Ever since seeing the March of the Penguins and Happy Feet, I have dreamt of travelling to some exotic and cold location to observe these gorgeous, majestic creatures in action. The truth is, I wouldn't have had to travel far. Phillip Island, home to the Fairy Penguin, is only a few short hours drive away. Yet, it has never been on my way to anywhere and the trip has never been prioritised.
Imagine my delight, when one hot Summer's Day in early January this year, I received a text message from my new neighbour Al.
"We're short of penguin counters tonight and I thought it would be right up your alley. x"
Attached was a link to the Middle Island Marrema Project that in the name of protecting our local population of Little Penguins, had placed guardian dogs on the island. Every month the council organise a group of volunteers to wade across to the island, sit until the sun goes down and then begin counting the penguins as they come in from the ocean to sleep for the night. One hour counts down from the first penguin sighting.
What a fantastic opportunity, I thought as I enlisted the help of my cousin Fi. It was right up her alley too. Middle island is literally a 15 minute walk from my house! My own penguin parade in my very own backyard.
We waded across to the island in waist deep water (it was neck deep on the way back!), dried off, changed clothes and sat in pairs, scattered all over the island in silence.
Fi and I counted 8 penguins that night, but there were 99 in total.
It was a dream come true watching them behave in such humanistic ways - waiting for one another, pairing off, relaxing and singing after a hard day at work.
One of the most amazing experiences of my forty years, I felt truly blessed to be handed such an opportunity. Life sure is beautiful.
- I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.