Shark Bay / Monkey Mia

meet "Nicky"

meet “Nicky”

Next stop was at Denham, for a visit to Shark Bay and the dolphins of Monkey Mia. The dolphins are famous for coming in to the shore for a feed of fish, so famous that the Conservation Department had to introduce strict rules so that they stayed wild and did not rely on people to feed them. Only a few people get chosen to feed each dolphin, who each only get fed a maximum of 3 times a day, but on the morning I went only one dolphin came in for a feed early in the morning so all the tourists that slept in and turned up later were disappointed…. but not these two girls :

2 lucky kids get to feed a dolphin

2 lucky kids get to feed a dolphin

The other main attraction in the area is the Francois Peron National Park, which would have been a nice place to camp for a night or two….. if it was not so windy ! I drove right to the tip of the Cape, to the lookout at Skipjack Point where it was so windy I could n’t stand upright.

50kms each way of red sand !

50kms each way of red sand !

It was 4WD all the way but not too difficult, although one hill on the way back needed 2 attempts to get up it. The Park used to be a sheep station, and many of the old buildings are open to look around. It’s shearing shed was relatively small, only a six stand shed. According to the information boards the shed was originally closer to the coast for ease of transport, but that made it too close to the pub in town and too easy for the shearers to get drunk, so the shed was moved away from temptation out to the homestead !

Inside of the shearing shed

Inside of the shearing shed

Unless you were a keen deepsea angler there is not much to see around Denham except the dolphins and the National Park, so 2 nights was plenty long enough for me …back on the road again !
There were a couple of zoological oddities just off the main road that I stopped to take a look at :

Stromatolites - formed by the oldest organism on Earth

Stromatolites – formed by the oldest organism on Earth

They may look like rocks, but these are stromatolites, formed by cyanobacteria that first evolved 3.5 billions years ago, which makes them the oldest organism on Earth ! Over the first 2 billion years they produced enough oxygen to raise the oxygen level to 20% and enabled the evolution of air breathing life…such as us, so say thank you to these “rocks”!
The other oddity was Shell Beach, where the water is so saline that only one type of cockle can survive in the salty waters, and the beach is made up of millions of cockle shells. These get washed up onto the beach where they get compacted down under their own weight, break down and release calcium carbonate, and form a natural “concrete” which used to be quarried into blocks and used to construct local buildings.

Shell Beach

Shell Beach

Then it was back onto the highway and heading north again :

Now I'm officially in the North West !

Now I’m officially in the North West !

Next stop “Gnomesville” ….Gnomesville ? …all will be revealed in my next post !

About Mike

A recently retired "Baby Boomer" , looking forward to having more time for my photography and travel.
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