Monkey Mia Beach. Australia
Monkey Mia is a seaside resort with a charming beach. But this is not an ordinary beach. People are in no hurry to swim or lie down and bask on the sand. Tourists stand on the shore and wait for special visitors from the ocean. A distinctive feature of this beach is that almost every day, not far from the coast, from five to ten female dolphins frolic with their babies without fear of observers.
This wonderful place is located in the Shark Bay, Western Australia. Every morning begins with a radio report about the number of dolphins and tourists on the shore. Here you can also know the expected number of dolphins for today.
Tradition to feed dolphins on the bank began in 1964. Wife of the local fisherman saw a dolphin swimming nearby and gave him a fish; he liked it and came back for new portion. Over time, Charlie, that is how locals called this dolphin, started bringing his friends to the beach. All this has become a habit – Charlie and his friends started more and more frequently come to the shallows for feeding.
In the late 80s Monkey Mia became a commercial attraction. Special tourist information center was built here in 1985 and in 1988 – the government has allocated funds for development of this region. Moreover, you will find here a scientific laboratory for studying behavior of dolphins. The region was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Crowds of tourists come here to feed bottlenose dolphins that come close to the shore for more than forty years. Locals know the names of these dolphins. If you arrive by 7:30 you just have time on an eight-hour feeding of these fascinating marine mammals. It is a real pleasure to watch how they swim across the bay and beg something tasty from tourists. Special signs explaining tourists how to behave are installed at every step. They tell that dolphins should approach themselves; it is allowed to stroke them on the back and sides, but categorically not near the eyes and breathing holes and so on.
Department of Environment and Conservation carefully controls the whole process. Dolphins are fed by fish twice a day, but so as not to discourage the habit of self-hunting. It is allowed to give adult dolphins no more than two kilograms of fish a day, lactating females a little more. No one should harm or hinder these stunningly lovely creatures.