Penguin parade. Ventnor Phillip Island.

I can believe it but some of the feed back I’ve received in the last few days has suggested I’m moaning.

So this blog will be as positive as I can make it without the aid of drugs.

‘Experience the magic procession of the worlds smallest penguins’ the blurb says.

‘Watch them as they waddle up the beach to their burrows in the sand dunes’.

These little fellows who are no more than 8 inches tall spent the day feeding out in the ocean and at night, when it gets dark they return to their nesting grounds to tend their chicks, swap places with partners and I assume, have a bit of R&R.

So we arrived at the Visitor centre about 1930 as advised, parked up (should have checked which parking area I left the car in) paid and went inside. All happy so far?

It was at this point we were told the Penguin’s wouldn’t be arriving until 2100hrs so we had a bit of a wait. We got ourselves some teas and coffees ( well I ordered tea but got hot milk, but hey, whose complaining) and sat down in the restaurant, to people watch.

This was interesting as we were the only European faces in the place apart from the kitchen staff. Everyone else was Asian or Indian.

Outside were a fleet of coaches which are presumably taking people from across the world on guided tour’s of Australia and watching thousands of midget Penguins waddle across the beach is a’Must do event’.

There was a large group of Indians in full Sari mode who were sat down to a nice plate of Burger and chips followed by a Cornetto.

This didn’t seem to go down to well as most of the chips were left on their plates. One or two of the gentlemen polished off the burger but a lot of them emptied the burger into the bin and took the bun to feed to the Seagulls who are a perishing nuisance now that they know food is about.

The Cornetto must have been  a novelty too as one elderly man tried to eat it wrapper and all and another lady used the carton as an ear trumpet.

See how light and jolly this is?

If I were in Moan Mode I might have suggested this ‘Typical Australian Meal’ was in appropriate for a group of elderly Indian people, but no.

Shortly before we were due to walk down the board walk to the sea shore I popped into the loo.

Luckily I was just in time to see the Chinese world

Shortly before we were due to walk down the board walk to the sea shore I popped into the loo.

Luckily, i was just in time to see the Chinese world ‘snot blowing Champion’ in action. This guy mistook the waste paper bin for a spittoon and cleared his nostril from about 4 yards. I stood in awe with my jaw hanging loose and my flies undone, but just to prove this was no flook, he did the other nostril too.

At this point I didn’t know whether to fall on the floor laughing or leg it into the loo and heave.

I recounted this escapade to Jaki as we were walking down the board walk and blow me down if another Chinese Gentleman didn’t step up to the plate and put on an actual demonstration, right in front of us. Unfortunately there was no convenient bin available so he let fly over the barrier onto the poor unsuspecting Penguin chicks.

Once we got to the viewing area there were a few issues that may have made lesser men complain, like the fact that the beach was about 100 yards away and these little fellas are camouflaged to avoid predators and they are only about 8 inches tall, so a bit hard to see without the aid of a ‘Hubble’ sized telescope. Also, there was another 30 minutes yet till it got dark and it was bloody freezing, so we sang a few camp fire songs, drank egg nog and wished our fellow guests well.

Eventually the first little fellow rocked up on the beach, took one look at what was waiting for him and legged it back into the water.

We didn’t have to wait much longer till small groups of 10-20 Penguins congregated like a gang of unruly youths before the bravest one made a dash for the dunes, followed by his gang.

This was mildly amusing and we watched several groups demonstrate the same behaviour before realising that the chicks were now coming out of hiding all around us and calling to the parents to encourage them to leave the safety of the sea and make the dash home.

This brought out the worst in the crowd who despite being asked to stay still and quiet ran around like headless chickens trying to get the best view. Arms were dangled over the fences to try and touch the cute little fellows, cameras suddenly appeared and one lady produced a flash light which she shone into the eyes of the chicks till a very grump Jaki reminded her that was Inappropriate!

Once the adults were ashore, they had to find their way up the steep slope to their own burrows, some of which were  hundreds of metres away. As they did so hoards of tourist followed their every move.

At about ten o’clock we’d seen enough waddling Penguins to fill a suitcase and headed out to the car park to search for the car.

Was this worth doing?

It depends how much you like Penguins and whether this type of exhibit, where wild animals are prostituted for the entertainment of the masses,is deemed acceptable. They made great play about all the money raised being reinvested into protecting local wild life, but I’m not sure I was comfortable with it.

Now is that moaning?


4 thoughts on “Penguin parade. Ventnor Phillip Island.

  1. Hi Bill
    I for one really enjoy your lkaconic, wry style and its good to know as an official wrinkly you have still maintained your sense of humour.
    I am fascinated by the blog and really enjoy hearing about the real Australia.
    Keep on regardless and if you need me to pop over for a couple of weeks to take some phots, send the Ticket and stipend to my home address LoL.

  2. Bill Shakespeare
    In this beautiful British weather, and trying to support Spurs and the English Cricket Team, your moaning blog is the only thing that cheers me up. Keep it coming.
    Perhaps you could arrange a day trip across to Antarctica.

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