No Monkeys At Monkey Mia
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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We were in Denham on the day of the race and the only things we saw moving all day were those Aussie tumbleweeds that were rolling along the main drag- everything was eerily closed and you almost felt like you were in one of those horror movies where you don't want to know what happens when the sun goes down. We were using Denham as our base for visiting Monkey Mia (unfortunately for Chris M, who is a big fan of my monkey photos, there are no monkeys in Monkey Mia- 'Mia' is the Aboriginal term for home or shelter, while the 'Monkey' part of the name is allegedly derived from a pearling boat called Monkey). As a bit of good news for Chris M, there are pelicans (which he adores), emus and dolphins in Monkey Mia so an excessive number of photos of these critters have been attached to the blog. We also jumped on a catamaran and picked up a number of blurry shots of dugongs as they surfaced for a quick inhale of air. Closely related to the manatees of Florida and apparently mistaken for mermaids by sailors who had obviously been at sea far too long, these shy herbivors are thought to be nearing extinction in most areas outside of Australia (there's a large stable population off the shores of NW Australia)
We also attended the somewhat legendary dolphin feeding at Monkey Mia- not so long ago you could actually swim with the dolphins as the feeding took place but some unbelievably appalling behaviour by touristo's has changed this to more of an observation and less of a feeding. Apparently people were caught trying to put cigarette butts and bottlecaps into the dolphin blow holes, there was inappropriate touching (don't want to know what that was!!), and overfeeding was making the dolphins aggressive. Now you simply stand on the shore and observe- it was fun to watch the dolphins show off as many of them weren't interested in the food at all and just came to see all of the goofy people lined up on the beach (were we the tourists or were they the tourists??).
On our way out of the ghost town of Denham we stopped in at a an aquarium/marine rehab centre and got to see a shark feeding that was done from the safety of a bridge. A couple of thoughts resulted from watching the toothy viciousness:
1- The inappropriate dolphin touchers should have been immediately transfered here to try their hands on approach with the resident Tiger Shark.
And to all those readers who showed an interest in the living rocks (stromatoliths) in a recent post (a total of 0), we got to see an even larger grouping (herd/pack/colony??) in Hamelin Pool that are even older at a reported 3,000 years old. And clearly under the title of "Believe It Or Not" the nearby caravan park has what is reported to be the only stromatolites living in captivity (in an aquarium) in the world- can you really have a rock in captivity??