SHELLSHOCKED: The amazing story behind this turtle rescue
A BOWEN woman has received the surprise of her life when an unexpected visitor turned up at her front door, but what she didn't expect was the visitor be a large sea turtle.
Anne Smith was sitting at her Brisk Bay home yesterday when she heard a strange noise from the outside of her house.
Thinking it was a neighbour doing work to their house, she remained at her desk and continued her admin, but her two German Shepherds 'wouldn't let up' and continued barking.
When she heard a 'metal knocking noise' she decided to investigate and was shocked to see the flipper of a large sea turtle banging on her front gate.
"Honestly, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her,' Ms Smith said.
"There's this big turtle in front of me with its flipper banging on the front gate, I was so shocked."
Ms Smith, whose backyard backs on to the beach, said she wouldn't be surprised if she had seen it arrive at her backdoor but 'seeing it at the front meant it had made a considerable journey'.
"It's probably travelled about a kilometre to end up at my house, as all of our neighbours have enclosed backyards. We think it might have journeyed up the creek and then walked along the road to my front."
Once Ms Smith got over the shellshock of her hardbacked visitor, she quickly realised it was midday on a hot north Queensland day and it was in distress and 'overheating'.
She sprinkled water on the turtle, making sure to avoid letting it ingest the freshwater.
In a lucky twist of fate and fortune for the turtle, Ms Smith is also the Chair of the Bowen Burdekin Local Marine Advisory Committee which leads her to have friends in all of the right places.
She contacted, Tracey Bazzo, who had worked in turtle rehabilitation, who advised her to cover the animal in damp towels as she quickly rushed to Brisk Bay to assist in moving the turtle back to the ocean.
"I think Tracey thought I had been day-drinking when I called her to say there was a turtle knocking on my front door," Mrs Smith joked.
"It let me get really close and brush its head and it started to calm down after that."
Seeing the commotion, neighbours Cheryl and Frank brought their Polaris all-terrain vehicle to assist with moving the marine creature.
"Tracey and her friend Chris arrived with a harness and then we had the interesting experience of trying to lift and load it into the Polaris," Ms Smith said.
"It wasn't too happy to be lifted up and lost the calm and tried to give Tracey a bite or two. We got her in the back though."
"Once we got it into the water I swear you would have never seen a happier turtle.
"She dipped her head a few times to clean her eyes and swum away."
Ms Smith said she didn't know why the turtle had decided to knock on her front door, but it 'was exhilarating'.
She said the turtle would have died without assistance and as much as she 'grew a bond' with her new friend, she is hopeful she won't see her again.
"It's amazing to see what we can do as a community when we band together," she said.
"This beautiful creature didn't stand a chance otherwise, but now it can go off and lay eggs and hatch other amazing turtles."