Uncovering the secrets of Shark Bay with Capes

For the audio-story, please click here

The wisdom is already there. It always was. It´s only been buried deep within, hidden in plain sight by avalanches of information, opinions, and thought-streams… I must have dozed off, and met Yoda in my dreams. Or, maybe, the words belong to Capes, whom I am gonna meet later? In any case, a glance on the mobile phone is indicating that getting a move on is the adequate thing to do now. Siesta nap time officially over, Indigenous Australian adventures are a go!

After a short van-ride from our hostel, we arrive at our destination. Through the window, I catch a first glimpse of who would be our guide for the next hours. Can you recognize charisma from afar? I don´t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is that Darren “Capes” Capeswell is a pretty charismatic fella.

Tales by Capes: Enchanted by Indigenous Australian traditions

A big, broad smile, a strong, yet not brutally domineering handshake, and an unmistakable aura of undeniable authority surrounding him make me feel excited and intrigued as to what´s about to come. Mentioned in the Lonely Planet Australia travel guide book as well as other notable travel publications, Capes from Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures surely knows how to draw you in. The time we spend learning from him about all kinds of local “bushtucker” while taking a walk through the dunes close to the Indian Ocean is truly time well spent.

What the hell is bushtucker, you might ask? Sounds kinda weird. Well, the Aussies have a penchant for unusual/ cute/ very specific terms, and bushtucker is just one of them. Bushtucker is…. drumroll, kangaroos jumping out of a hat, sharks waving goodbye to sexy surfers, sounds of Waltzing Matilda emerging from nowhere… (did I get every Aussie cliche right here? Feel free to add some in the comments :P) …

Back to the question at hand: Bushtucker is bushfood, so any food native to Australia and originally used by Indigenous Australians. It can serve culinary as well as medicinal purposes, as Capes explains to us while we explore the bushland close to Little Lagoon and Monkey Mia. He then continues on to lead us to a stunning location – a tranquil setting by the beach, where everything is set up for a campfire.

An evening by the bay: Aboriginal sound-magic for him and her

Is it romantic? You bet it is! The sun is setting over the Indian Ocean, painting the sky in all hues of rose, dark orange and purple, while our group of six gathers around the fireplace, ready for some more fascinating insights into the original Indigenous Australian way of life. One of the many intriguing things we learn from Capes is that…hold on to your horses, ahem koalas…that the world-famous musical instrument didgeridoo is actually not supposed to be played by women! They play huge shells instead.

Huge, maybe even basketball sized shells? Thats right. It´s quite a distinct experience to give this a shot – feeling the cool yet sharp features of the shell against your lips, while the fresh night-air is caressing your skin. And – it´s at least as bloody hard to get a sound out of that mysterious shell than it is to entice the didge to let loose and play along to your own intended song. But – don´t take my word for it, give it a crack yourself next time you come across a massive shell!

Welcome to Gutharraguda-ways

We spend some more time in Capes charming company, whose cultural heritage is partly Malgana, partly Nhanda, and learn some Indigenous Australian vocabulary specific to the original landowners of Shark Bay. Did you know that Shark Bay is called Gutharraguda, meaning “two bays” in Malgana? Malgana is in fact only one of the three Aboriginal language groups spoken in Shark Bark, the traditional country of the three Aboriginal language groups Malgana, Nhanda and Yingkarta.

There are about 130 registered Aboriginal heritage sites in the Shark Bay area alone, so make sure to explore and honor the powerful roots of this ancient and very special part of Down Under so that you may get to experience the enchantment that only members of the world´s oldest living civilization can transmit. After all that quality Aboriginal-and-nature-exploration, it is time to let the myriad of new impressions sink in and head hostel-home. The next morning would lead us to an up north paradise, after all!

Wild Wild Western ways: Cranky kookaburras, cool kangaroos, and chilled-out cows

Fast forward around 10 hours and 556 kilometres on the road, including an interesting stop at a subtropical banana plantation in Carnavaron, the so-called fruit bowl of Western Australia, and we arrive at our final road trip destination on Australia´s stunning Coral Coast. On this last leg of our road trip adventure, we have witnessed the distances between towns getting bigger and bigger and we have listened to the shrieking sounds of Kookaburra-birds and parrots. We have also been witness to more and more roos (kangaroos) as well as cows greeting us with their stoic demeanour, and sometimes taking their sweet time while crossing our road-path, gifting us with some moments to take it all in and adapt to a natural, slower pace of life.

It´s also been intriguing to observe the land around us slowly but surely reflecting the transformation from a mediterranean to a tropical climate zone with all the changes in vegetation that that entails. Endless seeming roads have led us past tiny towns, and past the vast, rough red outback to our right, and the equally immense and powerful Indian Ocean to our left.

Arriving at our final destination: Camping allures in Coral Bay

But that´s all done and dusted now, as I whisper G´day, Ningaloo Marine Park, while stepping out of the van, already feeling like a part-time-Aussie. We are not alone anymore, as camper vans upon camper vans stretching out in front of us indicate. You could almost say that Coral Bay is a unique melange of camper-van-village meets ocean paradise!

Camping sites in Coral Bay are so popular that they are often booked out for months in advance. For the most part, they are populated by massive camper vans, or rather full-on camper castles. Many of them are inhabited by incredibly lucky pensioners, who get to meander along pure-piece-of-paradise-Coral-Bay-beach every day, saying hello to wild salmon and sea turtles passing them by and immersing themselves in a piece of barely touched nature-heaven.

If your definition of paradise includes wild and friendly animals approaching you of their own accord, pristine air, crystal clear ocean waters, unbelievably fine white sand, and loads of that gorgeousness all to yourself – then Coral Bay is gonna make you think you have passed on and have arrived right in heaven city.

Could that paradise include sharks? And fish the size of a small car? And a myriad of adventures yet to be told? Yes, yes, and yes. Come join me another time, when we get to venture out onto, and yep, right into the ocean with a very chilled marine biologist, and get to discover what exactly makes Ningaloo Marine Park and Coral Bay so out-of-this-world-mindblowing. You won´t regret it. Pinky promise!

Handy information part:

To join Capes and his team on his cultural tours in Shark Bay which include 4×4 tours, kayaking tours, and camping tours, head to the Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures website or Facebook-page and get in touch! Have fun 🙂

Healing tip: To protect our amazing oceans and help reduce our plastic waste, here are two action-steps you can take to reduce plastic in your life:

1. Get your groceries from farmers markets or farmers nearby, which means no plastic packaging, and usually way healthier food for you, so it´s a win-win.

2. Buy as little plastic-products as possible – it´s a challenge, but what a great challenge to take! You might feel inspired by the Zero Waste Lifestyle. Great first steps to take are bringing a reusable cup to coffee-shops and bringing your own bags to do shopping.

3. If you enjoy donating to a good cause: You can find some great organizations who fight to protect ocean-life here.

Back to you, dear reader: Are there any hidden beach-gems in your country that you could share with us? And who are your country´s Indigenous people/ tribes? As always, would love to hear from you! Also, feel free to get a copy of my latest e-book “How to feel at home while traveling” here, if you haven´t already. It might just make your next trip that little bit sweeter/ more sensual and relaxed 🙂

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , | 40 Comments

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40 thoughts on “Uncovering the secrets of Shark Bay with Capes

  1. Another lovely tour Maria. Coral Bay sounds delightful to me.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yeah.Australia is famous for coral bay and Kangaaru as i know.coral is lucky stone for me and i have wear it in my ring.many all famous things of Australia are most amazing as you have describe about those but Shark…..oh my God!! I am afraid from that.do you not feel fearness from that?wonderful adventurous trip.enjoy yaar.i will see the shark only on your post.that will never come here😄😄😄.Much love and big hugs,my dear dost!!🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋💝💝💝💝please take your best care when you will go to see the Shark.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mere yaar, thanks so much for your sweet feedback, so happy you enjoyed:) I think sharks are generally more peaceful than portrayed in the media for sure…I think they just attack humans when they mistake them for seals… But I definitely have a healthy respect for them… No worries mi amiga, I did this trip already and still have all my limbs 😀 And I won´t send any sharks your way 😉 🦈Much love and big hugs mere pyaari yaar 💖💖💖🦈🦈


      • Oh ,dear !!thanks for not sending the sharks to me.i heard that sharks are mostly dangerous 😟as i saw in 😮the movie.plz accept my plea for removing the sharks.all the best .God bless you.if you think that the shark is peaceful then send me one in a cage😁but i can not believe on this.Much love and big hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amiga, please have a look at this – it´s so beautiful, a marine biologist swimming with sharks, and teaching us the truth about them – did you know they are a species that’s 400 million years old, and crucial to the health of the oceans? And in the video you can see how gorgeous and even sweet they are : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9cSnlkuQRM 💖 Hugs n love 💖


      • 💕💕💕💕💕💖💖💖💖💖💝💝💝💝

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maria – I’m dreaming now of how wonderful it would be to visit there in person! Your descriptions make it sound enchanting and inviting. I’m feeling all warm and happy after reading your post. I feeling I hope to carry through the cold day here in Wisconsin. We do have historical records of the settlers, loggers, fur traders and Indians who helped build the town we live in. And the man-made lake Wissota is a draw to visitors (remember the movie Titanic – it was mentioned in that movie, we’re currently in that Ice-Fishing status right now). I didn’t get time to read your book last weekend, I hope to this coming one so I can give you feedback! Thank you for your patience, and thank you so much for sharing your travels and your smiles! Hugs to you, dear! xxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shelley, thank you heaps, what a gorgeous comment! I am stoked to hear that you feel so warm and happy after traveling to Shark Bay and Coral Bay with us 🙂 That is just awesome! I am sure you would love it there. Thanks so much also for sharing some interesting background-information on your town with us! It sounds like it must have had a very colorful, varied past! You know what, yes, I do remember Titanic, watched it like 3 times in the cinema lol (I blame Leonardo di Caprio lol). But I might have to rewatch just to check out that Wissota-mention! Thanks for letting me know regarding the e-book – I am looking forward to your feedback:) Thanks for being such a loyal blogger-friend, reader, and kind and caring support! Many hugs lovely xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, it’s my pleasure! I enjoy travelling with you!
        Leonardo says it in 3 seconds when they are on the bow of the boat when Rose is trying to jump off.
        Ditto to you – I appreciate your loyalty and your inspiring and thought-provoking comments!
        Take care – I’ll be back again soon! Hugs to you – xxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, my lovely quasi fellow Aussie, your vivid and evocative story telling has done it again, transported me to the wilds of my own country. Beautifully written. You have such a gift for bringing your trips to life. I felt as though I was right there with you, sitting with Capes around the campfire, holding that shell to my ear and traipsing along those long stretches of road to Coral Bay. I can’t wait to read more about this heavenly area in your next post. In the meantime I absolutely loved this one Maria, with all of its aboriginal culture and richness. You do this country proud my dear. Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week and sending you big hugs and much love. xxxx 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah Miriam how sweet of you to accept me into the Aussie-club, yeah I love it! Your country is so worthy of relentless praise and admiration- so much untouched nature to recharge in, wonderful, resilient people to meet, incredible animals to get to know… So happy to receive your generous and gorgeous feedback, really love knowing that you feel this way about my work 🙂 And – of course you were there with me and us, no doubt about it!! I am looking forward to reading your next uplifting and sheer fabulous post and thank you again cara lioness! Big hugs, molto amore, e enjoy your settimana amica xxxx 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cara bella Maria, you are so very welcome. You deserve every word of praise and more. Such a beautiful post that truly captured the beauty, spirit and uniqueness of this land. I’m off to begin my Friday here. I hope you’re enjoying your night and that rascal pouch of yours is behaving and not getting up to too much mischief! Big lioness hugs xx 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Miriam, that´s so sweet! Really happy you enjoyed it – and can´t wait to read your next post to get my next Aussie outdoor adventures- fix 🙂 Wishing you a fantastic weekend cara bella, loving life with a pup! Messy and lively:) Big hugs lovely 🥰 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hope you have a fantastic weekend too Maria. Messy and lively sounds like perfect fun to me! Big big hugs till next time my gorgeous friend. xxxx 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Most beautiful description of Shark Bay in enchanting way-kangaaroo jumps off the hat,sharks says goodbye to surfers😁vaverah(etc).i am feeling that i am traveling and enjoying with you there.vaah(wow),meri jaan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mere pyaari yaar, thanks so much, so happy you enjoyed this…😁 Love having you here, and always grateful for your beautiful appreciation! Also thanks for posting all these sweet songs, me encanta/ i love it! 🙂 Waltzing Matilda hehe 😁 Big hugs querida xoxoxo


  6. Another A+ post from dear sweet Gyspy! Thank you!
    You’re going into/onto the Indian Ocean? Freaky!!! That is one scary ocean with all the Gyres, and it’s depths.
    LOL, as if any ocean is friendly. Creeks are friendly.
    I really enjoy how you take me to where you have been. I also appreciate your tips for the environment.
    I have a water filter in my fridge. I haven’t bought a plastic bottle of water in years. Of course, now I wonder where those filters go.
    I purposefully moved (20 years ago) to an area that has village shopping. It’s all small shops: food locally grown, small local bakeries, coffee shops that use Fair Trade coffees, small restaurants that feature local/seasonal dishes, and more.
    There is a Farmer’s Market about 6 blocks away. However, the food is very slim pickins in the winter.
    Okay Gypsy, I look forward to your next adventure! xoxoxoxoxoxo – Resa

    Liked by 2 people

    • Resa, thanks so much for this detailed, thoughtful, and sweet comment!LOVE hearing from you, and so happy to hear you enjoyed the adventure :))

      Yep, I sure did go onto as well as into the Indian Ocean – it was quite cool actually 😉 hehe. Oceans can surely be intense, creeks are much more mellow, I agree. LOVE hearing about that water filter and not buying plastic bottles in so long, same here! I am currently reducing plastics in my current home as much as possible, think experimenting with soap bars, and shampoo in soap form, glass jars in the kitchen etc… It is definitely a step-by-step-process! LOVE you sharing all your experiences regarding environmental-conscious living with us, thanks so much!!! Your neighborhood sounds SO cool!!! Farmers markets are awesome. I feel ya on the slim pickings in winter Resa!!! Had 20 plus years of live in Northern Germany so totally get your situation there. SO happy you are so responsible towards the environment Resa! Totally whats needed in this world!! Yeah!! Thanks again beautiful friend!! Big smooches to Canada xoxoxoxo, Maria Elena

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a dear heart, Maria Elena!
        You are on the beautiful path in life, and I just know we will bump into each other, as we travel it.
        There is so much humans can do to love our home planet, earth. I believe many are not in a position to care… the poor souls… refugees, and there are many who truly don’t care.
        Thank goodness many do!
        Apologies for the tardy response. I had todo a presentation for a job, and I posted a new Princess Blue Holly post (part 1 of a story) on Art Gowns.
        In this tale she takes on the industries that do animal testing!
        I hope you will love it! Resa xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Resa, thank you so much for this heart-felt comment. I can feel it coming directly from your soul, and it really speaks to me:) Love your words!! Would love to bump into each other, how cool would that be!!💖

        Thanks for reminding me…yes, some people are not in a position to care. Wise words. Please never worry about tardy responses with me, it´s truly all relaxed here 🙂 I see your visits and comments as a gift, never something I take for granted. I will check out your new Princess Blue Holly post now!!! I just know it will inspire me and transport me to a world of beauty and justice, like only you know how to create!! YAY! And yeah, all for protecting and fighting for our beloved animal friends! 💖💖 No doubt I will love your latest work of art!!! Mil besos xox, Maria Elena

        Liked by 1 person

      • xoxoxoxo
        Got your email!
        I have to do some calls, now, and will get back to you later!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worries lovely, whenever is good for you. All relaxed with me 🙂 💖Thank you for your caring words! xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It was wonderful listening to your voice. Such a pleasure to listen to you as I read along with you. It is always so much fun to learn new names and places with you. An evening by the bay sounds gorgeous. My idea of the perfect evening.

    Hope you are well Amiga.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hola Drew, que bien recibir noticias tuyas! How cool that you enjoyed listening to my audiostory and voice:) You actually did inspire me a bit to create audio-stories in the first place, because of the vision stuff you had mentioned on your blog!!! Thought to myself “How much strain do we put on our eyes at times as avid readers/ writers, best to mix it up!” Thanks for your positive and encouraging feedback amigo. Love that you are by the beach now yourself – la fuerza curativa del mar es esplendida. Abrazotes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very cool Tree T-shirt Gypsy at Heart. 🌿

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have been up north inWestern Australia but your writing about these special spots that I have not been to, makes me want to visit them too. It is funny that often Aussies spend more time visiting places in Europe than in their own backyard. Playing the shell is impressive – was that difficult?
    I had a good chuckle at your listings of Aussie jargon – we have so much I wrote a passage about it on my blog here is a bit of it – “It’s a scorcher and every man and his dog will be heading to the beach, so better fill ya’ esky with a few tinnies, ditch the Reg Grundies and wear your budgie smugglers under ya’ boardies! She’ll be right, mate! “

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, thanks so much for taking the time to read and for leaving such a beautiful and detailed comment!:) Regarding your question – I don´t even know if I played the shell, its more like I tried to force a sound of it, which didn´t sound too impressive lol. It was fun, though! I am so happy that you as a real Aussie enjoyed this post so much. Thanks so much also for sharing that passage in Aussie jargon – it makes me miss your amazing country even more!!! Thanks mate 🙂 hehe

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Escape with me: The best ever travel movies, part 2 | A gypsy at heart

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