Herbie update – Herbie has been spotted!

By:  Ann Kunz
SAAMBR

Wonderful news – after a few weeks of tension and worry our special turtle Herbie has been spotted. On the 19th of May 2019, James Meumann was kayaking of Warner Beach when he spotted a large Loggerhead turtle swimming about 1 nautical mile offshore. He initially thought that the turtle had a large barnacle on her carapace but when he got closer, he realized it was a satellite tag.  

The turtle then dived and swam away. James went onto google and found a global network for satellite tags and decided to send his sighting to the network.  SAAMBR was notified through the network as Herbie is the only known satellite tagged turtle that could be in this region.

Based on the information received, it is almost certain that the turtle James observed was Herbie.  Herbie’s satellite tag stopped transmitting on April 12 2019. Her last location was just north of Sheffield beach where she appeared to be hanging around and feasting on the reef.  We assumed that the tag had malfunctioned or the antenna could possibly have broken off.  

According to ORI Assistant Scientist Ryan Daly, “satellite tag transmissions from the marine environment can go through patches of silence due to poor weather conditions or the tags themselves may get damaged.”

We are most grateful to James for following up on his sighting and appeal to like-minded kayakers, divers, paddlers and ski boat fishermen who frequent the ocean anywhere from Port Edward to Richards Bay to be on the lookout for Herbie and to contact us if they come across her.