Raine Island - Nature's Cradle on the Edge of the Coral Sea
Satellite Web Cast From Turtle Heaven and Hell
Journal Entry - 02- 04 - 03
Last Day at Raine an it Didn't Again!
Waiting on sharks.
Todays entry could begin just like yesterdays except the weather was better - the water more glass like - the sharks more frustrating - we actually got one to the boat and then lost it and they kept swimming around the back of the boat taunting us, just out of reach.

Parrot fish, the uncooperative lot.
I started the day with a dive which should have given me a clue about how the day was going to go. I went in search of the bumphead parrot fish in their defensive resting posture. Well, they weren't in the posture and they weren't cooperative. The current was running fast and taking pictures was about out of the question and to top it off the visibility was awful, the water was full of plankton. So it stands to reason that the rest of the day is going to suck thousand year eggs.
Tiger shark with rainbow runner fish in attendance at the tail.
We started baiting for sharks about 8:00 and didn't stop until 3:00 and at times there were three very healthy and wary tiger sharks nosing around the baits teasing us. We did manage to hook one but as we are using barbless hooks she dropped the hook before we were able to secure her (yes, it was a female this time). Richard has decided that the yoke clamp originally designed for use with dugongs will probably work best with them as their horizontal flukes will not slip through the clamp while the sharks vertical caudal fin have done so on more than one occasion. This is why we have reverted to using the tried and true barbless hook method. The nice part of the whole day was that with the very still water (completely calm) we got a very good look at the sharks as they cruised back and forth across the back of the boat. There was even a large school of rainbow runner fish hanging out under the boat which would rush out and mob and the sharks whenever they approached the boat, rubbing themselves on the sharks rough skin, I presume to remove parasites. Each mobbing event by the rainbow runners would spook the sharks and drive them off for a few minutes.

The perfect blind - Not! Old turtle bones included for camouflage.
After failing to bring a shark to the boat Richard and I felt we needed to do something even less gratifying so, while the rest of the team went for a relaxing dive, we set off to the island to try and photograph the herons feeding on the turtle hatchlings. That went just OK. With both of us yelling under our breath at the less than cooperative herons too far away, turned the wrong way, doing the wrong thing, or going the wrong way. It was comical. And then to cap it all off the piece de resistance. Just off to our left an emergence of hatchlings had taken place just five meters from the blind. All of a sudden there were hatchlings all over the place. There were more hatchlings than you could shake a stick at. But no dumb birds. The emergence was TOO close to the blind. Those dumb birds knew exactly what was going on in that big turtle shell. They would have none of it. They just took off and flew a little way down the beach and hunted there. We sat in our faux turtle shell in a deserted desert looking forlornly at the light fade before our eyes.

Then it was over and the birds on the edge of the beach scattered and the light went to grey. But as it did it bathed the tower behind us in a warm golden light I will remember for a long time. Richard and I called it a day and packed up the blind as a magnificent sunset began to form to the west. It was a great way to close out our almost two weeks at the island.
We have two days at sea running back to Cairns so we'll update you on our progress.

One of our volunteers was talked into getting his hair cut in this pattern. Don't ask!
PS. We had a request for digital shots of the haircuts which took place a short while ago - enjoy!!!

Adam is Richards right hand. He has been wearing his hair close to his head for years.
Ash is our sound man. He likes to get his hair cut about half way in to the trip when personal appearance becomes too much to deal with.

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.