Quoin Island 'Turtle Taxi' saves Matilda
AN UNFORGETTABLE moment occurred on Tuesday when Matilda the green turtle was released back into the ocean.
Matilda had been recovering at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre since mid-June after she was hit by a boat propeller and left with a broken shell.
After being found injured on a Mackay beach, Matilda was transported to Quoin Island, just off the coast of Gladstone, and received care from rehabilitation centre volunteers.
One of those volunteers was Gladstone resident Alana Kenzler, who brought Matilda all the way back to Mackay for her release at Harbour Beach.
Matilda was slow to start after the five-hour car trip but once the salty waves crashed over her she swam off in a hurry.
It was a special experience for Alana who helped Matilda in her recovery.
"Matilda came in not looking too good, so to see her healthy and fighting, slapping her flippers around, that's pretty amazing to me," she said.
"I've only ever released one other turtle and that was a critically endangered hawksbill turtle.
"So when I was able to have my kids involved in releasing her that was an awesome experience."
Transporting Matilda to Quoin Island wasn't as straight forward as her trip back north.
It included four pit stops along the way.
"Somebody drove to Sarina from Mackay, Sarina to north of Rockhampton, then to Mt Larcom and from there to Quoin Island," Alana said.
"My job takes me as far north as Atherton and south west to Roma... I was due to make a trip to Mackay and mentioned that I'd 'turtle taxied' before."
The Quoin turtle rehabilitation centre opened in March, 2012.