Penguins R Us

So… yesterday we drove out from Melbourne to Nobbie’s Hole (Stop sniggering in the back row). The weather was a little changeable but the views were on the money.

Nobbie’s Hole is part of a nature reserve, rammed full of wildlife including Wallabies, in the raw, au naturel. Lots of them… doing Wallaby stuff. This was good news, because marsupials have been in short supply since we arrived in Australia. There are 66 million Kangaroos…. Somewhere. But we have only seen the occasional random Kangaroo in the distance. Ask an Aussie where they are and they’ll tell you a place to go, and a time of day. The next person you talk to will tell you that this was incorrect and to see Kangaroos you actually need to go somewhere else at such and such a time. They’re all wrong. Nobody knows where the bloody things are. To see them you’re either lucky or you’re not. So instead, we enjoyed a surfeit of Wallabies.

However, enough about the Wallabies. It was now time for the main event, the Heavyweight World Championship of wildlife encounters, and the things that I have been looking forward to since we arrived here… The Phillip Island Penguin Parade!

They’re about a foot tall, dark blue not black, and every evening about 2,500 of them emerge from the ocean, clamber over the rocks and beach and scuttle off back into the hills behind the beach to sleep in their burrows. By the time that this happens, they have been out in the ocean fishing and frolicking for 3 – 4 days so they are exhausted and ready for a good kip and a duvet day. You can see this quite clearly – they look tired and stop for a rest and a bit of a lie down every 100 yards (some live as much as 2Km inland).

The problem (for bloggers) is that taking photos, even on phones is absolutely banned – both flash and the light from mobile phones affects penguin night vision and upsets them. This means that the photos below are stock photos from their website, but the YouTube video gives a very good idea of what happens.

I have to say that I loved this. Penguins are fabulous creatures and I’m very fond of them. Getting to watch 2,500 animals dressed as Head Waiters is proof that God has a sense of humour. As a side benefit, I now know that the phrase “No Photos or Mobile Phones” when translated into some languages actually means “Take as many sneaky photos as you want and ignore all instructions to the contrary”. People can sometimes make you want to spend more time with animals… weary sigh.

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