Up the Coast
to Monkey
A cute dolphin getting fed.
At the Stromatolites.
At Shark's Bluff.
February 6, 2008


Our day started with a small hike in Murchison to an area called the ‘Z Bend’. Some people chose to abseil; others of us chose to
wander down to the river. I’m actually happy I didn’t do the abseiling – it was a small cliff – nowhere near as tall as the one I
rappelled in South Africa. Plus it was nice just relaxing near the river being surrounded by rocks that were reminiscent of
Sedona, AZ.

And it’s good that we got at least a bit of physical activity in today…because for the next 400 kilometers our butts would be
secured to seats in our minibus. This is actually where I am writing this right now. We’re a bit over half-way there. Hallelujah!


Ahhh… So relaxed and ready for bed. It’s hard not to be after sitting in a hot tub for the past hour.

Once we hit the 400 km mark, we hit our destination of the Stromatolites - something else that was completely unknown to
me. Trivia fun fact: These are known to be where evolution began billions and billions of years ago. How about that? Even more
interesting is that they were discovered by geologists just about 50 years ago. To the naked eye, these rocks looked simply like
something that made a cool pattern in the ocean. But to know the history made it quite amazing to look at (how much of a dork
am I?).

Now we are at our home for the night – and in twin bedrooms instead of dorm rooms. Hooray!

Before dinner a large group of us went down to the beach (a
shell beach, I might add – meaning instead of sand, it consisted of
tiny shells) to go swimming in the ocean. Ahhh. And to think that we now have some sun after spending most of the day under
gray clouds and rain – totally uncommon for this time of year in the desert. I guess this is what driving 400 km away will do.
But I have to admit, the cool temperatures made the hike much more enjoyable instead of coming back to the car as a big ball of
sweat. But now that we are at the beach, the sun feels oh-so-nice.

Just had a post-dinner soak in the hot-tub. A hot tub – I haven’t been able to say those two words for the majority of my trip!

But now it’s time to go to bed. After all, there are dolphins to see in the morning!

February 7, 2008

Of course I was the one last night who kept telling everybody that they better be awake on time so that we could get an early
start to go see the dolphins at Monkey Mia – and I was also the one who slept in. Luckily it didn’t affect anyone else – it only
affected my not getting any breakfast this morning. It was already packed away. Oh well – I learned my lesson.

But we were off to Monkey Mia on time. Phew.

I guess only people familiar with Western Australia know what Monkey Mia is known for. One would probably think monkeys,
right? I know I did before coming here. But that is wrong. Monkey Mia (pronounced ‘Maya’) is actually known for dolphins.
Years and years ago somebody fed a dolphin there and that dolphin continued to come back. It then brought its offspring and
those offspring brought their offspring, etc. Now it is almost a certainty that dolphins will come in the morning for a few
feedings. The people who work here even know which dolphin is which. These are still wild dolphins, though, and Monkey Mia
isn’t going to mess with nature – if a dolphin gets injured by something in the sea, they just let it be. After all, that is nature for

The dolphins were extremely cute and there were so many of them. We also found out that 1/3 of their time is allocated
towards playing. I love it.

We got to watch a couple different feedings – the second one was a fluke as a group of us were still on the beach hanging out and
we were able to spot the dolphins making their way back. This was especially great since most of the people leave right after
the first feeding. This was a much more intimate affair with the dolphins.

From there, we headed to a place called Shark’s Bluff. We saw it from high above. The colors were incredible and being able to
see the reef sharks swimming in the clear water was awesome. They looked like teeny little things – but were told they were
actually over six-feet long.

Then we went to Shell Beach – guess what this beach consisted of? Rocks. Haha. Just kidding. Of course it was a beach with
nothing but teeny-tiny shells. I don’t really know how this happens but it’s pretty darn cool.

That was the main entertainment for the day. After that, it was all about driving. Driving
very long distances. For this long
drive, Trevor had planned a game of bus trivia and since I was the odd-man-out I got to be scorekeeper. This worked in my
favor because when prizes were being given out to the winners, the scorekeeper also scored a bottle of sparkling wine. Hooray
for me!

We finally got to the sheep shearing station which is our home for the night. We have all been given tasks – mine is being one of
three ‘fire lighters’. Luckily Kevin, a former cub scout, decided to take this task under his wing. The other two of us just
separated out a few branches (of course we were all told
after to not move these branches as there was a good chance there
could be scorpions or spiders lurking on them).

So now we are in the outback. We are roughing it (well, kind of). We have to be on-guard for the different creepy-crawlies that
exist out here. We are all a bit nervous…
Back to Australia.