[The Crew: Calling All Units]TOPICS: Galapagos tortoise arrives at Australian Reptile Park


  Hugo and Estrella: The tortoise love story takes its time/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/b02012a0-b51e-476c-a973-ed62f4ee5b25.png/r6_0_1252_704_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg”We have always wanted to get Hugo a girlfriend to replace the ‘special’ rock he has in his enclosure.”news, local-news, 2021-06-25T10:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6260896231001https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6260896231001

  AUSTRALIAN Border Force were the first ones to let the cat out of the bag.

  The federal body shared a tidbit with its followers this week about the arrival of Estrella, who they said was the first Galapagos tortoise to arrive on Australian shores in 40 years. The German expat, they said, was headed to meet somebody called Hugo at a NSW wildlife park.

  Hey, we thought. We know that guy.

  The Hugo in question is another member of that endangered species who hangs out at the Australian Reptile Park. It turns out Estrella has defied the global pandemic to travel for love.

  <img class="story-image__image"




  alt=”Hi, there: Estrella with Daniel Rumsey. Picture: Australian Reptile Park”

  title=”Hi, there: Estrella with Daniel Rumsey. Picture: Australian Reptile Park”




  Hi, there: Estrella with Daniel Rumsey. Picture: Australian Reptile Park

  Braving her quarantine for the next three months, Estrella hails from Zoo Rostock in Germany. Her trip to Australia stems from a plea from Hugo’s keepers in 2019 to find him some romance by, ahem, listing him on Tinder. At least it’s working for someone.

  More from the Australian Reptile Park: ‘Notorious’ new additions

  COVID-19 complications pushed back Estrella’s planned arrival from last year to this month, but the scene has been set; keepers placed a photo of her in Hugo’s enclosure, and have been washing him every day ahead of their first meeting in person. Grooming is important, after all.

  Of course, the pair have never met in person. Estrella arrived at the Central Coast wildlife park on Wednesday evening, where she will serve out her mandatory quarantine. The hot date is set for September.

  Like any proud parent, Australian Reptile Park head of reptiles Daniel Rumsey couldn’t help embarrassing big Hugo in front of his new arrival.

  ”We have always wanted to get Hugo a girlfriend to replace the ‘special’ rock he has in his enclosure,” he said.

  <img class="story-image__image"




  alt=”ROMEO: Hopes are high Estrella will make Hugo’s “special rock” a thing of the past.”

  title=”ROMEO: Hopes are high Estrella will make Hugo’s “special rock” a thing of the past.”




  ROMEO: Hopes are high Estrella will make Hugo’s “special rock” a thing of the past.

  ”He’s got a bit of an extra bounce in his step now and we’re all counting down the days until the lovers can meet. Who knows, maybe within the next few years we will have some baby Galapagos tortoises.”

  It’s been a while. Hugo arrived on the Central Coast as an infant in 1963, enjoying his middle age at the age of 70. For those trying to work out if he’s punching above his weight, that weight is 181.6 kilograms.

  Good on him for hanging in there these past few decades. You know what they say; true love waits.

  EVERYBODY has that one teacher they remember, but did yours ever go in to bat for you with the tooth fairy? Principal at Muswellbrook’s St James Primary School Aaron Moon has thrown his support behind a student, penning and posting a letter calling on the dental deity to cough up the funds after a head bump dislodged the tooth.

  ”I do hope you will accept this letter as proof of her lost tooth and still look after her ($$),” Mr Moon implored.

  One parent said he had gone “above and beyond” with the effort, and confirmed that the tooth fairy was swayed by his impassioned advocacy to turn up with “the usual $1 payment”. Justice at last.

  <img class="story-image__image"




  alt=”CONNECTIONS: A WiFi case being delivered to a ship in Newcastle yesterday.”

  title=”CONNECTIONS: A WiFi case being delivered to a ship in Newcastle yesterday.”




  CONNECTIONS: A WiFi case being delivered to a ship in Newcastle yesterday.

  BEFORE coronavirus, seafarers visiting the Port of Newcastle were able to leave their ships for a few hours at a time while their ships loaded or discharged their cargoes.

  COVID, however, has put an end to that. Robert Coombs, the former Swansea MP who chairs the waterfront charity Seafarer Connect, says COVID restrictions have made seafarers in an already hard industry “prisoners on their own ships”.

  With today, June 25, being International Day of the Seafarer, it’s an appropriate time for Seafarer Connect to announce the signing of a new contract with the Port of Newcastle for five portable wi-fi units, which will be available to the crew of visiting vessels for the next three years. Mr Coombs says Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) which operates one of the two Kooragang Island coal terminals, also has a couple of units, meaning the port is close to providing the service to every visiting commercial vessel and its crew.

  ”With crews unable to leave their ships to buy phone cards and with no phone access at sea, this service is often the only way these people can contact their families, to talk to the outside world,” Mr Coombs said.

  Philipp Bourquin from the port said “wi-fi is something many of us take for granted”, while NCIG’s John Kite said it was great to help “keep people a bit closer to home” through video calls to family.


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