All good things must come to an end, and so we wrapped up our monitoring season with a final Day Survey in the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery today. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable season, and incredibly successful, with 332 nests and 539 nesting activities by loggerhead sea turtles recorded in Gnaraloo Bay since 1 November last year. Also – no feral animal activity has been recorded in the rookery for the past month of monitoring, and no nests were observed to have been predated by feral animals all season. This is great news for both the GFACP and the GTCP!
We have experienced some wonderful, windy, hot and cold, days and nights of turtle survey at Gnaraloo. After rigorous training, intensive surveys, Farquhar expeditions and loads of community and school participants helping out, we have successfully completed 120 consecutive days of sea turtle monitoring. It’s not all glamour and glory though (albeit we do highlight the good parts), we don’t deny that sometimes it was tough to wake up at 3.30am for Day Survey, or continue walking in soggy shoes for 6 hours during Night Survey. But, all in all, we consider ourselves pretty lucky to wake up to the beautiful scenery of white sand dunes and turquoise waters every single day, and we will miss driving around on bumpy roads in the Turtle Wagon or aptly-named ‘Fridge Ute’.
Today’s last survey was a spectacular one – Andy and I were joined by Romeo, Max and Alexandre for the final patrol. Andy and Romeo were incredibly lucky to witness more than 50 hatchlings bubbling up out of two nests. By the time Max, Alexandre and I had run to meet them, most of the hatchlings had made it into the water (yippee!). We all watched the final two hatchlings enter the ocean to begin their big journey, and hopefully to return in approximately 30 years to nest.
We would like to say a big THANKYOU to everyone that has made this season memorable, to all the people who work / have worked at Gnaraloo during the season and our multitude of guests that have helped us out during surveys. It has been a fantastic experience and we look forward to now sharing our knowledge and stories as we travel around WA for school and community group presentations!