A few weeks ago my family went to Sandy Cape Lighthouse at the top of K’gari. I really like going to Sandy Cape, it is beautiful up there – lovely white sand dunes with no human footprints, real wild dingos, beautiful sunsets from the hill on which the lighthouse stands, the opportunity to go turtling, and the beach there is great for swimming 🙂
We went to Sandy Cape to soak up its magic of course but the main reason was to go turtling (see below for more information).
Turtling is driving along the beach looking for turtles. This time we did it at night. On the first night we found some turtle tracks leading to a nest, it was a loggerhead, we could tell by the tracks. We went to the nest and started to dig. We digged for some time but could not find the nest. Eventually we gave up and drove a little further along the beach. Not long after that we saw some more tracks, Dad followed the tracks and found a female loggerhead turtle! We all went up to look and saw her chambering (digging the hole for her eggs).
Dad also found another turtle 100 metres away !! Iluka , Mum and I watched the first turtle while Dad watched the other one. After a while the turtle left its nest without laying, Mum thought she had disturbed it but Dad said the there was pumice in the hole and that was the cause of her not laying. We went to see the other turtle. She was chambering too. We watched………. and she did lay eggs!! Dad caught the eggs as they came out of her and Iluka, Mum and I put them in a polystyrene box with a layer of sand.
Once all the 88 eggs were in the box we put the lid on and took the the box to the car. We then drove to the nearest egg pen. We dug a new hole for the eggs in the pen, put them in and drove on. We saw lots more tracks that night and the following nights but no more laying loggerheads, we even tried to dig up another nest but were not successful. The process where we move the eggs is called relocation, we do this because loggerhead turtles are endangered and if they stay in the hole the mother dug it is likely the nest will be dug up by dingos and maybe goannas. The pen we put the eggs in has holes big enough for baby turtles to get through and small enough so dingos and goannas can’t get in.
Loggerhead Turtle facts:
- Sea turtles can move through the water at speeds of up to 24 km per hour.
- Loggerhead turtles are omnivores feeding mainly on jellyfish as well as sponges, corals, sea pens, worms, sea anemones, barnacles, insects, sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, starfish and fish.
- Nesting happens when the turtle is about 30 years old and a turtle may nest every 2-4 years.
- Loggerhead turtles are named because they have huge heads!!
- They are 80-110 cm long!
- They are endangered so we need to protect them
- Loggerhead turtles can live for 47-67 years!
- No matter where in the world they go in their life loggerhead turtles come back to the same place they hatched to lay, WOW!!!!
- Their eggs incubate for about 60 days
Please note: The photos of the egg relocation I have used are from 2012 because Mum accidentally deleted the photos from this year.