle Love

Ningaloo Reef is home to large populations of green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, three of the world’s seven marine turtle species.  The mating and nesting season takes place each year between November and April.

Many have already lumbered up the beach to lay their eggs whilst others are still finding a fellow suitor.

For most species, courtship usually occurs over several weeks before the nesting season.  The three turtle species found on Ningaloo Reef have enlarged claws on their front flippers which help them to grasp the shells of the females during mating.  Copulation takes place in the water, just offshore.

A few weeks after mating the female comes ashore on a sandy beach to nest.

This female will be doing just that shortly.

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Vale Larry!

Larry was the resident sand monitor who lived at the back of the lodge at Sal Salis. 

Sand monitors also known as Gould’s monitor, reach up to 1.4 metres in length and can weigh as much as 6kg.  They spend all day foraging for food and anything smaller than itself will be eagerly devoured. 

Sadly Larry, found himself at the bottom of the food chain yesterday.

A Perentie appeared around the camp, no doubt attracted by the turtle nesting that is taking place at the moment but spotted Larry instead. 

The Perentie is the largest monitor lizard or goanna native to Australia, and the fourth largest lizard in the world! They can grow up to 2.5 metres and can weigh as much as 15kg.  They eat insects, reptiles (including their own kind), turtle eggs, bird eggs, birds and yesterday, Larry. 

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An opportunistic breakfast in the cape range national park

The Wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey with a wing span of up to 2.5 metres; standing up to and sometimes over a metre tall! This one below was seen in the morning on the way out to camp, as you can see we have rudely interrupted breakfast time!

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The young eagles are brown in colour, darkening as they grow. The female is a larger bird than the male, and are quite often sighted in pairs. Unfortunately the amount of road kill (dead Euro’s especially) in the Cape Range National Park is quite high. This is good news for the wedgies as it provides plenty of food to eat. But if you look a little closer at the picture you can see the Euro has been hit by a car and left very close to the edge of the road. As the wedge-tailed eagle is a large & quite heavy bird, it takes them a little time to get up in the air and out of harms (cars) way. No damage was done here as we watched it fly to a tree close by where it waited for us to leave before getting back to the business of breakfast!

Care should always be taken when driving through areas renowned for its wildlife.  Wildlife is very active throughout the national park during the day and night.  Please adhere to speed limits and keep a vigilant watch for birds and animals.

it’s turtle time!

Whether it is a Green turtle, Loggerhead or Hawksbill cruising around the waters during the day or females emerging from the ocean to nest in the dunes at night, the Ningaloo coast is currently abundant with these beautiful reptiles.

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It’s not uncommon for our guests to enjoy an underwater encounter as seen above.

Or to see them from the shore coming up for a breath of fresh air as seen below.

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Turtles began mating at the end of October and are currently still mating. Once the female has been fertilised it takes a few short weeks before she makes her way to the dunes to begin the nesting process. As you can imagine a turtle out of water moves like a sloth. Super slow! This in turn allows curious humans a better chance at watching these amazing creatures. Turtles have what we call a magnetic foot, meaning that they will inevitably return to the same beach they were hatched on to lay their eggs. To put things into perspective, only 1 in 1000 turtles survive to sexual maturity which is a whopping 40 years old!

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In general, nesting female turtles don’t like to be disturbed. If they sense danger or feel uncomfortable with the surrounding area, they will retreat back to the safety of the water and abort their nesting mission. So there is quite a strict process of how to observe these incredible turtles nesting so that humans have little or no effect on the nesting process.

In the last week we have had four Loggerhead turtles nest along the shores of South Mandu, the beach right in front of camp. The Loggerhead is currently one of the turtle species that is considered endangered, so this is great news, very exciting indeed! Fingers crossed in six to eight weeks we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the hatchlings fleeing to the water.

Blog by EJ- Sal Salis guide.

Cobia

Cobia are the only member in their family species: the Rachycentridae. Other names they are known by are black kingfish, black salmon, ling, lemonfish, crabeaters and aruan tasek.

Cobia have elongated spindle shaped bodies and broad flattened heads. Their eyes are small and bodies are smooth with small scales.
They are mostly dark brown and have white bellies with two darker brown horizontal stripes on their flanks. Cobia grow big in WA waters, with a world record fish of 61.5 kilos taken at Shark Bay in 1985.
They feed primarily on crabs, squid, and other smaller fish.
Cobia are known to follow larger animals such as sharks, turtles and manta rays in hope of scavenging an easy meal. They are very curious fish and are not afraid of boats, known to follow other caught fish up to the surface and linger to see what’s going on!
This cobia was caught on the Sal Salis boat earlier in the year and taken home for dinner, as they are priized for their delicious taste and firm texture.
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