Andrew and I (Danica) left for the famous Hut Lodge at Gnaraloo Cape Farquhar Rookery (GCFR) on Thursday 7 and returned Sunday 10 February 2013. This was our final reconnaissance survey for this season. Last year the final survey was conducted from 21 – 23 February 2012. There were no new turtle activities but 45 old nesting activities during their survey. We were expecting to find fewer older nesting activities due to the regularity of our surveys whilst having new activities every day.
We arrived at 06:30 and settled ourselves into our cozy hut. Then, broom in hand, together we set off on our 28 km return walk. We recorded a total of 7 old activities, 5 of these were recorded in Sub-section 3 (GFR – GLN) which has been our busiest Sub-section this season. Excluded from these nesting activities was a possible hatching occurrence which also occurred in Sub-section 3.
Returning from our sweeping, we settled ourselves in at our lodge. As always Andrew was hungry, so being the good woman I am, I offered to cook him lunch (mainly to prevent him from getting sun burnt). There I was sitting around a fire, dressed in a zebra print sarong and a bone in hand, cooking sausages, Andrew said “I reminded him of a cave woman” and found it hilarious.
The next day, we set off separately completing our first survey of the area for any turtle nesting activities that occurred over night. However, unfortunately there were no new activities, although there was a loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtle sighted offshore in Sub-section 4 (GLN- GFN). Feral predator tracks were observed in Sub-section 1 (GFS – GFH), which was a bit close to home for comfort.
Day number 2 we set off again separately hoping to have more activity than the previous day. Thankfully there was a new nesting activity, a nest, in Sub-section 3. However, this was our only new nesting activity observed over our 4 day adventure. Although 3 more loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtles were observed offshore on the final day of surveying. It appears that the nesting season at GCFR ends before the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery (GBR), but further seasons surveys will help to confirm this.
Returning from our surveying on the third day, disaster struck. I pulled into the hut and could hear a hissing sound. I said “Andrew, is that…?” Andrew reassuringly replied “No, it’s a cicada (Cicadidae)”, I was hesitant, thankfully, I double checked and sure enough, our tyre had a leak. The last thing we felt like doing was changing a tyre in midday sun. But after a quick dip, we began the process, which became stuck when one of the nuts wouldn’t budge. We looked at each other and said “Too hard basket” we’ll deal with it later. However, I came up with the bright idea to change our technique and sure enough, the nut budged and we were f-i-n-a-l-l-y able to change the tyre. Thankfully we were experts and drove back to the Homestead safely Sunday afternoon, with no other car troubles.
We hope that you have enjoyed our Cape Farquhar adventures this season as much as we have enjoyed sharing them with you.