The last three days we took off north to the Shark Bay area. Shark Bay was named by one of the original Dutch explorers who, of course, spotted a shark. Not that that’s anything unusual for this coastline.
The Shark Bay area is now what is known as a World Heritage Area which I s a dedication given by UNESCO when an area meets certain criterion. For example, it has to contain threatened species, unique or rare natural phenomenon etc. There’s some other, theologically dodgy criteria, but it gives you the general idea that somebody thought there was some neat stuff to see here.
Anyway, we stayed at what was formerly a sheep station, and is now managed as a campground and nature reserve. This is the first time we’ve ever camped with the kids, and it was sort of a trial to see how mom and dad, and kids all fared, but it was great fun. We hired a pop-up camper which we towed behind our vehicle, set up at a spot close to the fire pit, and met lots of interesting (some were even unique and rare, lol) individuals each evening around the fire. The stars were vivid and countless, and the Milky Way incredibly clear, and it was fun having the Australians around us point out their constellations, which are, of course, completely different to our own.
We visited the stromatolites. These are layers of a multitude and variety of bacteria that form pads that trap particles and eventually create rocks. So, essentially, they are living rocks. There’s a nice boardwalk to look down onto the stromatolites, and it was fascinating to think of the diversity of our Creation, right there in a rock, of all things. Also, you could see bubbles, so it was enjoyable to think of a rock “breathing”.
Here’s some pictures Addie took of us walking on the boardwalk and one of the rare rocks, which just sort of look like regular rocks.
The next morning we left the campground early, after a late-night around the fire learning Australian songs from a gentleman that entertained everyone with his guitar. We headed north to Monkey Mia, which is famous for its families of dolphins that come to the shoreline to be fed. The rangers feed them about three times every morning, with a small amount of fish. Apparently in the 1970’s tourists began buying fish to feed the dolphins and they quickly lost the desire to feed themselves, which of course created problems, so they are now very stringent with how much they fed, They are close enough to touch (although you aren’t allowed to) but it was awesome to see them come up and take food from a human. Just a few individuals get picked to do this, so we just watched. There was also a hilarious pelican.
Afterward, we stopped by Shell Beach, which is actually featured on our cover page for the blog (the hand throwing the shells in the air). This area of seawater, including the stromatolite area, has hypersalinity, and therefore only certain creatures survive, such as the aforementioned bacteriae and also a particular kind of cockle. Because of the lack of predators, the cockle shells now form a beach a kilometer wide, 10 meters deep and over 100 kilometers long (roughly 60 miles).They used the compacted shells as building material, due to the fact that deep under the surface of the beach, the shells have concreted together, and can be cut out as bricks. In Denham, the only town in this area, there is still an Anglican church and also a restaurant constructed of this material. Here’s some photos of the beach, including our own attempt at a cover photo 🙂
I have a few more of the shells on my phone and will add those.