A beach with no sand
Imagine you’re at a beach with no sand - but countless tiny shells! That’s Shell Beach. The water here is highly saline, and together with the high temperatures generates ideal breeding conditions for shells. Shell predators cannot cope with them and so the shells can live virtually untouched. Strong winds single out the shells and deposit them with each tide on the beach. Layers are known to build up to 9 metres.
This beach especially thrills Japanese visitors because the pollution levels in their own country do not allow many shells to occur on its beaches. So to them Shell Beach, not Monkey Mia, is the prime attraction of Shark Bay.
According to the local tour guide Shell Beach stretches almost all the length of Lharidon Bight (about 110 km), not just the small line tourists are brought to. The old layers of shells harden with time until you can virtually saw them into solid blocks and use them to build houses.
The newly arrived shells are ground into powder which is rich in calcium and used for bird or chicken feed so these animals develop a hard egg shell.
Another attraction at Shell Beach is the stromatolite growth. Do not mix this up with the actual (large) stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. The ones at Shell Beach are very, very small and only visible at low tide and when the wind is calm. But as an inexpensive alternative to a tour to Hamelin Pool they’re quite interesting.
If you’re into geology you might want to read about the Stromatolites at Lake Thetis (Pinnacles National Park).
Eagle Bluff lookout
If you take a tour to Shell Beach you’ll probably visit Eagle Bluff on the way as well. From this lookout on top of a steep cliff you can watch birds nesting on the islands below, sharks looking for prey near the shore and white hills in the far distance, where salt is shipped for Japan and Indonesia.