More of a dreamer, explorer, philosopher and "migrant"...I have a different perspective on almost everything I experience. My passion for WRITING is the only thing I know for sure...in this ever-changing world.
Published September 11th 2014
Penguins and sunset 90 mins from Melbourne CBD
For most of us, penguins are exotic birds that remind us of a particular cartoon or an icy landscape somewhere far away from our comfort zones. For locals, SURE you have seen penguins behind a glass screen at the local aquarium, or a stuffed version at the local museum.
But there is something magical about the way in which I saw them the other day. Having spent half the day basking in the sunshine on the jagged coast of Phillip Island, we decided to check out this "local attraction" known quite simply as Penguin Parade. To the naive self, images came of penguins on leashes ( I know, even I am laughing) or something very controlled and supervised that shows off these docile creatures. Maybe just a few of them shown to the public, no different to a circus performance.
Moving from the car park, a building separated us from the shoreline. We stepped in and it was the staple attraction building with a nice cafe and ticket counter selling other paraphernalia. Towards the side, interesting penguin statues and facts were on the walls, and little viewing machines showed real-time videos of the burrows below, quite interactive and unique. I realized that the ground from there-on was strewn with burrows of all sizes, homes to the little penguins. When done with tickets, we stepped outside and it was quite chilly as the ocean breeze hit us. A footbridge led us to a nice viewing stand with good seating capacity and simple seating arrangement.
Local volunteers introduced the basics of the experience and urged us to sit calmly and wait for the arrival of groups of penguins. They would come out of the water and go towards their burrows at sunset. That is the gist of this experience.
The sun finally set and with the first hint of darkness, everyone was silently scanning the shoreline in anticipation. Funny how this energy in the air affected everyone equally and soon people began gesturing at the shore with their binoculars quivering.
Groups of penguins came out of the water seemingly from nowhere and waddled their way towards us. It was surreal and almost eerie. I wondered if they were used to such large groups of people staring at them from their viewpoints above their path. Flash photography affects the penguin's sensitive eyes and therefore was prohibited. But I think some of the best landscapes are better captured in the blink of an eye...this was certainly no exception. Soon we followed their paths back to the footbridge behind, this was when we were closest to them. Could almost reach out and touch them but we dared not frighten them.
So then, scores of penguins kept slowly moving toward their burrows and none of us wanted to budge till the last of them was safely out of sight and disappeared into the earth. It was very well conducted and safe for the little birds as well as for all gathered to see them.
Just like that, the experience ended and we re-entered the main
building. Just out of curiosity, I went back to the live camera of a burrow there and peered inside....sure enough, a little penguin was scratching its wings warily, having completed a long journey all day and relaxing finally in its little comfy home.