On Thursday 23rd September, the Thales Dock Operations Team at Garden Island Defence Precinct in Sydney, undertook the docking of Vessel Aratere; a roll-on/roll-off rail and vehicle ferry operated by KiwiRail in New Zealand.
As the vessel was being docked, rumours began to swirl that there was an unauthorised visitor in the dock; entering during the night whilst the caisson was out. The creature was obviously seeking ‘shell-ter’ and was no match for security.
During the setting down of Aratere onto the dock blocks, the guest was officially sighted by Thales Dock Operations Team members. It was confirmed, for the first time in recent history, there was a turtle in the dock.
As the water drained from the dock it became easy to spot the turtle, who appeared to be about 2 feet long. When the water was at a safe level, three Thales shipwrights, Lachlan Jarvis, Jake Krivohlavy and Sam Gullo slipped into their gumboots and waded into the last few inches of water to rescue the turtle. They were able to safely corner the turtle and, ensuring their hands remained clear of the turtle’s mouth, they were able to lift the creature from the water.
A quick photo with the visitor, and the honour of transporting and releasing the turtle was given to the youngest team member and Thales apprentice, Sam. The turtle was gently carried up the stairs, across the caisson and down the west return wall steps, where it was placed into the harbour before making a quick getaway.