I volunteer at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center. We take in sick and injured turtles that the public find around The Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, since cyclone Yasi hit our coastline, we have been inundated at the center.
Yasi took a lot from we humans, but it took a lot more from our wildlife.
The sand Yasi dumped covered much of the vast sea grass beds that we have here in Cairns.
So much so that the grazing Dugongs have moved north and the turtles are the most obvious critters feeling the pinch.
Out on the reef for work, I was snorkeling around and something in my peripheral caught my attention. I realized in the moment I saw him that it had probably been months since I had seen a healthy turtle.
He was beautiful. My boss quickly signaled, smiling as he took the camera from me (and was kind enough to snap this shot for me).
I swam with him. We soared over the reef like underwater birds. Flapping for altitude, ducking to dive.
In that moment, I was utterly free, and my heart sang for days.