A THONG of people gazed upon Adele the hawksbill sea turtle as she began her journey back to the ocean from Pippi beach on Thursday.

Water lapped at their knees as the large crowd parted to let Australian Seabird Rescue volunteer Livi Powell carry Adele to freedom.

Adele smelt the sea air and upon realising where she was, started flapping her flippers with joy. Once in the water she glided with speed and disappeared in the surf.

General Manager Kathrina Southwell told the crowd that the reason they were releasing Adele in Yamba was because there weren't any shark nets.

"Because this community is extremely lucky that you don't have shark nets on your beaches, in Ballina we can't release our turtles anymore because all our beaches have shark nets.

"The turtles are getting caught in the nets and it feels like the work that we do is a waste of time."

Adele spent the last 16 weeks in the Australian Seabird Rescue hospital recovering from a very large neck wound.

A spokesperson from Australian Seabird Rescue said the wound may have been caused from a fishing hook or boat propeller.

The Australia Seabird Rescue is also trying to raise money to buy a satellite tracker for Dolly the Hawksbill sea turtle who is one of the largest ever sighted on the East Coast of Australia.

You can donate HERE