Rowley Shoals became a prime destination for me after our early 1990s expeditions to dive with the whale sharks found off the Ningaloo Reef. The boat captain and crew kept telling us that further North and 160 miles out to sea there were three fabulous atolls with rich marine animals and abundant sharks and other large animals.
We mounted an expedition the following year, flying up to the far northwest coast of Australia and heading straight out to sea.
The atolls were as beautiful as the crew had described them. Not only did they offer secure anchorages in gorgeous aquamarine bays, but the dropoffs outside the coral perimeter seemed to go straight down. One wall was festooned with huge ice-blue soft coral colonies which flourished when the currents ran. It was a garden of delights for photographers. My first brief story.
There were narrow passes through the coral walls, through which roaring currents swooshed. Many times, we took out cameras and rode the currents, flying like fighter jets, soaring and swooping—and startling the marine life that found living in this maelstrom congenial.
On one expedition, we purposely tried to attract tiger sharks, which were known to frequent the pearling beds near the coast. We did get one tiger which wouldn’t cooperate for photos, but we saw whale sharks, giant schools of jacks and active silvertip sharks. The story.
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