Meet Chompa, the olive ridley.

Image: Charles Darwin University

There’s nothing quite like the adorable sound of turtles flapping their way back into the sea. 

Following months of rehabilitation, a green sea turtle called Gretchen, and an olive ridley named Chompa, were released to back into the sea. Swim free, turtle friends. Swim free.

Their glorious release happened in Dundee on Australia’s Northern Territory Thursday morning. Gretchen and Chompa had been in the care of Charles Darwin University’s turtle rehabilitation facility, as both suffered ailments that required long-term care.

Gretchen was found by fishermen three months ago, was suffering from floating gas syndrome, according to ABC News. It meant she was left exposed to the elements and couldn’t dive down and look for food.

“She was floating and unable to dive due to floating gas syndrome; her shell was covered in barnacles, including burrowing barnacles that had drilled into her shell and suffered from a secondary infection to her neck that caused a lump,” CDU Head of Horticulture, Scott McDonald, said in a statement.

As for Chompa, the problems stemmed from birth. It was the smallest of nine turtles who struggled to make it out of their nest because plant roots had trapped them.

The bale of turtles was rescued by staff and volunteers from conservation group Aus Turtle last June, then nursed to health until they could be released. Chompa is the last of the litter to be released.

Part of Chompa’s rehabilitation process included teaching it to swim and dive, to ensure that it survives in the wild. 

As you can imagine, it’s easy to get attached to these little guys while caring for them. “Our staff form such strong bonds with turtles that, while it’s always a happy moment to see them return to the wild, it can also be hard to say goodbye,” McDonald said.

May your days be full of algae and fun, little turtles. 



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