It’s the Rookies’ final day after their six-week adventure but there’s no respite as the team wake at 5am for Carmen’s release back to the wild before they head to the park for their debut performance. But who will receive that prized “bridging” whistle before the big event?
For the last few weeks Aurea and Bailey have cared for Carmen, a fur seal cub rescued after a savage shark attack. Kept at a distance to ensure minimal human interaction and after plenty of professional health care from Dr Duan and his team, Carmen is now ready to be released back into the wild. It’s 5am and the entire rookie crew has been invited along for the special release. It’s a wonderful celebration on this, the Rookies’ last day at Coffs Harbour. A final briefing sees the team presented with their very own sparkly “bridging” whistles. It’s been a massive achievement but the Rookies’ journey is not quite over – there’s a show to put on and the audience is assembling. Once MCs Sophie and Dana are in full flow it’s not long before the audience is wowing at the amazing behaviours of Rocky, Athena, Jet and Zippy, not to mention the Rookies’ slick performance. But as the echoes of rapturous applause fade, thoughts turn to returning home and sad farewells to new friends, the park trainers …and the marine animals that the Rookies have grown to know and love. They’ve rescued and released turtles, seals and dolphins; they’ve learned important principals of conservation and saving the environment and they’ve had a once in a lifetime experience. Finally, with one more treat up their sleeves, Aaron and his crew give the Rookies a pool party experience that they’ll never forget. They’ve been 8 Rookies, they had 6 weeks to complete 1 mission. That was their Blue Zoo.