It was all about the turtles when Cruise Whitsundays and Eco Barge Clean Seas came together to celebrate World Turtle Day this morning.
PR and Media Executive at Cruise Whitsundays, Alyce Carter, said it was an opportunity to not only celebrate World Turtle Day but also to raise funds for their community partner, Eco Barge Clean Seas.
“They do so much amazing work with turtles by rescuing them and looking after turtles that are sick and injured,” she said.
Eco Barge Cleans Seas founding chair, Libby Edge, said the not-for-profit organisation, which keeps Whitsunday Islands clear of marine debris, was struggling for funding before Cruise Whitsundays came along.
“(Cruise Whitsundays) has gone above and beyond in the partnership and this is just another way they are supporting us,” she said.
“After Cyclone Debbie, we know the sea grass has been damaged so we’re expecting a lot of sick and injured turtles coming into care in the next couple of months.”
Ms Edge also runs the Whitsunday Turtle Centre which cares directly for sick and injured turtles in the Mackay Whitsunday region.
For Cruise Whitsundays, it wasn’t just World Turtle Day they celebrated, but their first day back out to the Great Barrier Reef since Cyclone Debbie.
The two permanently moored pontoons, Reefworld and Heart located at Hardy Reef, both encountered 11 metre waves and strong winds during Tropical Cyclone Debbie in late March.
“We finally get to go back out to Hardy Reef pontoon so it’s a really exciting day for us,” Ms Carter said.
Cruise Whitsundays Managing Director, Nick Hortle, said “Reefworld was already planned for a refurbishment in July before the cyclone occurred”.
“This has been brought forward and maintenance will continue to enhance the existing structure.”
The refurbishment of Reefworld pontoon will continue over coming months.
Fish D’vine was also in attendance providing breakfast for a gold coin donation.
Ms Edge said since its inception, Eco Barge volunteers had collected more than 53,000kg of marine debris from the Whitsunday Islands alone.
“Over 5000 volunteers have put on the gloves to help us remove that marine debris,” she said.
For more information about Eco Barge Clean Seas visit www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au.
Source: Whitsunday Times.