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SCUBA-L  May 1999, Week 5

SCUBA-L May 1999, Week 5

Subject:

Turtle mania in Coral Bay, Western Australia

From:

Krazy Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 29 May 1999 01:33:30 +0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

In March I was lucky enough to score a free guided tour with the
'Turtle-Hunters' in Coral Bay. Fortunately the guy running this tourist
attraction is more 'conservation-conscious' than those turtle-hunters a few
years back in that area!! In the 1960s there were two licenced turtle catch
boats which ceased operating in 1972.
 
At a designated time all the interested party lined up in front of the
caravan managers front yard to check out our transport - our trusty 4-wheel
motorbikes. A short  briefing went down - what we were going to do, what we
were not allowed to do around the turtle hatchlings. Then a quick
explanation on how to handle the transport  for non-bikers before we were
told to climb aboard, have fun, and head off in to the sunset. Daredevil me
was rearing to go but the BF insisted he was gonna drive coz he wanted to
come back in one piece .. wowser! Of course we were the last in the convoy!
Funny how this Volvo driver wasn't driving so fast now <BWG>.
 
Off down the main drag, well I should say the one & only bit of bitumen you
can burn a bit of rubber there, we zipped along turning off on to a dirt
track that goes past the airstrip and detoured in the direction of Mauds
Landing. The sun was going down slowly as we raced along the foreshore
passing lots of sticks with the odd drink can plonked on top. We later found
out these circles of branches were protecting the turtle nests from dingos,
foxes and accidental damage from vehicles in the sand.
 
A gentleman called Peter Mack has been coming up to Coral Bay on a regular
basis and had the foresight, a few years back, to try and protect a few of
these nests to help increase the Loggerhead turtle population. He has done a
wonderful setting up traps and baits to try and knock back the fox numbers
and in doing so created a job opportunity for the 4-wheel bike man to run
turtle hatching tours. This is now an annual event attracting people from
all over the globe as the word gets around.
 
Check out this site if you want to see Peter Mack's web page
http://www.williams.com.au/turtles.htm
 
The baby turtles are so cute! It was shocking to see how many eggs did not
make it though :-(  Sometimes when it rains too much the sand is too heavy
for the turtle hatchlings to break through but the guy running this guided
tour tries to help by diging them out if he thinks it is really necessary.
 
I was happily clicking off my Nikonos V, with its close-up kit attached, and
didn't realise that my camera battery was running low .. so the best shots
(ain't that always the case) I took of a couple of baby turtles scurrying to
freedom, off into the water, were all black. Damn! A golden opportunity
wasted! I was the only one in swim gear so put on the snorkel & went out
past the surf so I could see them swimming in the water. I was amazed at the
speed these little critters can swim once they get out of the surf.
 
Soon all the little critters were in the water so there wasnt much else to
look at as it was getting dark. The sun looked like it was disappearing in
to the ocean when we began the return to base and it was fun racing everyone
back along the beach :-)
Viv

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