The beauty of both nature and culture are the basis for a unique Gulf of Carpentaria tourism experience supported by the MRM Community Benefits Trust.
The li-Anthawirriyarra Sea Ranger Unit runs Turtle Camp at Maabayny (North Beach) on West Island, where visitors can participate in turtle research as well as experience Yanyuwa culture.
During their time on the island, visitors take part in research that the Rangers and Yanyuwa families undertake every year during the peak nesting time for Wirndiwirndi (flatback turtles/natator depressus).
They also had an opportunity to interact with the Rangers and Yanyuwa families and were even given lessons in Yanyuwa song and dance.
Although the flatback turtle can be found offshore from Australia, New Guinea and occasionally Indonesia, it nests only on beaches in northern Australia. It is regarded as a threatened species and is protected under Australian legislation.
The female turtles return to the place of their birth to lay their eggs among sand dunes around August to October each year.
The ecotourism venture would not have been possible without the financial and logistical support of the Community Benefits Trust, the Commonwealth Government Working on Country and Indigenous Protected Area divisions and Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Association.
The Trust contributed $157,826 to Turtle Camp in 2012 and a further $149,190 in 2014.