Day 6 Dolphins to the Moon! - Monkey Mia to Carnarvon
We get up early and by 06.30 and I am packing the vehicles again in a hurry as we need to make another getaway as soon as we are finished feeding the dolphins and of course we need to check out. By 7.00am I am showered, changed into the days shorts - cause the weather is just outstanding up here though it is pouring with rain in the South - and found some cheese and bread we had not finished in the Engel to get me enough energy for the day. So I sat with my trust computer writing notes on the patio area between the Monkey Bar and the beautiful Shark Bay sitting under an umbrella with DriveWA.com out and Google Maps out checking the driving times to Carnarvon and double checking the time we needed to leave and the stopping off points.
We had a number of shots on the shot list to get on the way back including the sign to the old People ( the stromatilites), a magic looking little bay we had seen on the left on the way in to Denham that we wanted to shoot, the welcome to the Shark Bay Heritage Area sign (all of which we did not have time to get on the way in) and we needed another stopping and driver change spot the other side of Overlander and of course we needed fuel at Overlander or Denham and we had decided on Overlander just to save time.
I like Denham and Dirk Hartog Island a lot having visited both and I am keen to see the new Shark Bay Heritage Discovery Centre which I have not been in but they are all going to have to wait for another DriveWA escape later on. There is so much to do in WA even just to see the basics that one can spend a lifetime and still be missing some things that are worth seeing.
We watch the first feed of the dolphins as we are scheduled to shoot the second one – but what is happening here – the first dolphins have come in early - 20 minutes before 0800 didn’t they read the script? So we are under the pump again to get ready in time - Paul and Brett and Mark and Taryn are interviewing Mary and getting some great stuff but the other DEC handlers and volunteers are getting edgy as they need Mary on time or the dolphins might leave before the process has finished and then a lot of people would miss out on their fun.
So when you do this tour get to the Beach early - the dolphins are really great but they dont wear watches and don't care about time - We wrap that up as fast as we can and hurry into position for the filming of our second feeding session – Sheridan is true to her word and supervising everything and everyone carefully including our cameramen to ensure that the show goes well but the rules of feeding and interacting are clear and very strictly enforced as they should be.
That is even more important than unusual as one of the dolphins has a young one that she is not all that careful about looking after – dolphin mums can be pretty tough on some kids apparently and this particular mum is not mother of the year on the basis of her record.
The experience is truly magical and our presenters and cameramen alike are spellbound by the interaction and the magnificent dolphins – and once again we leave late and reluctantly after many and varied thanks to all the people there who helped make our stay with the Monkey Mia Dolphin Retreat very memorable.
Mark, Taryn and Brett set off first in the Pajero with us following and then we stop at the little bay to shoot it and they go on to shoot the old Fella's sign and the welcome to the Shark Bay Heritage area sign. We found the little bay which has a lovely carpark and viewing area and a wonderful spot to stand and drink up the atmosphere on a lovely blue day with the sparkling sea and little birds fluttering around me.
We did not catch Mark till we were at Overlander and they had refueled, toileted, got something to eat and were ready to go when we arrived for which they all received a notional elephant (or dolphin or seahorse stamp) but we had no time to present it.
Now on the trip I kept my trusty old Garmin GPS on most of the time and because I have driven this road a lot I kept an eye on the waypoints I had put there before which form a useful aid to memoire as my much loved and departed father would have said.
I often used shorthand as one only has about 10 characters to describe the item one is waypointing and that is fine if what you are waypointing is a sign or a cow (although why one would waypoint a live or indeed a dead cow I don’t know) or a motel or a view or a road name – but if one is trying to waypoint something with more than the max number of letters in the name it becomes a bit of a challenge to recall what one meant by the jumble of letters sitting on the line on the small screen on the face of the GPS.
Whilst I was pondering what the letters meant I saw a flat topped hill in the distance and the word mesa jumped at me from a long buried memory of thunderguts (our much feared and revered Geography teacher at my school - Mr Hammond) yelling at me about flat topped hills and mesas etc in my youth – as Taryn or one of my daughters might say - when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Yep I had it – there was a very good little stopping spot on top of a flat topped hill not far in the distance where there was a fabulous view over to the coast and in every direction. Good spot to change drivers – so we called Mark on the UHF and agreed to stop there.
Its signposted and an easy drive up and right (no left) next to the road – you cannot miss it if you are awake – don’t really need a waypoint but we put one on Marks trip notes anyway.
But the view is breathtaking – and since I had been there last some cairns had grown up made of rocks/stones and many of them had notices on them written in pen, crayon, texta (I did not see any in blood but they may have been there) for departed loved ones, loved ones that are still here, etc. We did a short piece to camera about it and I put a stone on the larger cairn in memory of Dad just before we left.
Once again Paul had been running around like a madman taking every possible still shot he could when I was hurrying them up and we did not notice till much later but somewhere up there he lost his wallet, with all his cards and about $10. Sadly we did not find that out till Carnarvon and we found that out too late to go back. So somewhere up there someone might find it and if they do please send it back to him care of 206 Adelaide Tce Perth.
>> Go to Day 7: Carnarvon
The 45 well appointed air conditioned rooms and guest facilities at Best Western Hospitality Inn Carnarvon are set in attractive grounds on the banks of the Gascoyne River. more
Carnarvon has a great sunny climate (due to it's location near the Tropic of Capricorn) that is ideal for fruit plantations and relaxing holidays. Situated 902km north of Perth, Carnarvon has a population of 6,901. more
The Carnarvon Visitor Centre is located on Western Australia’s beautiful Coral Coast in a bustling, tropical town which is the hub of the Gascoyne Region. more
The oldest and largest living fossils in the World! more
Charges apply for some activities more
Marvel at the longest jetty in the North West, One Mile Jetty. Located 4 kilometres west of Carnarvon, One Mile Jetty is a spectacular sight. Built in 1987, the jetty travels a staggering 1493 metres off shore and is part of the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct; undergoing restoration since 1998. It was once used as a deep sea port for the shipment of local produce, such as wool to Perth. more