Raine Island - Nature's Cradle on the Edge of the Coral Sea
Satellite Web Cast From Turtle Heaven and Hell
Journal Entry - 01- 23 - 03 - Another day in waiting....at sea.

Richard eye to eye with a juvenile grey reef shark.
We awoke to much better conditions. Our skipper Marcus (you may remember him from our team description piece back in late December) pulled anchor early in the morning to make for Lockhart River to top off our fuel tanks for the final run over the outer reef to Raine Island.
The seas were calm and the sky blue as we spent the morning underway. This is a significant improvement over yesterdays weather and sea where the boat surfed its way down the face of large swells through much of the day and night upsetting a number of stomachs. Our stop at Lockhart River was brief - just long enough for the Her Eminence the Floreat to gulp 2100 quick liters - yes we did have a following sea all the way from Cairns to Lockhart. Seems like we used very little fuel for the distance. Basically we surfed up here on a Southeast swell - almost.

The ill named card game passes the time.
I had also hoped to get a opportunity to photograph the Torres Straits pigeons we had recorded at Lockhart on our last expedition (the sound recording is available on the web site - have a listen). But...they have all migrated north. The take home lesson here - get it while you can - if have the chance go get it!

The victim suffers the mask.
From Lockhart we motored North East for some six hours to our anchorage for the night at Stead Passage. And once again the battle for the day was against boredom. An interesting card game with a name I can't repeat helped pass the time and forced the loser to wear a mask. This evening at the anchorage Richard Fitzpatrick set out a baited hook for sharks in order to take tissue samples for a colleague, Will Robbins doing his Ph.D. on DNA work on the Great Barrier Reef shark stocks at James Cook University. It is dramatic to watch Richard bring a four foot white tip shark up to the swim step and then carry out his sampling protocol, finally releasing the shark unharmed, smoothly back into the water a quick five minutes later. Events yielded several interesting photos courtesy of the Nikon D100 digital system I have on loan from Nikon.

Saving the tissue sample.
It is ironic though, that here you have a boat load of people setting off on a very special expedition to one of natures most special places and we are all quickly caught in our own boredom, trapped by the tight confines of the vessel which carries us to the place we both want to and fear arriving at. We all know once we get to Raine there will be little rest for the weary. Sleep will be in short supply. The work will begin and not stop for the entire time we are at the island

Richard inspecting the inside of white tip reef sharks mouth.
But for one more night we have peace and quiet It all begins tomorrow!
The team enjoying a DVD on the G4 (our nerve center) courtesy of Apple Computer.

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