Raine Island - Nature's Cradle on the Edge of the Coral Sea
Satellite Web Cast From Turtle Heaven and Hell
Journal Entry - 01- 25 - 03
We are lucky enough to have todays journal entry written by the director of "Nature's War Zone - Raine Island", Jeremy Hogarth. Jeremy is an easy going fellow except when you negatively impact his ability to produce his film and then he becomes the beast from the dark side.
Break a leg Jeremy.

Adam Barnett waiting on tiger sharks.
I'm back at Raine for the third time now, and the change in just a month is stunning. It's like when you've been away from a child for a while, on a filming trip perhaps, and when you return home you see the differences, yet had you stayed at home you probably would never have noticed. It's almost like being home, being back here at Raine. The island is turning back to green. It's not the dark, mature and tired green of the winter trip in July last year; this is the lush and fresh green of a spring. There has been rain here at Raine Island, it is after all the wet season. Today is Saturday, we arrived yesterday morning. The weather has been kind so far, flat calm seas that merge with the horizon, almost so that you can't see where one ends and the other begins. The light at the moment is flat, there is high cloud but yesterday there were times when the light was dramatic. Clouds building up behind the tower with the sun breaking through so that the clouds became even darker - and the rain came. A brief squall, then it passed us by and headed on out to the horizon.

Visitors face in detail.
At first glance not a lot else has changed, or so it would seem. The frigate birds are still soaring high above the island, soaring up and up on the thermals rising from the sea. But some of the males have developed their red throat pouches for when they start to display. The night herons, absent in the winter trip, now in their hundreds are patrolling the dunes. In the afternoons they can be seen standing in silent threat and looking inland, waiting for the hatchling turtles to emerge in the evening. I can't help but wonder just how many hatchlings there will be this year - how many will survive through to adulthood, to return in their time to haul up onto Raine Island.

Sunset - brilliant scarlet?
Last night we went on to the island after sunset and counted the number of turtles that were ashore. In no way can it be constituted as a scientific count, but there were probably between four hundred and four hundred and fifty after you figure in a margin of error. Just a month ago there were possibly as many as two thousand, so for me the sands seem deserted yet four hundred turtles on a small island is still astounding. Raine island is like that - astounding.

Richard Fitzpatrick attempts to place the yoke clamp on a tiger shark.
Yesterday we saw tiger sharks as well, at least five of them. Large ones too. We have three more satellite tags to place on tigers, but yesterday we failed to get even one. Today was different, we placed a tag on a male tiger shark, 2.95 metres long. What makes this interesting is that this is the first male that Richard Fitzpatrick has seen at Raine. So much for the theory they are all females at Raine. It'll be fascinating to see where he goes, how long he will last. The female that we tagged in December is still at sea, from the last report she was a hundred and forty miles North of Raine near the Eastern Fields reef system off PNG.

Richard attaching a satellite transmitter to the dorsal fin of tiger shark.
Tonight we are going to start the process of placing a satellite tag on a turtle. We'll update you on how that goes.

On the voyage yesterday we were followed by a pod of bottlenose dolphins, they rode the pressure wave at the bow of the Floreat - sleek and graceful creatures. Today we have seen turtles and tigers, tawny sharks and silver tipped sharks, the frigates riding the thermals, juvenile red foot booby came to the boat and sat for a while, and we were visited by a whale. The sun sank down below the grey of the horizon, just a glimmer of red unlike yesterday when the clouds were a brilliant scarlet against the deep of the blue. Just before I left home to return up here, in fact the day before, my youngest daughter jumped out of an aircraft at ten thousand feet and landed safely, my son got into the University of his choice and my eldest daughter came home with a smile. My wife said : "All in all, that was a good day." And I think that we can say the same today.
Now, tomorrow is another day! Stay with us.

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