Shehyn is transmitting beautifully and heading our way! Since we attached her transmitter one week ago, she has travelled 236 km during her journey to the Melbourne Beach area and back toward the nesting beach. We tracked three turtles last year using the same methods and each of those turtles traveled about 500 km each. Leatherbacks typically nest every 8-11 days. Shehyn was tagged 7 days ago on her 6th nest of the year. Her previous intervals were 10, 10, 9, 8, and 12 days so she’s varying quite a bit. That keeps us on our toes. Starting tomorrow night (night 8), we will use her most recent GPS location to get an idea of where she is. We will get as near to that location as we can and then use her VHF transmitter (this is sort of like a pinger) to pick up her location with an antenna from the beach. The VHF tag transmits when at the surface and our antenna can pick up the “pings” if she is within a few miles. There is no information transmitted with these pings, it just lets us know that she’s near. If we hear a quick beep-beep, we know she’s just surfacing. The antenna allows us to determine which direction she is from us. We will use that to follow her south to wherever she decides to nest. When we hear a constant beep-beep-beep…, we know she’s on the beach! It’s actually quite exciting! We’ll keep you updated as she checks in. Check out her current track and compare it to the three turtles that we tracked last year.
Shehyn’s Current Track
Three leatherbacks that we tracked between nests last year