Point Maud

Just north of Coral Bay a small bit of land sticks out like a finger into the sea. About a two mile walk along the sea shore, Pt. Maud is a crescent-shaped outcrop of land that seemed like a good hike. We looked at the map and saw that about half way to Pt. Maud is a shark nursery and even though it wasn’t shark hatching month it seemed like it would be a nice hike.

The map seemed like it was about 2 or 3 miles one way and we headed out along the beach from Coral Bay. Along the way we saw quite a few tidal pools and hundreds of little crabs. We climbed up along the bluff that runs parallel to the beach and I captured a photo looking towards Coral Bay (above) and a photo looking north towards Pt. Maud (below).

As we neared the shark sanctuary, we could see that it was a small bay that was protected by some rocks with shallow water. A large population of seagulls had inhabited the bay but we didn’t see any sharks. In the first part of the walk much of the beach was covered by rocky boulders and we could walk relatively easy but as we neared the shark bay (and after we passed it), the sand became like mud and we sank up to our ankles in it. If you take this hike, I recommend that you bring sandals or some other shoes that can be removed easily; we walked barefoot quite a bit and I don’t think that shoes would stay on in this wet-sandy muck. In the photo below, you can see the inlet to the shark sanctuary and the finger of land that makes up Pt. Maud extending off to the left over the horizon.

In springtime, baby sharks hatch here and learn their swimming and hunting skills. If you climb up on the bluff you can see them swimming around in the shallow water.

The appeal of Pt. Maud, and why I would recommend this hike/day trip to others is that the beach is completely unspoiled and almost untouched by humans. In a relatively short hike from Coral Bay you can get to an area where you won’t see many people and the beach was just loaded with shells. I had never seen so many shells in my life – and like a little kid, I ran around picking up the best that I could find. There aren’t really any shells on the beaches around Los Angeles – the millions of tourists pick those beaches clean each day. We saw big and little shells, sea sponges, sand dollars & shells of all sizes. Interestingly, the sand dollars here are not flat like in America, they are rounded and Andrea said that they aren’t called sand dollars in Australia, I can see why, they look more like sand shell puffs.

It was obvious that this outcropping of land was sort-of-a catch-net for the ocean and all sorts of debris washed ashore including the aforementioned shells, bits of kelp and plant life. But the entire area was pristine; I didn’t see any trash or beer bottles or tin cans. All we saw were tens of thousands of beautiful shells and we had quite a fun time picking through them looking for some that were just “perfect” in size and color.

The next day we had sore arches as we used foot muscles that don’t normally get used; pulling your foot out of knee-deep soft sandy-mud isn’t something that you do every day! It was a beautiful hike and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting Coral Bay.


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Ningaloo Reef Diving

In the four or five days that we spent in Coral Bay, we must have gone snorkeling most every day. From our hotel the beach was a short 5 minute walk and once you cleared Coral Bay for Paradise Beach, you pretty much had the whole place to yourself. Offshore the bottom of the ocean was covered in sand and continued out for about 50 yards before you hit the reef. Each day as we swam out to the reef we would see some sand rays and I began to notice this little fellow (above). He stood out because he was quite distinguishable with his missing tail. And after we had fed the Snapper some snails on the first day, they continued following us for the rest of the time that we were here; they tagged along like little puppies, watching as we swam, hoping for an additional snack.

From the shoreline the water grew gradually deeper until it was about 4 meters (12’) at the start of the coral reef. The reef was quite thick and extended out to about a mile offshore where the heavy ocean waves broke creating massive white-wash and waves. Most of the snorkelers just swam in this deeper water and looked down at the reef but after the second day I realized that if you continued swimming further and further out to sea the water became more and more shallow until the reef was just two or three feet under the water. In this shallow water the colors of the reef were bright and vivid and I swam around happily for hours on end watching the fish as they swam between the fingers of reef.

The varieties of coral that we saw were endless; red coral, yellow and blue, tall stag coral, fire coral and crazy looking mushroom and dome corals. I didn’t see too many large fish or sharks inside of this protected coral bay but there were plenty of little fish to keep the eyes entertained.

As I look back on my photos I realize that they don’t nearly capture how beautiful this reef was and I didn’t hardly capture all of the things that I saw. I spent too little time photographing and spent much more time swimming and enjoying the fish and the reef. As I think back to Coral Bay and its Ningaloo Reef I have the fondest memories and I would recommend a visit to anyone traveling on the Western Australian coast.


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Nankeen Kestrel

At our hotel in Coral Bay, Western Australia, we saw some of the other lodgers looking up at the hotel roof, pointing and talking about something in the rafters. We asked them what they were looking at and they said that a pair of falcons were perched below the roof line. We had a look and we could see them; I grabbed my camera and captured a photo (above). We consulted Andrea’s bird-watching book and identified them as Nankeen Kestrels.

Later, after we checked into our room we found that their perch was just outside our window. That evening I slid the window open as quietly as I could and captured this photo of one of the pair as it carefully watched the trash-bin area – it was hunting for mice under the lights of the parking lot.

Over the next few days we watched the Kestrel pair as they perched, hunted and slept. On the eve just to the left of our window, if I hung outside I could see the Kestrels perched behind one of the air conditioning units. From this angle I could see them but they couldn’t see me; they were farther away but with my DSLR zoom lens I could get decent photos of them through the little porthole (below).

As we watched this pair of birds they provided quite a bit of entertainment for us. One day we saw one of them on top of the scuba shop’s radio antenna; it had captured a small mouse and it was ripping it to shreds making a nice afternoon meal of it. Each evening we would look through the window blinds and see the Kestrels snoozing, holding one foot up as birds do. I decided to try to capture a photo of one and had to slide the window open to get a shot. Of course, this woke the bird up but it kept one of its landing gear retracted as it carefully watched me (below).

Watching these magnificent falcons was a pleasure and really made us feel closer to nature. I was surprised how many tourists were so busy kayaking and swimming that they didn’t stop to notice all of the birds, lizards and fish that were around them. Next time you are traveling, take 15 minutes to sit quietly and see what wildlife comes your way.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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