White-bellied sea eagle released from Odalisque: “One of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.”
In a special collaboration between the Raptor & Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania and Tasmanian Boat Charters, a white-bellied sea eagle was released back into the wild from the top deck of our cruise vessel, the Odalisque. On Saturday 12th August, the Odalisque travelled to a secret location in the D’Entrecasteux channel where this magnificent bird of prey was released back into the wild after 12 months rehabilitation with Craig Webb at the Raptor Refuge. The bird’s wings were damaged after flying into power lines in Tasmania’s South. The Raptor Release Cruise was a fantastic day for all involved and a great success for all, including our VIP guest, the sea eagle, who now flies free! Tasmanian Boat Charters raised a massive $2,200 for the Raptor Refuge. We’re thrilled to be able to supported the amazing efforts of Craig Webb & his team in their rehabilitation work. Thank you to everyone involved!
Guests lucky enough to be on board for this cruise were picked up from Elizabeth St Pier in Hobart and then we traveled to Kettering to pick up our very special cargo, the sea eagle. The eagle was kept safe in a plastic tube up until we reached the appropriate release site. During our cruise to the release site, there was some excitement as we saw another white-bellied sea eagle harassing another bird for a fish that it had caught. The diving and swooping was quite a spectacle, and a rare & exciting sight for many. Then when we arrived at the originally planned release site, we spotted yet another sea eagle perched in one of the trees. This unfortunately meant that we had to find another site to release our eagle at. Great to see so many eagles about, but at this time of year eagles are particularly territorial. If we had a released our bird in this location she would have quickly been attacked by this wild eagle, which would not have been a good outcome. You’ll hear Craig from the Raptor Refuge on the video below doing a last minute check for wild sea eagles before our bird is released.
Our bird took a little while to spread her wings. As you’ll see, she takes a bit of encouragement from Craig to open her wings, which span approximately 2 metres across. Watching her take flight was just incredible. She was launched off the top deck, flying directly over guests standing underneath, into the open space of the surrounding seas. From her, she flew a few hundred metres to land in the safety of a dead tree, where she could take in her new environment.
“It was an incredibly moving experience for me. One of the greatest experiences I have ever had.” said one guest.
So what happens to the eagle now? “It will very quickly adapt to the wildness of this territory. This is an area where it was originally found, so it will be familiar with this country” said our on board Wildlife Expert Peter Mooney.
Watch this video to see the full release from start to finish!
The fantastic photos taken on the day were taken by Mick Brown. Thank you Mick!