Coral Bay is even smaller than Exmouth. It's a couple of streets with a few restaurants, two caravan parks, and one kick-ass bakery.
It’s crazy that the area isn't more built up, but thank goodness it isn't, because the reef is protected and thriving.
Yes, the beaches are gorgeous. But the real beauty is below the water's surface.
We got a tip from a few locals, and when the tide was low enough, walked from the main beach around a rocky point and out to Paradise Beach. From there, we aligned ourselves with a marker out in the water (the one with a 5 on it) and started swimming.
It's a unique snorkel, since the first part is the deepest and has the worst visibility. We swam out a hundred meters before hitting the wall of coral. And then, WOW.
Rarely do the photos do it justice. "It" being the place, experience, meal, or whatever. But in this case, compared to what we saw, these photos may as well be of a huge pile of garbage. Maybe they would have been better had we remember the red underwater filter for our GoPro... Alas, I have my work cut out for me. I'll have to try to explain it well enough to paint the picture. (A Sisyphean task.)
As we continued swimming farther out, away from the beach, the coral composition got better and better and better. There were less fish than we'd seen in Exmouth and the Whitsundays but waaay more coral. There were so many kinds, colors, formations. We leisurely glided over the underwater jungle of purple, teal, magenta, pale pink and bright red corals. The colorful corals combined with the bright colors of the fish gave the illusion of being inside a rainbow. I have to admit, "Under the Sea," the iconic tune from The Little Mermaid, was playing in my head. It felt like we had been shrunken and were swimming inside an aquarium's tank. Perfectly designed and executed, every inch accounted for, jam-packed with variety that kept your eyes constantly engaged.
We swam around in awe, taking lots of photos (ugh!) and spotting sea turtles. About 15 minutes after we got out, we went back in and did the entire swim again. It was that good.