Anticipation high for festival
Exmouth is buzzing as it prepares for this year’s Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival, which starts today.
Whale shark tour operators are getting ready for a big weekend, which is forecast for optimal boating conditions.
Kylie Rose of Ningaloo Discovery said although the business’ tours were almost fully booked, there were a few places left for each day of the festival.
“Every day is going to be booked, but we still have places left on both the sailing catamaran and the power boat,” she said.
Ms Rose said tourists had been able to swim with a whale shark every day since May 20 and there may be an opportunity to spot some other marine creatures.
Although there was no guarantee of seeing anything but a whale shark, she said recently tours had spotted manta rays, turtles, humpback whales and octopuses, as well as a rare sighting of a pygmy blue whale.
Temperatures are forecast for the high 20s throughout the weekend, with a slight breeze and lots of sun making it ideal for whale shark swims.
The breeze and sunny weather will also be perfect for the Shire of Exmouth’s Catch the Wind display, in which Kinetic Kites will run workshops where children will be able to make and fly kites.
The Bureau of Meteorology will be there to answer weather-related questions.
The Catch the Wind display will be at the Festival Day on Talanjee oval on Saturday.
Also appearing at the Festival Day are the Australian Army Band, who are preparing to make the big trip up north from Perth.
The Army Band’s Sergeant Peter O’Connor said although it could be difficult transporting 20 musicians and all their instruments, it was always worth the hassle.
Sgt O’Connor described the band as “Glen Miller style”, playing everything from current day hits to music from the 1940s and 50s.
Sgt O’Connor said the band would perform on Thursday and Saturday night, as well as going to the local high school to run some workshops.
“One of the best ways for defence to engage in the community is for the army to use the band,” he said.
“It’s a very easy band to sit and have a glass of wine to or get up and have a boogie.”
Exmouth police are warning festivalgoers planning to get behind the wheel to ease up on the wine.
Acting Sergeant Shelley McQueen said officers would be increasing the amount of random breath tests, as well as targeting drivers using mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts.
Sgt McQueen said the Whale Shark Festival was a well organised event which did not often attract antisocial behaviour.
The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival starts today and ends on Sunday.
For more information, visit ningaloowhalesharkfestival.com.
Tourists swim with a whale shark off the Exmouth coast.