Research for this book is becoming more intensive now, but rather than finding information on the internet I have begun to meet some of the volunteers who contribute so much to life on the Sunshine Coast. This month I had the privilege to chat with two ladies who form part of the group known as Turtle Care. The season lasts for approximately six months of the year between November and April. During the first half of the season members walk the beaches in the early mornings from Caloundra to Kawana searching for trails left by adult Loggerhead and Green turtles as they struggle from the ocean and make their way up to the sand dunes to lay their eggs. Approximately 120 eggs can be laid in one evening – a very labour intensive effort for the poor female. Even though she digs the nest up to half a metre deep, and covers it well once the laying is complete, the nest is still vulnerable. The eggs are attractive to foxes and dogs so, once alerted to a nest the volunteers carefully record the location and lay a covering of mesh to protect the eggs from the predators.
For the eight weeks it takes until the hatchlings are due, volunteers keep watch and at times, if severe weather causes high tides that threaten the nest, specially trained volunteers even relocate the nest and eggs to a position of safety higher up the beach. Once there are signs of the hatchlings beginning to emerge they keep watch and make sure as many of them as possible reach the ocean undisturbed. The volunteers then painstakingly record the number of eggs and record the details ready to send to Mon Repo and the Queensland University. The whole process takes quite some time and as this usually happens in the evenings, it can mean many a late night for the volunteers. But talking to these dedicated women, they have been turtle watching for some years and the satisfaction they feel from making a contribution to try and save what is an endangered species, makes me realise what a sterling job they are doing. We owe a great deal to our wonderful volunteers – thank you Myrle and Rhondda.
With the holiday season upon us, when the heat and humidity takes its toll and energy levels are low, I look forward to having some good books to read. This year I have assembled a varied collection. Two novels - Belly Dancing for Beginners by Liz Byrski and from Monica Ali Brick Lane. The third is a collection of short stories by my favourite crime author, Peter James - A Twist of the Knife,. The novels have been on my ‘to read’ list for some time and I found both whilst perusing a second-hand bookshop. I do enjoy spending time just browsing though books that somebody else has read and wondering if they enjoyed them? I usually come home with far more than I can read in the immediate future. I can’t remember ever having a holiday when a visit to a second-hand bookshop has not been mandatory.
For the last couple of months I have been going about my writing a different way. Like most writers I set short term and long term goals and try to aim for a time-line to finish them. Needless to say, I don’t always achieve what I plan and that can leave me with a feeling of disappointment – I won’t say failure because I do accomplish some portion of them. But now, at the end of each month I review and record what I HAVE ACHIEVED. It’s amazing how that leaves me with a much more positive feeling and even if I have gone off on a tangent and done things that were not on my ‘to do list’ once written down it is a satisfying feeling to know how much work I have done and see what I achieved.
So, come year end – that time when most of us make New Year resolutions that are seldom kept beyond mid January, this year I’ll list what I have accomplished through 2015. That way, I shall begin 2016 on a positive note.