Shark Bay

- 25.5113.5Koordinaten: 25 ° 30 '0 "S, 113 ° 30' 0" E

The Shark Bay is a bay on the west coast of Australia about 800 kilometers north of Perth in the State of Western Australia. The term is ambiguous, since it concerns

  • Both the bay itself with its peninsulas and islands, as well as
  • The Local Government Area Shark Bay with headquarters in Denham,
  • The protected area of UNESCO world heritage and
  • The submarine Shark Bay Marine National Park.

William Dampier given the territory in 1699 the name "Shark Bay " because of the many sharks that occur there. A total of 28 different shark species are native to the bay. In addition, the most westerly point of the Australian mainland is still known for its dolphins.

Geographical breakdown

The bay itself has an area of ​​about 10,000 km ². The average water depth is 9-10 m; the shallow water is divided by sandbanks.

The municipality Shire of Shark Bay covers an area of ​​25,423 km ² and has 1000 inhabitants. On the mainland are two roadhouses ( petrol stations and supply stations ) - Overlander and Billabong - to do so. In addition, the area is divided into an approximately 76 km long island and two large main peninsulas, which in turn cut by numerous smaller peninsulas and small islands which are upstream.

Northeastern Peninsula

The northeast, about 120 kilometer long peninsula, apart from its tip opened up to about 25 km, by a paved road through low acacia bush land. Are the most popular attractions for tourists on this route:

  • In Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve in the south of the bay live microbes that form stromatolites similar to the oldest known forms of life on earth.
  • The white shell beach is at about 40 kilometers around the L' Haridon Bay erugatum of millions of small cockles of type Fragum.
  • Eagle Bluff is a popular vantage point of the cliffs on the Shark Bay Marine Park.
  • Denham, the only town in the Shark Bay is a foundation of the Australian pearling of 1898.
  • Monkey Mia is the center of the dolphin tourism. Supported by organized feeding programs are up to 10 animals several times a day onto the seashore.
  • The tip of the peninsula, the Francois Peron National Park can only be driven with a vehicle with all-wheel drive. The nature reserve with bush and rust-red sand dunes provides habitats for numerous threatened species.

Southwest Peninsula

Sandy slopes open up the precious land to approximately 80 miles to Useless Loop, a 1962 established salt mine. The site is accessible only with a special permit.

Dirk Hartog Iceland

Separated only by a narrow strait, Dirk Hartog Iceland sets the southern peninsula to about 76 km further west and at the same time constituted so that the westernmost point of Australia. Here Dirk Hartog put on 25 October 1616 his sailing ship Eendracht on; this is the first known documentation that a European has entered Australian soil. Upon his arrival, Captain Hartog nailed a labeled tin plate on a wooden pole, the Willem de Vlamingh 1697 replaced by your own, because he claimed the discovery of the land for themselves. The cape is now called in reminiscence of that conquest Cape Inscription; the original plaque from Hartog is located in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, that of de Vlamingh at the Maritime Museum of Fremantle.

A contemporary catamaran named Eendracht opens at the beginning of the 21st century the island for day-trippers. Bush walks, snorkelling, fishing and whale watching are favorite activities for campers who translate with four wheel drive vehicles for a longer stay.

UNESCO World Heritage Shark Bay

The Shark Bay is an area with high zoological significance. Since 1991, she therefore is part of the UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity. It is the first region of Western Australia, who received this award. The protected area covers 23,000 square kilometers, including

  • Shark Bay Marine Park,
  • Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve,
  • Zuytdorp Nature Reserve

And numerous protected islands.

The municipal administration in Denham rejected the distinction at first, fearing restrictions on fishing and the closure of the salt mines of Useless Loop. About the award, however, was decided centrally in Canberra. Now, the municipality of growing tourism benefits in the wake of higher awareness of the Shark Bay. Since large parts of the country are still difficult to access, this tourism but concentrated at points and does not endanger the wildlife.

Apart from the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia live in Shark Bay about 10,000 dugongs ( dugong, a Seekuhart ), also sea turtles, rays, sea snakes, whales and many sharks, among others can be found in the bay one of the largest deposits of tiger sharks. In addition, grow numerous fish, crustaceans and cnidarians in the bay.

Some of bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay use while foraging tools. You are looking for sponges on the sea floor and put it to extend over their snouts to protect their snouts while foraging in the sandy seabed. This is one of the rare cases of tool use in marine animals.

With an area of ​​over 4,000 square kilometers, the underwater world of the Shark Bay Marine Park constitutes the largest worldwide known seagrass area.

The bushland is habitat for 26 threatened species of mammals, over 230 species of birds and nearly 100 species of reptiles.