Category Archives: Blog

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!

wedgie1

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.

swimming turtles

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.

turtle head

 

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!

turtle tracks

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.
SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Brassy Trevally

Fast, agressive and full of power, Brassy Trevally are first cousins with the Giant Trevally. Defined by yellow tips to their dorsal and tail fins plus scattered black speckles along their backs. Brassy Trevally are considered excellent table fish.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC
Found in tropical waters along with the rest of the trevally family, these predatory fish chase down baitfish in shallow water and usually hunt in schools. As juveniles, they may feed on crustaceans and squid, changing to a diet of fish as they mature. They have no hesitation in taking flies so it’s a thrilling ride when you hook a big one, as they are extremely feisty and powerful!
SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Mackerel Tuna

Mackerel tuna are stubborn fighters when hooked, and can be recognised by a distinct and striking pattern of broken zig-zaggy lines on the upper sides of their bodies, and two or five dark spots above the pelvic fin.

They are in the Scombridae family which includes all mackerel, tuna and bonito.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC
Macks hunt in large schools to round up baitfish and then smash into them as a gang.
Macks can be regarded as both abundant and elusive at the same time. Abundant in that a feeding school could easily cover an area of 100 square metres or more, and elusive in that getting close enough to them to cast your line near them without spooking them can be very difficult as these fish spook easily.
Recently there have been reports of loads of mackerel tuna in the Exmouth Gulf. These schools have been so large that anglers have been able to successfully get in fly fishing range without spooking them off, which is how these pictured macks were caught!
SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Bluebone Groper

One of the most prized catches for any fly fisherman is the Blue Bone, correctly known as the blackspot tuskfish or commonly known as bluebone. These fish live in the beautiful northern waters of Western Australia.

They are found along coral reefs and reefy flats hunting for food which include different varieties of crustaceans and  sea urchins including crabs, shells and sea critters.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

This bluebone was caught on the flats in only 1.5 metres of water with a crab on the end of a fly.

This technique is lots of fun as is challenges the angler as they have to land the cast precisely on top of the fish. Once you are hooked, hold on tight because these fish will go for every hole they can find to try and snap your line and break loose.

Spectacular Sal Salis

Words & Photos by Nicholas Janzen www.nicholasjanzen.com

You’re reading this blog for one of two reasons – you’ve either visited Sal Salis (or one of the Wild Bush Luxury wilderness retreats around  Australia) or you’re on the lookout for an exceptional holiday experience and have it listed in the ‘options’ category.
For those of you who’ve visited, congratulations on a great choice of holiday. You, like me, now understand what an amazing and unique travel experience Wild Bush Luxury offers. Needless to say you have some memories that, without doubt, will last a lifetime.
As a freelance journalist, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to most parts of the world for business (and, sometimes, pleasure). I’ve stayed at a range of places – from the poshest of palaces to the dirtiest of dungeons – and I believe I’ve a decent idea of what constitutes an amazing travel adventure. I can honestly say (and no, I’m not paid to write this!) no place truly compares to spectacular Sal Salis, nestled on the shores of Ningaloo Reef.
An exclusive safari-style camp hidden in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park, Sal Salis is paradise for nature-loving adventurists. The appeal of the region is unquestionable – the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is one of Earth’s last ocean paradises. Here you can take a dive with hundreds of tropical fish, colourful coral and the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark. Ningaloo is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world and unlike many other famous reef systems, you can get to it just by stepping off the beach – and the reef is just five metres from shore at Sal Salis!
Nothing can compare to Ningaloo’s great attraction – the thrill of swimming beside a whale shark. These big, friendly giants visit the reef each year between April and June. Each day during my stay busloads of tourists return to camp glowing after paddling alongside the “awesome” behemoth of the ocean. I, however, wasn’t there to swim with fish… I was there to fish!
Yellowfin Tuna
Ningaloo Reef is one of the most fertile fishing grounds in the world. In my three days’ angling at Ningaloo, I was blown away by the sheer numbers of fish we landed – and the variety of species we caught. Ningaloo, in my opinion at least, is probably the best open-ocean fishery in the world. Whatever you dream of catching, from marlin and tuna to giant trevally and everything in between, there’s a great chance to do it at Ningaloo. If you’re headed there, prepare for world-class fishing… and with very few neighbouring boats! And when you’ve had enough of fishing from Sal Salis’ well-equipped vessel, try your hand at some fly fishing for bonefish – if you’re a keen angler, targeting these line-tearing speedsters is something you need to try before you die.
Black MarlinSpanish Mackerel
For me though, the best part of my experience wasn’t the fishing – it was the entire experience. Sal Salis offers an eco experience like few other destinations around the world. The supremely comfortable accommodation sans the TV, minibar and telephone, exposes you to the sights and sounds outside your luxury tent – kangaroos graze amongst the dunes; birds bellow beautiful songs; humpbacks breach just beyond the reef. As part of its commitment to nature, Sal Salis abides by strict principles of minimal impact and sustainability to operate in the fragile surrounds of the Cape Range National Park – all power is solar generated, each en suite bathroom has a state-of-the-art composting loo, and water usage is very carefully managed.
The main camp, where beaut brekkies, lush lunches and delicious dinners are served, is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. It’s the perfect place for a reflective sundowner after a day to remember – whether you were swimming with whale sharks, snorkelling with the sealife or fighting a fish of a lifetime.
Whatever adventure your heart desires, do yourself a favour this lifetime – head to Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef and go wild. Get your hands dirty, your feet wet and immerse yourself in one of the world’s last-remaining untouched natural wonders. Nothing compares.
– Nicholas Janzen

coral trout on ningaloo reef!

Coral trout are generally caught near reef areas and taken in deep water (upto 100m), however this nice catch was caught in water just 31m deep! 

Below is an impressive 81cm Coral trout caught on our boat Sal Canis.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Sailfish in excellent numbers on the ‘westside’ near sal salis ningaloo reef

Sailfish are a prized game fish known for their incredible jumps and acrobatic displays. They move very fast through the water and some have been clocked at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour!
Sailfish are in good numbers on the ‘Westside’ right now and in the last 7 days our skipper and guests have raised 25 billfish and tagged 20 – brilliant numbers!
In the coming weeks we expect numbers to increase in the Exmouth Gulf.
During October-February Sailfish chase bait into the Exmouth Gulf and their numbers increase signifcantly …. almost to plague like numbers!
Some of our recent catches below