LOOK MUM: Mia 7, Farrah and Blake 7 McPherson got to scratch the back of one the turtles at Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day.
LOOK MUM: Mia 7, Farrah and Blake 7 McPherson got to scratch the back of one the turtles at Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day. Julia Bartrim

Rare chance to pat a turtle at Quoin Island's turtle tour

GAPDL had wanted to organise a community tour to Quoin Island Retreat for some time and you can bet they're glad they did.

The first community day was a massive success with 150 people packing out the Curtis ferry for the half hour trip to the island on Saturday.

 

Arrival. Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day.
Family groups spilled out of the boat on arrival at Quoin Island keen to drink in the sights. Julia Bartrim

Another 200 people were forced to sit on the waiting list for the next, yet-to-be organised tour, which includes a visit to the island's turtle rehabilitation centre.

Families had great fun, with perfect blue sky weather - children swam in the pool and played on the beach.

Guests were offered lunch and afternoon tea and took turns to tour the centre's turtle rehabilitation facility established about six years ago.

Darryl Branthwaite, CEO of Gladstone Area Promotion and Development, said it had been "a wonderful day".

"We're amazed, we knew there was in interest out there but we didn't realise it was that much," he said.

There's not many people who get the opportunity to get up close and personal with turtles.

"It's those sorts of experiences that no one ever gets to, even some of the locals."

 

A short walk along the train tracks to the resort. Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day.
The resort train was out of action so guests took a short and scenic walk along its tracks to the resort. Julia Bartrim

Seven-year-old Mia McPherson, and her twin brother Blake had never seen turtles before.

 

A turtle in recovery at Quoin Island. Members of the public had the chance to interact with the turtles on the first community Quoin Island Awareness Trip.
Members of the public had the chance to interact with the turtles on the first community Quoin Island Awareness Trip. Julia Bartrim

Mia said she was surprised to find out "they can get hurt so easily" but that it was "cool" to see them breathing and to feel their shells and pat them".

 

One of the turtles in the recovery swimming pool. Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day.
When the turtles have recovered and are free of infection, they are moved to a 9m salt water recovery pool where they can mix with other turtles. Julia Bartrim

Mia's mother, Farrah works in Gladstone

"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to jump on board for a reasonable price and to check out the island," she said.

"It's beautiful, it was pretty special to be able to get a ticket."

 

Quoin Island, the Buddha statue is visible to the left. Quoin Island Turtle Awareness Day.
Quoin Island, the Buddha statue is visible to the left. Julia Bartrim

At the end of the tour, Darryl presented a cheque to Quoin Island centre manager Richard Gilmour for $1262.15, the profits raised from the tour.

"This will go a long way to getting another turtle back in the wild," Richard said. 

For those who missed out on the weekend's tour, keep an eye out for an upcoming tour in the coming months.