Bondi vet works timely magic
IT COULDN'T have been better if it was scripted.
A dying turtle floating in Tea Tree Bay was 30m from swimmers in the 3.8km Noosa Ultimate Sports Fest ocean swim when Noosa Heads surf club IRB driver Richard Webber plucked it from the water and brought it to shore.
And who was waiting? Bondi vet Dr Chris Brown.
"We were doing water safety for the swim when we noticed a turtle," Mr Webber said. "We knew something was wrong - we looked at it and realised it wasn't moving. We took it back in the boat, I thought it was dead."
The Bondi vet was minutes away from diving into the Swim Noosa 2km ocean race when he was called upon to help the turtle, which was favouring a front flipper with a lesion.
"I always seem to miraculously find work to do," Dr Brown said.
USM Events spokeswoman Courtney Akrigg said spectators were treated to a spontaneous close-up of Dr Brown in action.
"Just before his race started he was on the shore, putting his veterinary skills into action," she said.
"He was able to wrap the turtle up into a towel and keep it warm before it was taken to Australia Zoo to be assessed and looked after."
Mr Webber said once Dr Brown knew the turtle was in safe hands he said, "We have to get back to Tea Tree for our swim."
He jumped into the IRB with Mr Webber, who took him back to start the race.
Dr Brown said swimming in Noosa was a welcome change to the nippy temperatures of Bondi.
"Open-water swimming gives me a lot of time to think," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed the event last year and am glad to be back. It is such a beautiful setting here in Noosa and what a perfect day for the swim events."
Having competed in two events, Dr Brown hopes to return to Noosa next year to make it a hat-trick.