Water Activities in Shark Bay
The waters of Shark Bay are generally safe for swimming. In the inner gulf areas around Monkey Mia and Denham there is no swell so swimmers will find plenty of safe places to take a dip. Swimming is most popular in the summer months and the shallow waters around Denham and Monkey Mia are great for cooling off.
Snorkelling and SCUBA diving
While Shark Bay is not a well-known destination for snorkelers and divers, it is a wonderful place to explore the underwater world. The embayments of Shark Bay Marine Park offer many shallow, but highly recommended, dive and snorkel sites. Some sites the experienced diver would find challenging while others you can easily explore equipped with only a mask, snorkel and fins.
- Eagle Bluff - Only a 20 minute drive from Denham clear shallow (one to five metre) waters around the base of the bluff are ideal for snorkelers and novice divers to view marine creatures up close. You enter the water from the beach on the eastern side of the bluff. About 100 metres from the south-eastern point is a sand patch with a number of coral bombies where sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins hide among the rocks and coral.
- Gregories, Francois Peron National Park – A shallow coral wall just offshore which is perfect for a drift snorkel. While the reef (in only 2 to 3 metres of water) supports only small areas of coral and some invertebrates, it abounds in fish life.
- Bottle Bay, Francois Peron National Park - The reef is only 50 to 80 metres off the beach offering an easy dive or snorkel. Although quiet shallow (2 to 4 metres) Bottle Bay has a small but lovely patch of corals and sponges, replete with tropical fish and crustaceans.
- Surf Point – A sanctuary zone at the southern end of Dirk Hartog Island with good coral cover and abundant fish in shallow water making it good for snorkelling.
- Bar Flats - Accessible by boat this popular dive and snorkel site lies in only 3 metres of water. Small fish are abundant as are cabbage corals (Turbinaria species), staghorn corals and soft corals. Yellow tubeworms, sponges and sea anemones can also be spotted along with a dugong or two that may be passing through.
- Sandy Point, Dirk Hartog Island – some of the best coral in the bay is found here just off the east coast of the island. this is a designated sanctuary zone managed for nature conservation and appreciation.
- Monkey Rock - The fault line that runs from Steep Point out and around Monkey Rock is one of Shark Bay's best known dive sites, and can be reached by boat or from the land. However the dive should not be attempted in other than optimum weather conditions, and only on a slack or incoming tide.
- The wreck of the Gudrun – Lying in about 6 metres of water about 10km north of Cape Peron in Francois Peron National Park this wreck is in a sanctuary zone and home to a stunning proliferation of marine life including spotted groper, lionfish, pilotfish, batfish, sweetlip, trevally and mackerel. Divers are welcome to explore the wreck but be aware that currents can be very dangerous and it should only be dived on a turning tide (preferably a neap tide). Novice and visiting divers should dive with an experienced operator.
Windsurfing and Kite-boarding
Wind is one thing that Shark Bay has plenty of, a nuisance to some but not for windsurfers and kite boarders! These activities are becoming increasingly popular and sites like the Denham foreshore, Little Lagoon and Monkey Mia attract a small band of dedicated boarders especially in summer.
The large inner gulfs of Shark Bay are almost totally protected from the powerful Indian Ocean swells and are therefore great for sea-kayaking. The best time of year is during the winter months when the winds drop. With scenery that includes limestone islands, rich red sand dunes, massive sea grass beds and abundant wildlife it is no surprise sea-kayakers rave about Shark Bay. Contact sea-kayak companies in Perth for itineraries that include Shark Bay or if you have your own kayak discuss trip options with local Department of Parks and Wildlife staff.