It is really difficult finding enough and adequate adjectives to describe this truly magical place. There is no shortage of wildlife experiences at Monkey Mia, but the highlight is surely the daily visits of the dolphins.
These visitations occur most mornings between 7am and 12pm. There is no specific time as these visitations and interactions are solely up to the dolphins, they decide when and if to come into shore.
There is a pod of around 300 wild bottlenose dolphins that live in the bay. It all started way back in 1964 when a lady from one of the nearby fishing camps started feeding the dolphins on a regular basis. Only four adult females are being fed. Please note that very strict controls apply to the feeding of the dolphins and that it is illegal to feed the dolphins unless under the supervision of a CALM officer.
There is a management program in place that ensures the dolphins maintain their hunting and surviving skills. The dolphins are fed a maximum of three times a day and not more than a third of their estimated daily intake.
Scientists have named many of these dolphins e.g. Piccolo, Puck and Sparky. They identify them by defining individual features such as marks left over from encounters with sharks and fin identification.
Monkey Mia got its name from a pearling boat called Monkey which anchored there in the late 19th century. It was never a large settlement due to the lack of fresh water.
Dolphins may be the drawing card for most people, but it is by no means the only wildlife you will encounter at Monkey Mia. It is estimated that 10 000 dugongs live in the waters of Shark Bay. It is about 10% of the world’s population and is the world’s largest and most secure population. Charter boats offer the opportunity to get closer to these unique animals.
Monkey Mia is also home to one of the world’s most significant tiger shark research programs. There is a beach resort, restaurant, wild life cruises, visitor centre and amphitheatre for shows to make your experience more enjoyable and memorable. But my guess is that you will always have a mental picture of a dolphin turning side ways to look at you when you hear the name Monkey Mia again. More photos.
Where: Monkey Mia is situated in the Shark Bay World Heritage area about 25km from Denham. Small entry fee applies.