Friday, May 15, 2009

Shark Bay - World Heritage Site

Shark Bay - World Heritage Site - 13th to 15th May 2009

Whalebone Bay - Free Camp
Whalebone Bay Shark Bay World Heritage Site Western Australia
From Shark Bay

Shark Bay is listed as a World Heritage Area and most famous for the dolphins at Monkey Mia.
We spent our first night in this area at a free camp - Whalebone Bay camped right on the Bay front, with water lapping gently at our feet. It was a lovely spot and we were hoping to do some snorkelling unfortunately it was a little stony and a bit late in the day, so we just enjoyed the tranquilness of the spot.
We then headed to Monkey Mia; it wasn’t really what we were expecting as the whole place is a resort (with a $6 entry fee per person) built around the dolphins that come in daily to the beach. We had missed the dolphin feeding that morning, so after a quick look around and catching a glimpse of a dolphin still at the beach, we decided to stay the night on the resort and watch the feeding the next morning which takes place at 7.30am. We then headed out to Francois Peron NP.

Francois Peron National Park
Francois Peron National Park Shark Bay World Heritage Site Western Australia 4x4
From Shark Bay

The National Park is only accessible by 4WD (aside form the first 6kms). After we lowered our tyre pressures for the soft sandy tracks we explored the park taking in a lagoon and a couple of lookouts with red cliffs dropping to sandy beaches and then in to clear blue waters. The driving was great fun as we slid around in the soft red sand.
After what felt like a long days drive we stopped in Denham for fish and chips by the water before heading back to Monkey Mia and our camp spot for the night.

The resort seemed very commercialised, the campsite extremely busy and we felt it was a bit expensive. We were unable to drive on to the grassy camp area, and had to set up in the car park alongside many camper vans in the last parking spot available, this was despite booking in early in the morning! ($28 was paid for this privilege!..... Sure we had done this for free on a few occasions!)

Carl Feeding Dolphin at Monkey Mia
Dolphins Monkey Mia Shark Bay World Heritage Site Western Australia
From Shark Bay

We got up nice and early and headed to the beach to watch the dolphins being fed.
The rangers explained how they tried their utmost to keep the dolphins ‘wild’ by feeding them very little fish and only the same 5 dolphins were fed. We watched them swim up and down for a while and took some nice pictures.
During the feeding people from the crowd are selected at random to hand feed a fish to a dolphin. We were stood at the edge of the crowd and a little way from all the action and the last person to be picked for ‘Piccolo’ (after a long look in Heidi’s direction) was Carl! He felt very special!!

On our way out of Shark Bay we stopped off at Hamlin Pool to see the stromatolites (worlds oldest living organisms that grow up from the sea bed) and the shell blocks which were once used in local construction for buildings.

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