Dolphins in the morning
Monkey Mia Travel Blog› entry 6 of 25 › view all entries
The main reason most people come to Monkey Mia is to see the dolphins. The local dolphins have been fed for years just off the coast at Monkey Mia Resort and they come into the coast every day to get a couple of fish. I get up early in the morning to go out and see the morning feeding. But nothing is going on when go down there - and somebody at the visitor center is shouting at the people walking down at the beach that we are not allowed to be down at the beach in that area. Apparently the dolphins will begin to come into the beach the moment they see people gathering down at the shore - hence they don’t want people down at the feeding area between the actual feedings.
Hence instead of looking at the dolphins coming in I have to enjoy the sunrise instead - which isn’t really a bad alternative.
They seem to delay the feeding until around eight but at least there is other wildlife to look at in the meantime. The area around Shark Bay are home to a wide variety of different birdlife and just down at the water is a few big white pelicans hanging around - apparently they like to hang around for the feeding of the dolphins in an attempt to snatch a fish or two from the dolphins. They seem a bit more natural than the dolphins which appear a bit like a mixture of a circus and a zoo display.
Then it is finally time to feed the dolphins. In the old days they used to feed the dolphins all they could eat so they just tended to hang around all day - just waiting for the next feeding.
A couple of dolphins come into the shore and they get a few fish each. When the dolphins have eaten their fish people are told to get out of the water and away from the beach so the dolphins knows they won’t get more fish right now. After a short break the feeding is resumed and three dolphins come back to the shore again. They get there fish and then the show are over. There are one more feeding today but I can’t really bother to wait for it - the show isn’t really all that interesting so I might as well leave the place and go for more interesting things.
After leaving the dolphins behind at Monkey Mia I head down the road back towards through the Shark Bay World Heritage area. I stop at an aquarium at the beach which has got a display of the local fish. Considering I would not try to go to the cold winter water the aquarium is the only way to see the local fish. When I get there they got a tour of the different tanks with some commentary about the different fish.
There are small tanks with many different kinds of fish inside the building. There are also a few turtles in there. The biggest attraction inside is probably the lone sea snake which the guide is taken up and handling by hand without protection.
He goes through the general story of how dangerous sea snakes actually are.
Another interesting display is a small tank with something in it.
We head outside and out here in the sun are some really big tanks - they look more like a small lake than a fish tank. In the first one is a display of the bigger fish living in the area around Shark Bay. But it is the other display which really attracts the attention of the spectator - in there are the sharks. The biggest one is a pretty big tiger shark which they have caught just outside in the waters around Shark Bay - oh yeah if anyone wonder where Shark Bay got its name - it got it from the many sharks living in the area. With the feeding of the sharks the tour pretty much come to an end at it is time to head out and away again.
I drive along the road towards one of the features which have helped Shark Bay to get its World Heritage status a small pool called the Hamelin Pool. On the way down there I pass one of the unique animals of the country - the emu. It is great to already get to see one of these amazing birds close by early in the trip. It takes away the pressure of - what if I miss out on all the wildlife??
I get to the pool and take the short walk out there. At first there are not a lot to look at. It all looks like rocks in the shallow water. But the rock like features are not rocks at all. Indeed the rocks are stromalites.
The stromalites look pretty insignificant - nothing you would usually take note of. But they have their crucial part in the history of life on planet Earth.
Previously it was assumed that all stromalits had become extinct millions or even billions of years ago when they had been pushed away by higher developed life forms. But then you found a few stromalits in a couple of secluded areas around the world. The most accessible of them all are indeed the Hamelin Pool. The stromalites like the special conditions found here at the Hamelin Pool with clear water and super high salinity which keep virtually all other life forms away. Hence the stromalites still have one of their last holdouts here. But they have been under pressure previously - back when there were a big sheep industry in the area the wool would be taken out to the boats just of the shore at Hamelin Pool and the carts would drive out through the stromalites - which for the locals appeared to have no significance. The wheels of the carts damaged the stromalites and due to their extremely slow growth you can still see some of the damage done many years ago.
After walking around the stromalites for a while it is time to head back towards the main road. Passing once again the famous Overlander Roadhouse.