An­tic­i­pa­tion high for fes­ti­val

Pilbara News - - News - Louise Alling­ham

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.

Pic­ture: Vi­o­leta Ja­hel Brosig

Tourists swim with a whale shark off the Ex­mouth coast.

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