Now that we had communed with dolphins at Monkey Mia there remained some other important/interesting locations to visit as we made our way back out of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. The first was about fifteen minutes south from Denham. Named Eagle Bluff Lookout, it offered us views over a part of Shark Bay. Even though the vegetation was low lying and windswept we found a couple of shrubs in flower. This Acacia (perhaps Acacia tetragonaphylla) –and this Solanum –From the short boardwalk we were able to see a small island not far off shore. According to the signboards this area was frequented by dugong who enjoy grazing on the seagrass. Sadly we saw none. Heading further down the road we came to Shell Beach.We found a parking spot and walked through to the actual beach. I set up the camera on timer and took this shot of ourselves on the beach.The vast majority of shells were small cockles but there were some other varieties, too.Given the beach is part of the François Peron National Park you aren’t allowed to take away shells, although some with with a poor grasp of the English language had added an extra line to the sign we noticed.Continuing down the roadour next stopping point was a bit off the main road. We found a carpark large enough for the Hilux and caravan just near this gnarly Eremophila twisted by the prevailing winds.Its small yellowy orange flowers were lovely.Hamelin Pool is one of the main reasons this is an area of World Heritage importance.The marine ecosystem here show visitors what the ecosystem would have looked like 3 billion years ago. Apparently the microscopic life forms here have formed layered structures called stromatolites.
After reading the information on about half a dozen information boards we headed out on a boardwalk to check things out.So what may look like just rocks to the untrained eye are in fact actual living growing ecosystems which have outlived dinosaurs and many other species.On making our way along the boardwalk to the turning point we encountered a volunteer scientist who was happy to explain things a bit more but a lot of what he had to tell us was way over our heads. He was staying in the caravan park near the carpark. We thanked him and walked back towards shore.Along the way we saw some birds which was surprising as we had read that the extremely salty environment limited the number of creatures, other than the bacteria forming the microbial mats, that could live here.Back in the car and we were on our way to our next stopping point – Kalbarri, with its double National Park. Something to look forward to.