So we left Kalbarri with grand intentions of getting to Shark Bay to look around in town, and then get to the camp so the kids could escape the heat of the day in the pool for a bit. However, our best intentions were not met as delays in leaving, and pumping up the tire, and shopping in Kalbarri made us a bit late.
After we packed up the next morning and headed out on our way to shark Bay, we hit the gas station and thankfully the tire was only marginally low on the air and I did a quick top up and we headed on our way. Yahoo! Must be all of the weight we are carrying!
On our way out we stopped at some shops in Kalbarri while we sent the kids to play on an awesome pirate ship themed playground in the local waterfront beach park. Ziplines, slides, ship, planks, crows nest…the whole shabang. It was awesome and the kids wanted to play on it while I went and grabbed a few things. Of course Deb had to stay to supervise.
The first stop was a bookstore that was new or totally used books and I went through all of the books there pulled aside some of the books that the kids might like so we could return with him for their book choices. They had two really good bakeries and a butcher where I was able to get some sausages made with kangaroo chili, chicken with cranberry and chestnuts, and the lamb and rosemary sausages. I got three normal sausages just in case the rest of the family didn’t find those too tasty (in the end they were really good, especially the chicken/cranberry one!
I also stopped in there local grocery store and bought a couple things, but I could not bring myself to buy the cucumber for five dollars! I thought that was a bit excessive. We were going to be hitting some bigger towns as we are headed further north so I am sure it was going to be cheaper there.
We hopped into the trailer after we were done shopping and went picked up a couple of books, some bread and the kids had a donut from the bakery, and we were on our way!
Along the way to Sharks Bay, we stopped in at Shell Beach. This beach is one of two beaches in the world that is completely made up of shells. The reason being is that it is another hypersalinated area that doesn’t allow much if anything other than the salt loving Fragum Cockle mussel like creature to survive here.
The cockle releases amino acids into its blood in order to maintain the concentration of solution in its cells similar to that of the water…otherwise known as (teachable moment) an osmotic gradient. This prevents the water from coming into the cells which would then cause them to explode like water balloons! School…done for the day.
There were only a few other people with us on the beach as it was a weekday and it was amazing to be there along with the fam. The water was crystal clear and the slope out was very gradual.
We found a starfish exoskeleton which was a cool find! The sun was beating down as it was high noon and it was about 35C. The water was very shallow for a long way, so we could walk out far, but the kids were afraid of sharks off the coast of WA, so they opted to stay on shore. It was only knee deep though. But understandable. Grabbed some pictures, including a photo that Deb and I grab all over the world in interesting places.
Then it was a fast walk and clamber back into the RV as the crazy flies were bad.
We eventually reached Sharks Bay where the wind was blowing like mad, to the point that it was getting pushed right through the screens of the windows. So there was sand everywhere.
The campground that we stayed at was pretty sparse…a couple of trees around, but a whole lot of sand. Granted there was a nice pool that had tall walls around which blocked most of the wind and a very large rec room with a TV but the wind was so loud that we couldn’t hear the TV despite the kids best efforts with the volume button.
We planned just to get up the next morning and drive to Monkey Mia to see some dolphins up close and personal the next day anyways so we didn’t bother getting too excited about getting comfortable.
The next morning the wind was still blowing, at 40kph and not 50kph. So we will take that as a blessing.
We packed up and headed off to Monkey Mia Campground where the dolphin feedings take place and have been doing so for some 30 odd years.
The dolphins arrive for breakfast at 7:45am and the hoards of people line up on the boardwalk until they are given the all clear to come down to the beach. There must have been 100 or so of us.
The staff and volunteers are in the water and let the dolphins play around their feet as they give a little talk about dolphins in the area. Did you know….
- Dolphins are related to the killer whale, an animal that dolphins actually try to protect from what the killer whale is preying on?
- Females are called cows, males are called bulls, and babies are calves. No legs though.
- They work together to feed, by swimming in a circle around a school of fish which then keeps the fish inside the circle, then they dive into the centre with their mouths open.
- They need to eat about 33lbs of fish a day?
- They are social animals that live in pods from 12 to 100
- Gestation time of a dolphin is 9 to 17 months depending on the season.
- They have great eyesight in the water, but just as good out of the water! That is why they lie on their side at the surface, so that they can see us.
At Monkey Mia, there are three feedings. Volunteers are picked out of the crowd to feed a dolphin a fish, and the kids really wanted to do this. However, during the first feeding, they picked me instead of the kids. Oops. So, I went in and fed the fish and it was pretty cool to do. “Thanks for the visit folks, see you later,” they said and the crowd moved on.
We expected the feedings to be hours apart. However, when the first large crowd dispersed, they said a few of the stragglers…”Ok, see you in 10 minutes for the next feeding!”. Bonus! This was going to be a time compressed activity.
So we wandered down the beach and saw some pelicans lounging around the shoreline and a quick look around the campground.
We lined up again on the beach and listened to the same talk, but we really wanted to let the kids feed the dolphins. Second time around, Lulu did!
Ok, since we knew there was going to be another feeding 10 minutes after that, then we just hung around, and Wilson put on his biggest smile and then he got picked for the third….Yay!
Mission accomplished and we were on our way up to Canarvon, which was going to be an overnight stop before we made our way up to Exmouth and Cape Range National Park for some off grid camping, snorkelling along the drift reef, and enjoying the stars.
We were also cautioned to keep an eye out for stray animals on the road, such as cows, emus, ostriches, kangaroos, and pterodactyls. What?!? All over the west coast, someone has randomly painted a stencil of a pterodactyl on these signs from the south coast to the north! Haha.
We stopped in at a few points along the way and the scenery was beautiful and we were glad we came despite the wind and the flat tire scare.
But nonetheless, we headed on up further north on the highway or red soil and scrub brush that was considerably spacing out as we were going.