Directions - Located at the northern edge of Cape Naturaliste, from the centre of Dunsborough follow Cape Naturaliste Road all the way north until you reach the turnoff for Bunker Bay Road. Keep driving until you reach the end where you will find a series of car parks. Park on the upper level and find the sandy path leading you past the Cape Naturaliste Walks sign and down towards Shelley Beach.
The Snorkel - With a week down south over the New Year period visiting my parental units in Funbury, I was determined to make the most of my time to check out some snorkelling spots. Summer isn't usually peak time for me to explore the South West but with the increased temperatures comes different opportunities. With a new underwater camera (Olympus TG6) giving me the ability to showcase the snorkelling spots of WA a bit better than my previous GoPro 4, I was looking to explore some new places, along with adding more varied content to the website.
Armed with my copy of CALMs Dive & Snorkel Sites in Western Australia - Third Edition, I had my eye set on three locations to check out over my time down here. The first was a gentle snork at the Yallingup Lagoon with my sister and her family, the second was a more adventurous swim out to Mushroom Rock at Hamelin Bay and the third one being this promising site at Shelley Beach. I chose this spot for my Cape Naturaliste snorkel (there are several in the guide to choose from) as one of my favourite views from the Bunker Bay Loop I completed a few years ago was the view looking down to Shelley Beach. The sheltered bay looked quite inviting and from what I had heard on the seaweed vine, there was some nice snorkelling here when you get the right conditions. With the whole day to get in some activities, I started off the day with a bike ride with Dad around the Funbury coast and foreshore, watched some cricket and then headed off to Margaret River for some lunch and a blast around the Wooditjup MTB Network. Working up a sweat in the 30 degree heat on the really enjoyable green and blue trails was a great way to spend an hour or two before driving to Dunsborough to cap off the day.
Battling the holiday traffic, I arrived at Bunker Bay to find the car park fairly quiet with humans but loaded with flies when I stepped out of the car. This is the downside of visiting such a stunning location in the summer but I would soon be in the water where they couldn't get at me. Walking down the sandy hill towards the beach, there were a couple of groups setup on the sand and I noticed a couple of snorkellers already in the water. Eager to get in and explore, I headed down to the waters edge and put on all my gear before making the plunge into the cool waters. The rough route the guidebook suggests is to head out to the rocky islands you can see from shore and do an anti-clockwise loop around them. Not being one to argue, I started swimming out to the first island but was slightly disappointed to see that visibility was absolutely terrible. I initially thought my mask was fogging up too quickly but looking above the surface proved this wasn't the case unfortunately. I was here and going to make the most of it so kept moving towards the granite. While fish were few and far between early on, I was amazed by the gardens of different seaweeds and plants that provided an amazing array of colour.