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Turtles in the Great Barrier Reef 10:43am, Tue 04 Dec 2018

The Whitsundays is home to six of the world's seven turtle species which include the Green turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Flatback turtle, Olive ridley turtle and Leatherback turtle. The most common turtles are the loggerhead and green turtle while the olive ridley are seldomly seen.

Turtle life cycle

All marine turtle have the same general life cycle - they grow slowly and takes decades to reach sexual maturity. When young, they will drift on ocean currents for years, or stay in one place until they are old enough (between 20 - 50 years) both male and female turtles will travel up to 3,000km to their birth place to mate.

Mating takes place offshore a month or two before their first nesting attempt for the season and then the female goes ashore to dig a pit in the sand and lay up to 120 eggs. The temperature of the next determines the sex of the hatchlings. Warm dark sand produces mostly females while cool white sand mostly result in male turtles.

After 12 weeks the eggs begin to hatch simultaneously, making their way to the surface and use cues such as the topography and brightest direction to find the ocean. Once in the water, they use the wave direction, current and magnetic fields to find deeper water offshore. All of these telltales imprint the hatchlings on how to find their way back once they are ready to breed themselves.

The hatchlings aren't seen again until their shells are 20-40cm long and migrate back to inshore waters for foraging, where they remain until they reach sexual maturity and the turtle life cycle starts all over again.

You'll certainly see many turtles on a bareboat charter. Contact us today for a no obligation quote. 1800 075 101


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