Raine Island - Nature's Cradle on the Edge of the Coral Sea
Satellite Web Cast From Turtle Heaven and Hell
Journal Entry - 01- 26 - 03
She's tagged and off swimming.

Wedge! - The turtle which was caught backwards in the crevice.
Just another glorious day. We had a good rain storm in the middle of the night and to his credit our skipper Marcus took advantage of the free fresh water at 4 a.m. and washed the outside of the wheel house. Only the owner of his own vessel would do that. The rest of us struggled to get out of bed and motor over to the island in time to hike over to the tower for sunrise. We almost made it.

Ian Bell and Shelly - She about to take off for parts unknown.
Instead we took the high road, we fought the good fight, we were good guys. As we made our way along the edge of the sand flats we found a turtle which had slipped into a crevice backwards. From the look of it the turtle had to back into slot in the rock. She had to work hard to get herself stuck. It really is a miracle any of these beasts at all live to nest and lay their eggs. We spent a few minutes working the problem and then made a radio call to the experts on the boat who came in behind us while we marched on to the tower. It took them a number of attempts - some serious work to free the 140 kilo animal from its death slot.

A view from the tower facing N/NE shows you a large portion of the island. The central depression gives you an idea how green the island has become.
Working from the tower gives us such a different perspective on the island. All of sudden you can see the entire length of the island and spy on the private lives of birds in their colonies. Being above the birds give you a chance to look down into nests that you otherwise would not be able see into. The height of the tower also allows you to watch what appears to geographically challenged turtles which make their way for hundreds of meters down the beach parallel to rather than crawling straight out to the beach and the water. The tracks are fascinating to follow - as though somebody has run a number of remote control tonka trucks all over the island beach flats.

Ian Bell affixing the satellite transmitter.
Later in the day Sr. Conservation Officer Ian Bell placed a satellite transmitter on a female green turtle. The transmitter uploads to the satellite IF the satellite is present and IF the turtle stays at the surface long enough. It is hoped the batteries will provide data for a year but even eight months would be acceptable. This is the first time a turtle has had a satellite transmiter attached at Raine Island so it will be interesting to see where Shelly goes and at what speed. We will also be able to work out how much time it spends at the surface or out of the water as well as the temperature of the turtles environment. When Shelly was released just before sunset she powered away from the beach and reappeared 30 meters offshore for a breath.

Another great sunset - just tells it all.
To close it all we had a magnificent sunset which lit up the sky and turned the calm water purple. We can only hope tomorrow is just as nice.
A S/SW view from the tower showing the island foreshore and tremendous amount of excavation work the turtles have done in the vicinity of the tower.

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