Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 3 &4 Denham/ Shark Bay/ Monkey Mia

Shark Bay encompasses 2.2 million hectares on the far west coast with diverse ecological areas of sand, surf, and sea.  It is recognized as a World Heritage Area (Land) and World Heritage Area (Marine) because of it's natural beauty, earth's history, ecological processes, and biological diversity.  Denham is the town centre for the area and was once a pearling and fishing port.  First touristy thing we did was going to Ocean Park Aquarium.  It has about 8 or so different tanks with only locally found fish, rays, turtles and marine life.  The best part was their hourly shark feeding.  The marine biologist guide was super enthusiastic and great with our boys numerous questions.  In the video, you can see how clumsy the shark is at feeding.
That evening we traveled to the other side of the peninsula to Monkey Mia Resort to participate in an aboriginal cultural bushwalk.  Darren 'Capes' Capewell, a former footy player and aboriginal guide took us on a hike to find and eat bush tucker (nature's edibles), tell us about Shark Bay history, aboriginal songs and dreamtime stories, and we even learned a few words of the local Manga language.  Capes was awesome!  This was one the best highlights of our trip!  Watching the sun go down, sitting on the red, red sand crowded around a fire, learning about the local first peoples, cooking fish over the coals, and seeing the interest that Caleb showed was so amazing.  Jackson had a great time too.  He tooted the conch shell louder and longer than anyone else, but most of his time was spent making sand angels and digging.
Sunset at Monkey Mia

Capes, our wonderful guide burning the sweet smelling smoke of the sandalwood.
Collin opening up his fish after being cooked over hot coals.  YUMMY!

Caleb demonstrated how he was taught to find fresh water in the desert.
 Aboriginals used fire to crack tops of big rocks to create depressions that captured fresh rain water.

Jackson dig, dig, digging!
Monkey Mia Resort is probably most famous because of it's visits from wild dolphins every day for the past 4 decades.  One of the differences nowadays?  The conservation workers closely monitor the human interactions and feeding of 'fish snacks' as to still keep them from becoming too dependant on humans for food.  Unlike the 1970s where local campers fed them chips and sausages from the BBQ.  We were lucky enough to get two great visits from two pods of dolphins.  The first one was 7 dolphins and 40 minutes latre a second pod of 9 dolphins came.  Becky and Jackson were twice as lucky as they got to feed a mama dolphin by hand.


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