Shark Bay/Useless Loop/A Boatman/A Cyclone and some Marine life!
Shark Bay is a world heritage site and it is situated on the westernmost point of the Australian continent.
The waters, islands and peninsulars have a number of exceptional features including one of the largest and diverse seagrass beds in the world. However, it is for its stromatolites (said to be the oldest life forms on earth) that the area is most renowned.
Shark bay was the first Australian site to be classified on the world heritage list.
As you will see in the following photographs (particularly from above) the colours and shapes of this area are truly breathtaking.
The weird and wonderful shapes, colours and textures of Shark Bay from above
On the opposite shoreline lies Useless Loop! Certainly a unusual name for a place, and the town itself is a closed company town, meaning no-one is allowed to visit without permits from the site manager. This obviously proved a problem for us seeing as during our phone call to the relevant persons to try and attempt to enter the area, we were told very clearly, no!
Luckily for us however, there is a giant ocean next door, so we found ourselves a boatman, packed the drone and off we went!
The reason for us being so keen to visit this unusual place is the truly incredible solar salt evaporation ponds that lie on the end of the peninsular.
As far as we are aware, this place has never been photographed from a drone before.
Seeing as most of Shark Bay is situated within a marine reserve, capturing a lot of the images you see here had to be taken from a boat. We found ourselves an extremely helpful and knowledgable boatman, who took us to some amazing locations.
Massive thanks to Ed at Ocean Park for all your help!
Launching the drone from the front of a small boat and getting it home safely again proved almost as exciting as seeing Shark Bay from above! We resorted to taking off from the front seating area and catching the drone mid air on its return! We wish we had some footage of these hilarious and nerve racking events to show you, however it took the full concentration of the three of us to 'land' safely! JP piloted the drone, Mike caught the drone and Ed (the boatman) manoeuvred the boat to assist with the swells! You can probably imagine how tricky, dangerous and for some reason funny this was!
Anyway here are some photos of the boat on the gorgeous waters of Shark Bay.
The edge of a Cyclone!
It hasn't rained here since August 2016, and as often happens to us Brits, the weather tends to follow us wherever we go! This however turned out to be the outer fringes of a cyclone tracking east to west from the Kimberley region, exactly where we were three days before!
The radar image below shows the course of the cyclone and the blue dot you can see on the west of the country was our current location at the time. Had it tracked any lower, we were told the 'town' would have been evacuated!
As is common here, with the rain comes terrfiic lightning activity and as you all know, we love a good storm!
The following evening, once the cyclone had moved further out to sea, we were treated to a beautiful array of colour and light from the distant storms.
Wildlife in Shark Bay
Shark Bay is also famous for its rich marine life including rays, turtles, dolphins, dugongs (despite being a marine animal its closest relative is an elephant!) and of course, the sharks - tigers, bulls, leopards, lemons, reefs and no doubt many others!
Here is our attempt at photographing some of the marine life with the drone! Could do better was our summary of this particular afternoon!!!