IT was an exciting but teary farewell for green turtle Delly on Thursday, who spent two months recuperating at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
Several strong volunteers and a mattress on a telehandler were used to transport the 134kg turtle from the centre, on to a Curtis Ferry and out to the seagrass-rich area of Pelican Banks.
But there was no looking back for Delly, who slid herself easily into the water and off to her next adventure.
Turtle carer Bob McCosker said Delly had been one of their most animated animals.
"It was a bit teary, just beautiful… she's been the most humanised in such a short time. She was just like a big puppy dog," he said.
"In the end I expected her to tell us when she was ready to go, they usually let you know.
"But she still didn't talk to us properly so we had to make the call, and coming into winter the earlier she got out the quicker she will adapt to the colder waters."
Although she has had a healthy life without major injury, Mr McCosker said his theory on her initial condition was that she had been exhausted.
"She could have swum a couple of thousand miles and she's got as far as here, beached herself and didn't have the strength to keep going," he said.
"She's had a good two-month rest, she's got a belly full of squid so she'll be fine now."
Mr McCosker said Delly lost six kilos from her weakness when she arrived, but as she strengthened she began to eat a regular 7kg feed for her size.
"So 134kg still for a 112cm green is still an extremely healthy weight," he said.
Curtis Ferry Services donated their time and ferry to pick up Delly and see her off.
Keyaan donates birthday money to help feed Delly
KEYAAN Miles Zadeh had a turtle of a time on Thursday when he and his four-year-old sister Leila and their mum spent the morning with Delly for her release back to the ocean.
The trip was a gift after he donated $30 of his birthday money to the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
He said he had seen turtles up close at Boyne Island.
"It was lying on the beach and I thought it was trapped but then at high tide it was gone," he said.
Mum Sue Miles said she thought it was important for him to meet some of the volunteers.
"She told him his donation went to feed Delly her breakfast this morning," she said.
"Being able to see the donation working puts it into context, and now from home we can see Quoin Island and know what they do for the turtles."
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