Feel Great Features

Twin turtle release is a cause for shell-ebration

The team at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation are shell-ebrating the successful release of twin turtles Tilly and Sammy. 

The twin turtles, who were rescued from being buried in the sand as newborns, have returned to their big blue home on the Great Barrier Reef.

Jennie Gilbert and Christian Miller of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, and 35 volunteers travelled to Flynn Reef on the edge of the Continental Shelf with Passions Of Paradise to release the turtles.

Tilly and Sammie were found in the remains of a turtle nest in the sand and didn’t reach the water with the other hatchlings due to exhaustion. They were just 3cm in size when they were rescued and taken to James Cook University for 24-7 care with Jennie and the team. Once they were big enough, they moved to their island home at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Fitzroy Island where they enjoyed a diet of peeled prawns, squid, kale, broccoli and high quality fish. Their omnivorous diet reflected the diet of algae and seagrass that they would have had if they were in the wild on the drift of the Continental Shelf.

One of the twins finding newfound freedom

The team releasing one of the turtles

The twins progressed to a stage where they could be successfully released on the Great Barrier Reef. Local lad Hugo Macdonald fundraised enough to purchase a satellite tracker for one of the turtles, and both Tilly and Sammie were fitted with trackers to monitor their distance, dives, depth of dives and health.

Passions of Paradise owners Scott Garden and Roger Cumming kindly donated the use of their 30m catamaran for the turtle release and this was one of the many projects that the family business assisted in.

The team waved goodbye to Tilly and Sammie and saw them swim to freedom, knowing that they’d helped save another two lives.

Where the wild ones are

Discover more incredible wildlife experiences and help all creatures great and small during your trip to the tropics.

Great Barrier Reef
12 Famous residents of the Great Barrier Reef

Only 12 residents? There’s probably a gazillion of them, but let’s start things slowly shall we. It’s not easy to keep track of every single one of the Great Barrier Reef’s inhabitants but here are some of the most famous ones in Tropical North Queensland.

Read more
master reef guides great barrier reef
Great Barrier Reef
Ways you can help the Great Barrier Reef

There’s a sense of responsibility that comes when you’re visiting one of the world’s seven wonders; a calling to nurture nature. If leaving only footprints (or fin waves in this case) is high on your priority list, here are some ways you can help the Great Barrier Reef during your next holiday.

Read more
Tolga Bat Hospital
Tropical North Queensland
Conscious travel: How to travel Tropical North Queensland for a cause

Take nothing but photographs, leave only footprints and help give back to the unique environment of Tropical North Queensland with these experiences and causes.

Read more
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Where to have a guaranteed wildlife experience near Cairns

You know what rates as highly as the reef and rainforest on visitor’s to-do-lists when they come to Cairns? Having a wildlife encounter.

Read more
Kuranda
5 places to spot animals in Kuranda

Kuranda, the picturesque village on the Atherton Tablelands, is home to many of our tropical wild friends, so where better to go animal-spotting than at one of Kuranda’s many wildlife gardens and sanctuaries.

Read more
lorikeet at birdworld in kuranda
Cairns & Northern Beaches
A wildlife warrior’s 3 day guide to the tropics

Love animals? Love nature? Love khaki? If you answered yes, this guide has your name written all over it, and we’re calling you a wildlife warrior from now on. Trek to the tropics for three days of nature in the north with this itinerary.

Read more
Minke whale article tile
Great Barrier Reef
Swim with dwarf minke whales on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the only place in the world that you can swim with dwarf minke whales: an experience so exclusive it only happens for two months of the year and only in Tropical North Queensland.

Read more
Tropical North Queensland
Everything you need to know about cassowaries

There’s plenty of reasons to visit Cairns & Great Barrier Reef in summer – balmy weather, crystal clear reef visibility and pumping waterfalls – but what you might not know is it’s also the best time of year to spot Australia’s living dinosaurs and their chicks, cassowaries.

Read more