Thursday 19th March 2015
We woke up at the GlassHouse Mountains eco-lodge and after breakfast went to walk on the Trachyte Circuit nearby.
The landscape was quite dry and the temperature still really hot for mid-March, around 33 degrees probably.
There were lots of grasshoppers flying around.
Some spiders like this one
We saw a beautiful panoramic view of some of the hills nearby, from left to right: Mt Beerwah (556m), Mt Tibberoowuccum (220m), Mt Ngungum (263m) and Mt Tibrogargan (364m).
A giant crocodile
Some grey hair bush
A view of the Mount Tunbubudla (The Twins)
A brown dove
A warning about the climbing to Tibrogargan summit
Funny enough, right after this sign, it was 15 min walk back to the parking and we ran into a young guy who had just ran to Tibrogargan summit and back in 45 minutes. Pretty fit, but it does tell to not be scared too much completely of the signs!
Back on the road, ran into some construction work.
Off we went in the direction of Bundaberg, about 3h30 – 4h drive.
Nice landscape with some small hills.
We stopped for lunch in a rest area near some small pond
There was a really cool hippie truck parked there.
Getting closer to Bundaberg, we started seeing sugar cane fields.
We had 25 minutes to eat quickly in a Thai restaurant near Mon Repos.
Then we drove 10 minutes to Mon Repos and queued to enter the centre. We were allocated to group 1, which meant the first to fo, which was great. There were really great information there. I learned that there are only 7 types of turtles in the world. When a turtle is born, only one out of 1,000 turtles will survive to the age they can breed, which is 30 years. The scientists still don’t know much about turtles, as they go to Latin America and then come back 30 years later to breed and lay eggs on the beaches they were born that they recognise through a magnetic field they remember apparently. During these 30 years, it is hard to tell where they are and what they do exactly. Another interesting learning was that the temperature of the sand determines the sex of the turtle. The ones born at Mon Repos are mostly females, while some born on the beaches near the Whitsundays are mostly male apparently.
We walked to the beach, following the turtle sign on the floor, guided by a ranger.
At the beach, we all gathered near a nest where the rangers were expecting some turtles to hatch. I expected to see turtles in some eggs breaking their egg shell but actually they do that during 5 days way below the sand and once out they get one after the other to the sand surface so when we watched them, we saw baby turtles exiting the sand. We were not allowed to take photos even without flash, probably because some people would still use the flash, and the other reason is apparently because the infrared used by some cameras may hurt the turtles. The centre is allowed to take a sample and pass it around, these can be flashed and touched on the shell and legs like this one:
Then we watched the baby turtles walk to the sea. The rangers can’t help them because it is believed that it is during that moment that the turtle remembers the place they were born and are able to come back 30 years later to lay eggs. If we interfer with that, then they may not know where to come back to. Once they reach the water, they swim for 2 days non-stop before they start feeding. Only 1 turtle out of 1,000 turtles will survive and make it to adulthood to come back and lay eggs.
After all turtles had made it to the sea, the ranger was retrieving from the sand the egg shells to gather some statistics about the number of turtles which had been born in that hatchling, and which turtles had not made it out of their egg. He discovered that two different turtles had come to lay eggs in the same spot.
I wish we could have taken more photos and also that the group was smaller, but regardless, it was a great experience to come at Mon Repos and learn about the turtles and see some baby ones make their first steps on the sand and walk instinctively to the sea!
My friend Kristin visited earlier this year and wrote a really good article on her blog, and had the good idea of going back to the beach the next morning and was lucky to see some baby ones still going to the sea. Check out her great photos here: http://www.bootsandabackpack.com/march-turtle-hatchlings-mon-repos/
After that, we watched a little bit a documentary the centre was screening for the people who had not gone yet to the beach, and then went to meet our friend John in Bargara with who we stayed for one night. The three of us had a drink and chatted the rest of the evening!