Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 9th March 2008 to Tuesday 11th March 2008

Sunday 9th March 2008

We woke to a strong wind again this morning but the view over the water was still great. We made an earlier start to the day as we planned a drive over to Monkey Mia to view the dolphins in the bay.

We managed to get away from the caravan park just before 8:30am and arrived at Monkey Mia at about 8:45am after the 23 kilometres drive on a good sealed road. Entry to the area was $6 for each of us and that gave us full use of the facilities within the resort for the day.

Our first call was to the beach where there were people standing on the edge of the water and there were already two dolphins checking out the crowd and one of the CALM workers who control access to these dolphins and ensure they are only provided with a sample of their diet and no extra feeding from the public.

With both the digital and video camera firmly clutched in our hands we ventured into the water to stand in about a foot of water in a line of spectators and admired the dolphins as they made their way up and down the line, eyeing off individual people whilst at the same time, sticking close to the CALM employee whom they obviously know and understand. During this time we were given details of how the feeding of the dolphins started back in the 1960's and the stages of development to the need for CALM to take over and control the interaction and feeding practices to ensure they are not harmed and do not become dependant on the food that they are provided on these visits.

We spent around half an hour in the water watching the two dolphins watching us and posing for the cameras, with a further 7 dolphins, including a young one or two, frolicking a few metres out from the beach before it was time for the feeding process to take place. At this time all spectators were required to step out of the water and stand at the edge and watch from there. There were now 3 CALM officers in the water and each had a bucket with a specific number, or weight of fish to feed three of the dolphins as by now, when the buckets of fish appeared, an additional dolphin came in for her fair share. We were informed that she was pretty smart and had sussed out the system and figured she can get a feed without the performance if she just waited until the buckets arrived before coming in the the beach.

Each of the three dolphins paired off with a CALM Officer and waited whilst the Officers selected a member from the crowd to feed a fish to their dolphin. The first to feed them were all young pretty girls wearing bikini's, then the second group included a lovely lady referred to in this web site as 'One of Us'... Yes... Pammy was thrilled to be selected and didn't waste any time getting into the water and out to grab a fish by the tail and gently place it in the open mouth of a very appreciative dolphin. It was a little too quick to get good photographs of the action but the video rolled throughout the process and it is now etched into Pammy's mind foreve, she just loved it.

Once the dolphin had devoured the small amount of fish they were offered, the buckets were washed out and emptied in to water, which was the signal to the dolphins that feeding time was over and they headed out into the bay to spend the day fishing for themselves as the fish they are fed is only a very small part of their daily requirement.

With this activity over, we made our way up to the restaurant that overlooks the bay and 'One of Us' devoured two large scones with jam and cream and a cup of tea. The 'Other One' really didn't want anything, but felt he had to keep her company so also decidedly nibbled through the same.

With one very happy Pammy on board the Patrol, we then made our way back to Denham and drove up and down the main street and surrounds before returning to the caravan for the rest of the day. Ending with the customary cold drinks and a BBQ dinner before settling down for the night.

The Dolphins of Mobkey Mia
The Dolphins of Monkey Mia play in the Bay

Dolphins greeting people at Monkey Mia
Dolphins greeting people at Monkey Mia

Dolphin - Are you lookin' at me
Dolphin - Are you lookin' at me

Pelican at Monkey Mia
Hey! what about feeding me...
Pammys feed of scones
Sorry, too busy feeding my own face!!!
Display of Dugongs that inhabit the area
A display of Dugongs that are local to the area

Monday 10th March 2008

After a couple of days out and about investigating the activities and scenic locations around Shark Bay, today was a quiet one with a short drive around the Denham town site and a visit to the Shark Bay Discovery Centre which is a very modern building in the main street of town (Knight Street) which runs along the town foreshore. The entry fee to get into this display centre was $10 each which was collected by a very friendly woman who was also able to dispense a wealth of local information to anyone calling in to see what was around the area.

Once in the display area we were able to trace the history of the area from the days of the original inhabitants through the visits of the early sailing ships from around the 1500's through to the present day. There was information on the local flora and fauna, including the fencing of the Cape Peron area and removal of feral animals and re-introduction of many species of native fauna that the feral animals have wiped out in this area. Even the Bilby has been introduced into the area and it appears they are flourishing in this environment.

There were video screens running continuously and was sat in front of one for half an hour or more, learning of the early days and the current environmental strategies being practiced or introduced to the area at this time. We could have stayed longer, however our little brains could only take in so much and our little bottoms (we say they are little!) were getting sore from sitting and watching the video displays. We eventually made our way out of the display centre well over an hour after entering it, as 'One of Us' thought it must have been lunch time.

We returned to the caravan and put our feet up for a while after lunch, then later in the day we packed up what we could in preparation for our move in the morning from Denham to Coral Bay. The evening was capped of with the usual beer o'clock drinks and a BBQ dinner before retiring early for he night with the view of a reasonably early start in the morning.

Denham main street
The main street at Denham's foreshore

Shark Bay Discovery Centre
Shark Bay Discovery Centre - Denham

Tuesday 11th March, 2008

Another moving day today as it is time to head off up the highway again, destination Coral Bay which is about 240 kilometres North of Carnarvon.

While 'One of Us' gently serenaded the air with sounds that were not silence, the 'Other One' rolled out of bed at an unhealthy hour of 6:34am (yeah.. alright.. don't forget we have daylight saving time and for an old bloke like me, that still seems like 5:34am!!!). With the packing up done at the frenzied pace of a snail in oil, and 'One of Us' finally rising and making herself even more beautiful, we eventually hit the road at about 8:11am and made our way back down the 130 kilometres out to the North West Highway at the Overlander Roadhouse.

From here we turned North once more and had a pretty uneventful 197 kilometre drive passed Wooramel Roadhouse and on to Carnarvon where we filled the Patrol and 5 twenty litre jerry cans with diesel at the Shell Coles Service Station. We made a real saving here as we had a Coles docket and it saved us $6.00.... Really noticeable when you fork out over $300.00 for the fuel purchased.

As our transformer for our 110 litre Waeco fridge freezer had decided to go on holiday, or (strike, not sure which, but we couldn't get any work out of it!) we made our way a kilometre of two in toward Carnarvon town site and located a business that sold Waeco products so were able to donate around $140.00 to his bank account and walked away with a replacement transformer. We have to admit he was very helpful and seemed extremely knowledgeable on the subject.

With fuel and the transformer on board, we then headed out of Carnarvon and made our way up the North West Highway for another 150 kilometres before turning off this Highway just past Minilya Roadhouse.

The next 80 kilometres traversed many rolling hills, particularly as we approached the final turn off to Coral Bay, however we were required to stop and wait for a couple of emus to stroll across the road in front of us at one stage as they obviously considered that they had right of way. They were not in a hurry, maybe they were just posing for the camera as we did manage to get a bit of video footage of them.

Our last 5 or 6 kilometres in to Coral Bay was a pleasant little drive and we found our way to the caravan park by about 3:10pm after traveling almost 600 kilometres for the day.

The rest of the afternoon was spent setting up the caravan and getting everything done to keep us comfortable for the next four days, including the free to air TV and Foxtel dish so 'One of Us' could watch her favourite Tuesday night TV program 'It Takes Two'.

Before the day had bid us goodbye, we also took a stroll down to the water just in front of the caravan park and cooled our heels (and the rest of us as well) in the beautiful ocean water, along with a good number of other swimmers and a fair number of North West Snapper nibbling at our toes (well around them anyway) and a couple of inquisitive small stingrays with very long tails.

The end of the day saw us sitting out with a cold drink in our hands, watching over the bay and enjoying the cooling breeze prior to a dinner of BBQ Pork chops and salad and wondering where life went wrong.... Oh yeah!!!!

Caravan in Peoples Caravan Park - Coral Bay
Settled in at the Peoples Caravan Park

Coral Bay - Viewed from the lookout
Coral Bay - Viewed from the lookout

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