Stingrays of Hamelin Bay

Stingrays of Hamelin Bay, Western AustraliaIf you wander down to the Hamelin Bay Jetty or the boat ramp at Hamelin Bay , you will notice black shadows moving through the water close to shore. Don't panic they are just the friendly stingrays who have become somewhat of a tourist attraction. I would avoid patting them though ! But if you are keen I have heard they don't mind posing for the occassional photograph. Some brave souls even like to hand feeding them. The locals normally post signs on the jetty during school holidays to let everyone know that the stingrays are friendly and are not to be harmed. The sign also has a message requesting fishermen to release any stingray which gets caught in nets or fishing lines. The best time to see these fascinating creatures are when the fishing boats come into shore, as the stingrays like to feed off the scraps left by the fishermen. This happens usually early in the morning or late afternoon. If in doubt just give the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park a ring.

The Myalup Stingray

In Myalup (a few hundred kms up the coast) they also have a friendly stingray known as Charlie. You can always tell when Charlie is in the area because you will see people running from the surf screaming "shark". Locals find this mildly amusing as they tell the terrified tourists not to worry it is only a stingray (though many don't think that is anymore comforting). Having come across old Charlie several times I am convinced he enjoys scaring the tourists.

Stingray Fatalities

There has been three recorded deaths in Australia due to stingrays, including Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 after a barb punctured his heart. The only other known stingray deaths in Australia were in c.1930 and 1988 and those too were as a result of a direct sting to the heart.It is believed that there has only been 17 fatal stingray attacks worldwide.