On Friday, this rugged adventurer and all-round dashing outdoorsman will be on Thevenard Island.
It’s my second adventure in marine turtle conservation, and the game has changed since last year’s West Pilbara Turtle Program.
If you have been following closely, you’ll remember that the threatened flatback is native to Australia, and nests only in Australia, and the martine turtle holds cultural, spiritual and economic significance to Indigenous Australians from coastal regions.
Thevenard island is a nature reserve, home to the traditional custodians of the land for tens of thousands of years, and more recently home to decommissioned Chevron-operated Gorgon gas project (who fund the North West Shelf Flatback Conservation Program.)
The island is one of the important turtle nesting site for flatback sea turtles, and in addition to flatbacks this year there will be green turtles and hawksbill turtles.
As well as other marine life like dolphins and dugongs, but who cares about those when you are there for the turtles.
Adventure is out there
Not only are there different turtles to be seen, on this adventure the work gets more hands on, too. Activities include taking tissue biopsies and fitting satellite trackers, on top of the more-familiar track monitoring of nesting turtles.
I’ve completed my online training. I’ve had my medical assessment, I’ve borrowed a head torch, and I need to start packing my bags and arranging my journey to the airport for my 6am flight.
Unlike last year’s adventure, I’ll be working with other people, too — a new challenge of its own. While other adventures, like the ones in Peru and Norway, involved other people I wasn’t working in a team. I was more of a team with my sled dogs in the Arctic than I was with the other people on the expedition.
You know it’s a good adventure when I’m feeling nervous about it. That means I’m getting out of my comfort zone.