Up North, Episode 2 - Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is part of Shark Bay, and a must-visit destination if you are hanging around the area. It's appearance is deceivingly uninteresting. Just a stretch of beach with sea shells scattered around and a jetty.

What makes this place special is the dolphins. Everyday before noon, a school of dolphins swim along the stretch of beach, braving human contact in the shallow waters because they know they will be fed. Being very smart animals these guys have figured out who the dolphin-feeding volunteers are, and are especially friendly and close to those holding buckets full of fish.

For those interested to know, there is an entry fee to Monkey Mia. It's $8 per person per entry, but trust me when I say the visit is worth more than $8. This is especially true if you get to hand-feed a dolphin!

Monkey Mia

Waiting for dolphins.

Dolphin. Not shark.

This is one of the guys conducting the dolphin-feeding. The dolphin was especially close to him.

Dolphin goes wheeee!!! *spins in circles*

Human-dolphin interaction!

Throughout the feeding the dolphins were very close to us (about 2 meters away) and they were not shy at all. However we were prohibited from touching the dolphins for safety reasons.

Sadly I do not have any photos of the dolphin-feeding to post. I recorded everything on video, and Blogspot is not letting me to upload the video because it's too long (more than 5 minutes). The entire feeding exercise took about 10 minutes to complete, with several lucky tourists being picked to hand-feed the dolphins. Most of my friends got a chance. A morning well spent!

Up North, Episode 1 - Denham

So I went up north of Western Australia with some friends. It was a great trip and 4 days 3 nights certainly wasn't enough! To make the writing process easier though I have decided to split the entire story into several segments.

First you need to know we drove more than 10 hours to get to our first destination, Shark Bay. We stayed there for 2 nights. There was lots to do at Shark Bay, and the highlight was Monkey Mia, but that's a story for another episode. We found ourselves in a small beachside town, called Denham, in Shark Bay. That was where our little chalet-thing was. The small house did not look very impressive from the outside, but on the inside...

Not bad, huh?

Enough to accommodate all 7 of us. 

We stayed in the center of town.

Having nothing to do that night, we decided to try our hands at fishing. There were several jetties along the stretch of beach at Denham and they proved to be excellent fishing spots for novices like us. We managed to land some good loot even though we knew nothing about angling and did not have all the right tools. We only had 1 fishing rod. So Zhong Yang and I relied on a stone and fishing line, and yet we still had a good catch.

Too dark. You can't see them holding the rod.

Those of us not into fishing played card games.
 And if you are wondering what I meant by "catch", well there you go...

Zhong Yang and I landed the black one. The rest were caught by the others using the fishing rod.

Zhong Yang and I caught a total of 4 fishes that night, 3 of which we released back into the ocean because they were simply too small. Australia imposes strict size and bag limits on the fishes you can take home, so we had to be careful not take home too many fishes. We fished until way past midnight before leaving the jetty, and our catch became the next day's dinner.

...and that concludes episode 1 of this amazing adventure!

Exams Over

It's done! And provided I don't mess up real bad, I'm graduating from university! Yay! That's 15 years of education completed folks.

I'm treating myself to a road trip up north with friends. Will be visiting places like Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. I hope to get some really good photos so I can post them here while I'm on the go. That is, if I have time.

So till I write again, chill out and enjoy yourselves peeps!


Home-made Sushi

Lately I had the opportunity to taste some sushi made by Shingun's uncle in Perth. Apparently he had an interest in cooking although his day job had nothing to do with the kitchen. The sushi he made was vegetarian and had his own recipe for sushi sauce. So it wasn't just plain soy sauce we were dipping our sushi in.

His sushi is well-known in the little neighbourhood of his. Whenever he makes some, he spares a few pieces for neighbours and friends. He doesn't always make them though, so we were quite privileged to try some.

He said he spent more than an hour making the sushi.

Quite neat considering they're all home-made by someone other than a sushi chef.

This girl was just waiting to eat :P

Our sushi platter.

It is interesting to note that although I am surrounded by many who know how to cook well, my culinary skills are somewhat poor. Some work is in order here.

Swan Valley

This post is about a Swan Valley where not a single swan is seen. Instead, there are vineyards, a chocolate factory, and a shooting club (as in real guns, live bullets-kind of shooting). It's 20 to 30 minutes away from Perth city if you intend to drive, but if you intend to rely on public transport, consider yourself lucky if you manage to get there within an hour.

The Swan Valley, like the more well know Margaret River, was originally settled by colonists who believed the soil was suitable for growing grapes. And they were right. Today the valley is full of vineyards and wineries, and many travel there for wine tasting. Margaret River has always been the number 1 destination for wine tasting in Western Australia, but it takes you 4 hours to get there by car. So if you do not intend to be on the road for that long, you'll have to settle for Swan Valley.

I did say vineyard. So, there.VINEYARD!!!

Sadly though, winter was coming so the grape plants looked a bit sleepy.

For the benefit of those who do not know, grape plants "die" when the winter arrives. They lose all their leaves and play dead. Come spring, they grow their leaves back and start producing yummy grapes again! The process is called Grapintophosis.

Yes, there is no such term.


Shingun's cousin was far from the legal drinking age, but he still had a good time.

Besides wineries, we visited Yahava Coffee, where we got to taste some exotic coffees (by exotic, I mean given fancy names like "South African Mud" or "Moroccan Cow Flies over the Moon with Half-Cooked Waffle"). Yahava also had its own Coffee Academy, where you can learn to make A-Grade coffees and get a certificate for your heroic efforts.

There were many types of coffee. What you see here is only part of the selection.

Ask to have a taste, and they will make a little cup of coffee for you, free-of-charge!

Besides coffee and wine, we had some chocolate. A visit to the chocolate factory is a must for chocolate lovers. The Margaret River Chocolate Factory (which has branches almost everywhere, including Swan Valley) sells all types of chocolate at all types of prices.

3 machines processing, from left, dark, white and milk chocolate.
 All types of chocolate you can dream of!

After having chocolate, coffee and wine, it's only appropriate that you try to shoot something. So welcome to the Gun Club! You can choose to wield a rifle or pistol and make your way through the shooting range, annihilating anything in your path.
No Gun Club HQ is complete without some heads on the walls.


Camera-shy zebra.

Of course, guns and loud bangs may not be your thing. For those of you who hate guns, I recommend archery. The archery center is only a short drive away from the gun club.

Bows for hire.

Arrows are colourful so when they fly they look like lasers.

I wanted to try shooting on that day but sadly the range was fully booked for a competition. So the debut of the gun-wielding superhero Ewe Juan will have to wait. Too bad.