The turtle nesting season has officially kicked off (November – March) heralded by a frenzy of love action captured on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Lady Elliot Island based marine biologist, Jacinta Shackleton (instagram.com/jacintashackleton) witnessed four mature male turtles and one female in a mating frenzy as the chaps tried to win the attention of the would-be mamma. Filming for around 20 minutes, Jacinta watched as the males circled and waited for their opportunity before moving out to deeper water.
"The males were biting and hitting the successful male – even trying to stack on top of him and to pull him off the female," she said.
Jacinta explained that females will mate with as many males as they can and will store the sperm before self-fertilising between three and seven clutches of eggs each breeding season. Each clutch produces between 80-150 eggs.
"Female turtles feed for about 18 months to build the energy required for the creation of the eggs and the laying process. Here on the southern Great Barrier Reef we usually start seeing hatchlings around Christmas and nesting should start any time now."
Where can you see turtles on the Southern Great Barrier Reef?
Lady Elliot Island
Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay located at the southern tip of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef famous for its unspoilt coral reef and a fantastic marine life. The Great Barrier Reef Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island (20-minute flight) allows guests to explore the reef from the air, a glass-bottom boat and the water, all in one day. (Or you can stay longer!) Information from: http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/
Mon Repos Turtle Centre
The new multi-million dollar Mon Repos Turtle Centre has opened in time for nesting season, from November 9. The redeveloped centre will provide experiences to immerse visitors in the lives of marine turtles and turtle researchers, a Junior Discovery area for children, as well as the guided Turtle Encounters on the beach for which Mon Repos is famous. Turtle Tour fees for 19/20 season start from $14 for a child, $27 for an adult and $65 for a family pass, GST included. Information: https://www.bundabergregion.org/turtles/mon-repos-turtle-encounter
Lady Musgrave experience
Lady Musgrave Experiences offers the shortest boat day trips to the reef departing from Bundaberg. The catamaran takes up to 150 passengers to the coral lagoon around Lady Musgrave Island. Whale watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, gourmet catering (sourced only from local producers), encounters with turtles, Manta Rays and over 1,200 fish species, all make the Lady Musgrave Experience a bucket list adventure. Information from: https://ladymusgraveexperience.com.au/swim-with-turtles/
You can check out the vision here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v97bennpqd585vh/AAAWP8I7JxaTwzIk_q-smTbTa?dl=0 (credit: Jacinta Shackleton)
Check out this blog for further information: https://blog.queensland.com/2019/10/01/mon-repos-where-to-see-turtles-queensland/
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For more information:
Georgia Linton, Tourism and Events Queensland