Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 115 - 119 Coral Bay to Monkey Mia – 1-5 Oct 2009

18,645 kms, 28 degrees C

We have turned left and are now heading South, after heading in a Westerly direction since early July. As the sign shows, we have crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, we’re no longer in the tropics, and don’t we know it. A month ago we had 42 degree temperatures in Mornington Wilderness Camp, now the numbers are reversed, as is it 24 here in Monkey Mia. We expect little sympathy from readers in cooler climes, er all of you! But we had to get the jumpers and jeans off the roof rack!!

Coral Bay is 100km South of Exmouth. We arrived in the middle of WA school holidays and it’s been wet in Perth. They have had 22 days of rain out of 23 in Sept, a record in what is normally a fine month. So even though it’s 1200km North of Perth the campsites and the beaches were chockers. Coral Bay has great snorkelling and protected family beaches.

Next stop was a night in Carnarvon, to break up the driving – the distancse are huge. We have done 3,600km in 18 days since leaving Broome, an average of 200km per day.

Shark Bay is one of Australia’s 16 UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites. Just when the think the superlatives would end, we find another outstanding, unique part of the world.

Our first stop was Hamlin Pool, which boasts the world renowned Stromatolites, “living rocks” who are responsible for us all being on the planet. 3500 million years ago the atmosphere was filled with noxious gasses. Stromatolites were formed from bacteria, some of the first life forms on the planet. They emit oxygen and over a wee while filled the atmosphere with 20% oxygen, creating an environment where air breathing beings could walk out of the water. And there are still alive here in Shark Bay. Check out Bill Bryson’s book Down Under.

We drove up to Monkey Mia where we had 2 nights in the resort, yes that means a bed, roof, windows and things that Nicky had forgotten all about. Monkey Mia was world famous for its dolphins, who have been coming up to the beach for a feed for the past 40 years. It’s a bit staged but a wonderful way to get up close and personal with wild animals and to learn about them. The one on the video being fed is called Nicky!

We could babble on forever about Denham, the history of the European explorers going back to 1616 when Dirk Hartog hit shark bay, the scenary, wildlife, it is all truly remarkable.

The first video features Nicko at Coral Bay then the dolphins at Monkey Mia. The second video shows Nicky at the stromatolite pool at Hamlin, then other sights around the Shark Bay area (swallow chicks in a nest at our resort, a Baudin Island skink, emporerfish, various sharks, moray eel, white eel, cuttlefish, squid and loggerhead turtle), the sealife being from Ocean Park.


Honora said...

Loved the family Dr. Doolittle talking to the animals. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but a sharp - small or otherwise - that won't let go of it's prey!!!! Reckon I liked her conversation with the turtle more! Thanks for the lesson on oxygenisation (can't remember the name of the plant creatures!!!) very interesting. Keep warm!! Mum X

Honora said...

.....sorry, that should have read "female" Dr. Dolittle!!!