Just thirty minutes cruising on a glorious midwinter’s day from Gladstone’s marina, you’ll find Quoin Island and since 2012 it has been a special refuge for some of the most beautiful sea creatures you will ever see – turtles.

When increased boat traffic in Gladstone Harbour and a decline in their feedstock in seagrass meadows lead to more injured and sick turtles in our region, Bob McCosker opened the island up to our shell-backed friends and they’ve recently celebrated the release of more than 120 turtles back into the wild after a period in ‘turtle rehab’.

A day cruise organised by GAPDL gives passengers the chance to gain an insight into the work the Turtle Centre does to nurse sick and injured turtles back to health. Standing by the pool, visitors can watch turtles dive and resurface and can gently stroke or scratch Frankie the Turtle’s shell, followed by admiring the mob of pretty wallabies or reflecting on life at the Buddhist statue.

Sit by the pool, have lunch or a glass of bubbles at the cash bar, enjoy a walk along the secluded beach and get an up-close-and-personal experience with these beautiful and fascinating sea turtles, who live as long as us, knowing that the proceeds of your “turtley awesome” day out go to helping them.

With boat-transfers with Curtis Ferry Services, an expert Turtle Talk by Centre coordinator Richard Gilmour and a tour of the island included, the fully booked-out cruise cost $35 for adults, $20 for children (under fours free). Proceeds are donated to the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre with over $1200 raised on the most recent cruise.

Event coordinator Brigitte James said the cruise would continue to be held on an ‘as needs’ basis so if you are interested in getting on a waiting list, e-mail events@gapdl.com.au

Quoin Island is run entirely by volunteers, if you are interested in being a volunteer or would like to donate to the turtles, please call 0408 431 304 or email turtles@mccoskers.com.au