- Distance: 46km return trip (23km each way)
- Temp: 19-33°C (lowest max since leaving Melb)
Dolphins are fascinating creatures. Their brain functions much like a human's but are far superior in sight and sound. They can view 180° at a time and independantly operate their eyeballs. So, they can tilt their head and view outside of the water, adjusting for light and focus, while keeping an eye on their calf underwater simultaneously. They can smell as far as we can see. And they have insane vocal cords that allow for communication using speech patterns. They have even demonstrated having sex for pleasure and not just for breeding. Dolphins are awesome. And Monkey Mia, a resort town Northwest of Denham in a shire known as Shark Bay, is one of the few places in the world that wild dolphins willingly choose to approach humans without any training.
A lightweight, luggage-less Sheba and I jetted out to see dolphins and make my marine childhood dreams come true. The only gear I brought with me was my Killswitch Pack and my Ashvault Backpack, which had 2L of water and some GoPro equipment. I don't have any beach gear, so I just rocked up in Kevlar jeans, a singlet, and underpants. It really was awe inspiring. Rangers had a pre-measured amount of fish to feed the dolphins to attract them to shore for research and awareness purposes. We weren't allowed to touch them and only a few people were randomly chosen to feed them. The whole feeding took about 20 minutes but it was worth getting up at 630am to see them so close. The sand between my toes and the cool water was a nice departure from straddling an engine.
I decided to splurge on an eggs benedict at the resort cafe. Sometimes the small things in life can mean so much. In the grand scheme of things, these are bloody eggs in an unhealthy sauce on cheap bread. I lived on a chook farm for 3 months and vowed never to buy overpriced eggs. But these eggs were such a contrast to the frozen meat pies and hot chips and other fried food I've been having lately. The coffee was savoured with eyes closed. Now I'm finally on holiday.
It's not overpriced if it makes you happy.
After sitting in the cafe for a couple of hours, I decided to get some stretching in to undo 9 days of riding. 3 hours of yoga stretching and random tricks while destroying 1.5L of water. It was getting pretty warm after the morning clouds parted so... beach time it is!
The beach was covered in tiny sea shells and had a chunky, granular feel to it. It wasn't uncomfortable, but I wouldn't lay my face on it. The water was filled with small fish and even a few jellyfish. As the sun made its way overhead, I spent more time in the water walking along and splashing myself.
Anything is a beach towel when traveling light.
There was a glorious moment when I was standing and facing away from the beach. A cool breeze had just started to set in, my eyes were closed under pink shades... then my favourite song came on. The intro caused an inhalation of ecstasy followed by an exodus of self-loathing and bereavement. I ended up dancing with my eyes closed, shin-deep in the tide, for the length of the song. Seven minutes. If you are curious, check out RUFUS - "Innerbloom" and imagine the intro by open water.
I made my way back to the makeshift beach towel that is my hoodie and fell asleep listening my favourite playlist. My first mistake is putting on sunscreen while in the sun. You should put it on in the shade and then come out 20 minutes later. Also, I should have reapplied more than I have after cooling off in the ocean. Finally, never fall asleep in the sun. The result of these poor choices was horrifying.
Although, I reckon that if a bad sunburn is the only problem on this trip so far, I'm doing pretty well. Well, if you exclude the traumatizing 5th day of the trip.
Postcards being sent away!
I repacked my bags perfectly and took a mental note of supplies. Broome will be the next big supply stop since leaving Perth. I've decided to skip Coral Bay because I wouldn't go back out onto the beach with this sunburn, and the town is 100km away from the main highway again. So I'll try to secure a spot closer to Karratha. A flexible itinerary is invaluable on such a trip. Also I sent half the postcards out today. If you're not in this half look out for the next!
Day 11: back on the saddle and it's time to enter the tropics!