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Tuesday Turtles - by Kym and Tim Nixon

Some things you get told just don’t sound right.  The call from Barb that “hundreds of baby turtles are coming out of the sea at the trailer boat club,” just can’t be right.

Last month the Darter rescue had the dinner being cooked, this time the dinner had hit the plates where it would stay for the next couple of hours. 

Kids and torches were loaded in the car for the short trip to the trailer boat club boat ramp where a low but incoming tide had twenty odd people on the sand in front of the sailing club gathered around an orange esky. Here the gathered crowd of friends and one foe were taking turns in picking up the seven baby loggerhead turtles that did not want to go in the sea that night.  We identified ourselves as members of Wildcare and would be temporarily caring for the turtles until they could be handed over to Parks and Wildlife for later release.  This sat well with all but one of the gathered crowd who identified herself as a wilderness society member from South Australia and claimed that our intention was to put the turtles to the sword and cook a soup.  With Kym arguing with the South Australian over the welfare of the turtles the co-operative member of the group told of how that some for of the babies had been taken down to the water only swimming a short distance before turning around and heading back up the beach.   Marika and Gary McKenzie also came to help. Marika also got to meet Kym’s new South Australian friend, it was reported that Marika used a couple of short words to direct the South Australian back home.

The kids and I turned our attention to looking amongst the rocks in front of the sailing club for more turtles.  In total another five were found in the next hour and a half.

The sight of the nest narrowed down to an area in front of the trailer boat club.  The tiny tracks left by the turtles led many in circles then up to the lights of the clubs. Ray Chatto from the Marine Branch of Parks and Wildlife showed up about half past nine and took a great interest in our turtles saying that in his twenty years of involvement with turtles nesting in Darwin he had never seen a nest in that location.  Ray also confirmed that the turtles had confused the lights of the clubs for the moon and this had them heading up the beach instead of into the water.  Ray also told us that up to twenty turtles a year nest at Lee Point and a smaller number at Mandorah but this was the first ever found in the Vestey or Mindal beach area.  The exact location of the nest was not found that night but a more extensive search would take place in the morning and any further turtles removed and released at a safe location.

Dinner was cold and dry on the return home but all agreed that Tuesday Turtles was worth the effort.

Reporting an Incident
If you see a marine animal, such as a turtle, dolphin, dugong, crocodile, saw fish, shark or ray, in need of help report it.
You can report:

stranded or entangled marine wildlife

Call Marine Wild Watch

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