Holidays, part 5 – shell beach and dolphins


The next day, we had a poke around Denham, stocked up on food and beer ($50 for a carton of Corona – thats really cheap!) and decided that we’d do a little exploring.

There aren’t a great many things to do in Shark Bay that don’t involve some kind of water/fishing/swimming type activity, so we loaded up the car and drove to Shell Beach, which is 1/2 hour from Denham back down the road we came in on.

Shell Beach is, as the name implies, a beach made of shells.  Just shells.  No sand or pebbles or anything else, just trillions of teeny white shells.  There are so many and the beach is so thick with them that they are mined and bricks carved from the deeper harder almost rock like layers.  Amazing.

The girls packed their snorkelling gear as the water looked amazingly clear, but we discovered that the water looks that clear for a good reason.  It’s only kneed deep for 2 or 3 hundred metres or more out out to sea.

Still, thats enough for small children, but even though its a breathtakingly beautiful place, its not very interesting for adults.  Plus the sea floor being made up of, yes, you guessed it, shells, is not exactly comfortable on the feet.  That said, we had a good time, but there isn’t really that much else to do there, so we sat down, had a drink from the cooler and once the girls dried off, we went home again.

The next day, we stocked up with supplies and drove the 1/2 hour to Monkey Mia, where there is a self contained holiday resort (which we didn’t want to stay at, as there is only one restaurant and nothing else to do).  The interesting thing about Monkey Mia is that for 30 years or more, dolphins have been coming in to the beach to be fed.  This got a bit out of hand in the 80’s so the Environment Department guys created a managed feeding program.  3 times a day, in the mornings only, dolphins swim in and get fed a small ration of fish.  The DoE guys pick members of the public to come and feed them – its very cool.

The water was a bit cloudy with sand when we went, but it was still amazing to see the dolphins up close, to watch them swim on their side with one eye out of the water, sizing us all up.

It was a very cool experience and the girls had a lot of fun, even though they didn’t get picked for the feeding.  They swam in the sea for a few hours, playing with some American kids (who were perhaps the most loud bossy children I have ever seen) before we’d kinda had enough sun, so we packed up and went home.

As the ocean in Shark Bay is really calm in good weather, we made a plan to come back and go out on one of the catamarans that sail around the bay looking for dugongs, dolphins, sharks and turtles.

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4 Comments on “Holidays, part 5 – shell beach and dolphins

  1. Wow… this trip looks like it was awesome! I was going to say that you may have a new neighbor soon but then I saw in one of the posts in the series showing a temp reading 34C or something. Isn’t that like 350F? haha! See where I live we watch raccoons and possums for entertainment.

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  2. It’s great to see the dolphins close up. Now you understand how we feel when they come and bow ride with the boat- It’s just magical. They make you smile and feel great.
    The weather was wonderful, not like your English summer! (grey, raining) although today was beautiful, wall to wall blue skies

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    • They’re very cool creatures – we did have some that came and did some bowriding when we went out on the catamaran later in the week.

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