Turtle Season has Begun!
Heron Island, a National Marine Park situated in the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, is a significant nesting location for two threatened sea turtle species, the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle. Year after year these turtles return on the high tide to nest in the sandy dunes from late October to early March.
Late December marks the beginning of baby Green and Loggerhead Turtle hatching season, a cycle that will continue into May. Undeterred by human presence the hatchlings erupt from their nests between 25 to 50 metres from shore and make their way to the reef, just beyond the water’s edge. During this journey, the hatchlings will be imprinting on the environment, so they know to return to these beaches as mature adults. This crossing from nest to ocean also gives hatchlings the opportunity to warm up their flippers in preparation for their big ocean journey.
For guests, the opportunity to see turtles nesting or hatchlings erupting, is as simple as taking a stroll around the island at sunset or sunrise. As a world-renowned haven for turtles, guests at Heron Island are given strict guidelines for the viewing of turtles to minimise disturbance to these magnificent marine reptiles. Naturalist guides on Heron Island also lead complimentary educational tours for observing the turtles and hatchlings.
Calling Heron Island home, Master Reef Guide and Marine Biologist, Rachael Jones gets to witness this wondrous lifecycle of the turtles and their hatchlings each year.
“During our complimentary sunrise and sunset turtle walks guests are amazed by the experience of seeing a turtle nesting or the tiny hatchlings erupting to make their dash out to sea. It is such a privilege to pass on my knowledge of sea turtles to our guests, who are enthusiastic to know how they can protect these endangered reptiles during their stay at Heron Island and also when they go back home.” Commented Jones.