Raine Island - Nature's Cradle on the Edge of the Coral Sea
Satellite Web Cast From Turtle Heaven and Hell
Journal Entry - 02- 03 - 03
Another day that shouldn't be.

This hatchling was slow to emerge out of the sand after its clutch mates had already moved off, disturbing the sand around it.
The weather continues to defy all expectations, the sharks to meet expectations. The first is being absolutely fabulous to us the second thumbs their collective noses at us.

A bird returning to the colony always draws unwanted attention much of it negative.
We awoke to another beautiful day and Richard, Dean and I immediately went for a dive to try and photograph the school of bumphead parrot fish which we have found in the shallows exhibiting an interesting collective defensive behavior. We motored out and found them but the fish were not very cooperative apparently not feeling very threatened as they weren't bunched in the collective posture we had earlier seen them exhibit. Well, two more days to try.

A female frigate bird feeding her fledgling chick from her crop.
Back at the boat preparations were already underway to get baits in the water to try and draw tiger sharks and about and hour after we had two big sharks circling the baits at the back of the boat. One even took a bait and badly bent the hook. Following this both sharks seemed to lose interest in the baits and finally disappeared altogether. Tigers sharks 1, team zip! Again! But don't worry they're still here.

This shot shows the red throat pouch which the male frigate bird inflates to attract receptive females.
By early afternoon we moved on to other projects. Richard and I went over to the island to try and photograph the red throat courtship display of the male frigate birds. I say try, because it is still early in the birds courtship cycle and the birds are not yet in full display. We spent almost three hours waiting, watching and shooting other aspects of the frigate bird colony but had no real opportunity to document the red throat pouch.

This is a host of the hatchlings erupting out of the sand en mass.
But the real treat occurred while walking back down the beach towards the Floreat. About ten meters in front of us I noticed a hatchling or two and then all of a sudden a small depression came in to view, full of hatchlings bursting up into the evening. We moved in as fast as possible but we were far enough away that by the time we got to the depression the small emergence was almost over. But what a thrill! The little turtles literally spilled up out of the sand from a depression the size of a large cereal bowl.

You can see what the sun does to a "glass out" day.
Back at the boat the baiting was ongoing again in anticipation of Richards return. In the last light of the day, with a beautiful sunset on the horizon a very large tiger sharks dorsal and caudal fins was spotted just out past the baits. What to do? Attempt to tag the shark in the dark and deal with the issues? The decision is made. No, the shark will still be around in the morning. Besides we'll need something to write for tomorrow.
We brought in all the baits and called it a day - another beautiful frustrating day.

Don't forget you can email us questions at
Built on an Apple G4 Titanium Powerbook courtesy of Apple Computers Inc., Connected to the world by Iridium Satellite LLC and Digital eyes courtesy of Nikon - the new D100 digital camera, Captured on LexarMedia digital film.
© 2003, Paul Sutherland Photography LLC. All images and text on this and every other page on this web site are protected by US and international copyright law. No unauthorized use of any kind whatsoever is permitted.