Mixing with dolphins at Monkey Mia

It’s one of the most gorgeous beaches that you could hope to visit anywhere.  It’s located smack bang in an area of enormous ecological and environmental importance, and wild dolphins go there to meet the humans.  If it sounds like paradise, it is, and its name is Monkey Mia.

Okay, so why is a place that is renowned for its dolphins named after a monkey?  Well, Mia is the local aboriginal world for shelter, and the monkey part of the name comes from either the name of a pearling lugger which sheltered there, or for the monkeys that the Malay pearlers carried as pets.  It doesn’t matter, as monkeys and dolphins are both intelligent mammals, just don’t expect to see any monkeys.

Monkey Mia is part of Shark Bay which is on the coast of Western Australia.  Shark Bay is correctly named because there are a lot of sharks there, as well as the dolphins, and huge manta rays, and rare dugongs; a mammal that early seafarers mistook for a beast that was half woman, half fish, and so gave rise to the legend of mermaids.  Sadly for mermaids, dugongs are not overwhelmingly attractive and look more like a half cow and half fish, but they do have lovely big eyes.  

The real attraction of Monkey Mia is the dolphins, and several of them come into the beach a couple of times a day t be fed by humans.  This feeding is strictly controlled, and not everyone will get to feed a dolphin. These dolphins have been studied by scientists for decades, and even they may appear to be tame, they are wild and they do have to go and hunt for most of their own food so they can survive without human intervention.

Having said that.  It is a magic experience to walk into water that comes up to your knees and have a dolphin come up to you.  You are only encouraged to enter the water if you are not wearing any sunscreen on your legs, because the oils and chemicals in the sunscreen may be great for our skin, but they are bad for dolphin skin.

You are not supposed to deliberately touch the dolphins, but if a dolphin wants to come up and brush against you, gently of course, then you can consider yourself very lucky.

Close up, in their natural environment, you can see just what superb creatures they are.  Very often a mother will have her calf with her, they are that trusting.

If you wish to stay at Monkey Mia, you can at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, which has a variety of accommodation ranging from tent and caravan lots to resort-style rooms.

There are many places in the world which boast an interactive experience with dolphins.  Monkey Mia is, justifiably, one of the best in the world, and probably the best when you take into account its location and the fact that many generations of the bottlenose dolphins have been coming here for forty years just to gawk at we humans.

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