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Eva Marie Saint - starring in N by NW - Queensland - Fraser Island courting Green turtle tracking 2014-17

A project of Sandy Cape Turtle Volunteers.

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Background

K22586 "Eva Marie Saint" was first tagged when nesting on Wreck Island, North of Heron Island, at the northern end of the Capricorn Bunker Island group in the Southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, on 22 December 1998 and she measured 98.7cm CCL.

She was next seen 18 years later when we beach-jumped her on 28 October 2016 while she was basking on the water's edge south of Sandy Cape, on the Northern tip of Fraser Island.
She had the slight skin and shell damage at the front of the carapace typically seen on female turtles who have been courting. Her suitors "Cary Grant" and "James Mason" were swimming in the shallows a few yards away, with "Alfred Hitchcock" directing the scene from not far behind.

She is now 98.9cm long, and so has not grown larger in 18 years.

She was taken to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse, where the tracker was attached and a large red "N' was added behind it for easy ID at a distance. Skin biopsy samples were taken for DNA and stable isotope analysis.

As you can see from the photo when she was released, she still is a star, attracting big adoring crowds.

After release she swam, as was expected, in a Nor-Nor-Westerly direction - but only for two days - stopping at Boult Reef just north of Lady Musgrave Island for 10 days, probably for more courting.
She then moved N by NW again and had a brief look at One Tree Island, Heron Island, and Broomfield Reef, and arrived at, and has hung out within 1km to the NW of Wilson Island since - nesting there 6 times: on 18th November and again on 4th, 17th & 29th December 2016, and 10th & 25th of January 2017.

This season she did not change nesting beaches to nest again on Wreck Island even though as Wilson Island is only 3 miles/5.5km to the NW of Wreck Island.
Wreck Island has had a two week mid-season census most years since 1998, so she should probably have been seen again if she nested there each year. On average greens in this population nest roughly every 5 years - so her nesting at Wreck Island in 1998 may prove to have been a lucky one-off, for her to get a flipper tag and entry into the database.

When found at Sandy Cape in October 2016 Eva Marie Saint had a very fine sheen of hard green algae all over her carapace, which suggested an estuary nearby her foraging home. She departed Wilson Island on 25th January and swam south, vising most of the islands and reefs that she saw on the way north, but then she cut across to hit the mainland South of 1770/Agnes Waters near Wreck Rock, swam down the inside of Fraser Island and through the Sandy Straits and around to Moreton Island and over to Deception Bay. She has since visited the Moreton Banks near the Southern end of Moreton Bay and returned to Deception Bay, so this appears to be her foraging home range.

  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without the explicit written consent of the data owners.
  • For more information please visit the project website.
  • This map connects positions generated by the ARGOS system designated as location class (lc) '4', '3', '2', '1', '0', 'A', 'B'. Locations that have been "filtered" are displayed as small red dots.
  • This maps also shows locations of class 'Z', 'X' as small black dots which are not connected by a route line.
  • Bathymetry layers are derived from the GEBCO One Minute Grid.
  • Sea surface temperature and chlorophyll are derived from NASA's Ocean Color data.
  • Ocean currents and sea surface heights are derived from AVISO's Ssalto/Duacs Gridded Absolute Dynamic Topography & absolute geostrophic velocities data.

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