This evening I leave for my long awaited trip to Bare Sand Island.
50 km west of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Bare Sand Island (also known by its aboriginal name Ngulbitjik) forms part of a chain of rocky reef islands that extend 15 km from the mainland. As the name suggests, the island is bare with the exception of two small trees, and is less than 2 km in circumference.
So what makes this island special? Turtles of course!
Every year a large population of flatback turtles, and a few olive ridley turtles, return to the island to lay their eggs. Charles Darwin University (in collaboration with AusTurtle Inc) has run the Bare Sand Island Sea Turtle Research Project since 1989, collecting data in order to monitor the populations and identify risks.
In addition to the nesting turtles, the sea around Bare Sand Island is also home two additional vulnerable sea turtle species – foraging green and hawksbill turtles.
I will spend two weeks on the island working as a sea turtle research assistant, and absolutely can’t wait to get started.