Four days Monkey Mia
Tuesday May 7
Nathalie and I got picked up a little past 7am. We headed out of Perth and eventually stopped at the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. After that we drove a little more to Port Denison to have lunch. After lunch we kept driving to Geraldton, a good sized city with lots of money because of all the mines in the area, and it is a port city so a lot of exports are loaded there. Cindy got a ticket for passing someone before the dotted line started. We drove to Kilbarra, where we stayed at a horse ranch for the night. It poured rain all night.
Wednesday May 8
I got up at 5:45am and had some breakfast. It rained a little again while we were packing up the minibus. We drove about a half hour to Z Bend and Nature’s Window. They are down 26km of sandy road, which had lots of big puddles due to the thunderstorm of the previous night. The rain continued to hound us for the early part of the day, giving us bright clear sunshine and then abruptly down pouring, soaking us to the bone. I guess I’m glad I didn’t have a shower before we left this morning! Z Bend is beautiful, and the Murchison River actually had water in it, which is very rare. Nature’s Window is beautiful as well, a hole in a big rock, that you can look through and see the gorge beyond. After that we left Kalbarri NP and drove for a couple of hours to Billabong Roadhouse for lunch. Wraps. Then we drove on to Shark Bay, also called (which means two bays in the local Aborigine language, because it is a finger of land that just into the sea, with a bay on either side). We stopped at Shell Beach and some people took a quick dip but it started to rain again so we drove on a few minutes to a big hot tub, fed by very hot water pumped up to the surface from below. Next we drove on to Monkey Mia, the resort community we spent the night at. We made a BBQ dinner with salad grilled eggplant, homemade fries, chicken schnitzel and marinated beef steaks. There was a really good live band at the pub – singer called Toby.
Thursday May 9
Today we stayed at Monkey Mia until 11am, but I got up at 6:40am and walked down the beach a ways to some dunes to watch the sunrise. I wasn’t expecting much of a view because of the heavy cloud cover and rain in the area but it was quite spectacular anyways. Then I went back to the room and got ready with my group, and we walked to the beach to see the dolphin feeding at 7:45am. There are a couple of rangers that talk about the dolphins lives and families and the individual dolphins, before it is time to feed them. The talking is called the “dolphin interaction time” during which they have started swimming in close to shore in anticipation of free fishes for breakfast. During this time the crowd of onlookers is allowed to take a couple of steps into the water to get a better view. When the buckets of fish are brought do the the water then people have to step back to the shore and that is the signal to the dolphins that food has arrived. There are many dolphins in the area but regulations only allow that a specific five females get fed, and it is only about 10% of their daily intake that they are fed, so that they still have to go out and hunt an catch most of their food, ensuring their young learn how to fend for themselves. After the feeding Isabelle, Nathalie and I went for a big buffet breakfast at the resort’s restaurant. Then Patrick showed up in the restaurant so we decided to try to go for a swim at the beach (far down from where the dolphins get fed). At 11am we headed out and stopped in Denham for Diesel. Denham is the most westerly town in Australia. After this we started heading back south and stopped at a lookout on the opposite doe if the road of Monkey Mia, overlooking the other bay. This side has more seagrass and plants and is frequented by dugongs and most of the local shark species. We had high hopes of seeing these creatures but we were disappointed. Only birds were visible in the bay today, so we drove on to the Stromatolites and had lunch there. Then it was time to turn around and start heading back south. We drove back to the Billabong Roadhouse and stopped for Diesel again. Then drove on to Kalbarri, where we stayed at the YHA backpackers for the night. After spaghetti bolognese we played Pictionary.
Friday May 10
This morning we got up and packed up and had pancakes for breakfast. We left just before 8am and headed down to Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. I got to cuddle a kangaroo Joey – Francis. After we drove on to Jurien Bay for lunch. Next we drove to Lancelin and tried sandboarding before driving back to Perth.