Do you need some magic in your life? Go down to Phillip Island and watch the penguin parade. It’s magic.
I saw it a few weekends ago. It is an outdoor thing to do so the weather is something to factor in. We were lucky it was a mild windless night and I found the whole event up-lifting. Afterwards I felt lighter and happier. There was something about these tiny beings waddling up the beach, resting, preening and then waddling further on their silly little legs. They walk a long way.
Some turn around and walk back they way have come. Do they say to themselves?
“Mistake. I didn’t mean to come ashore tonight. I have something better to do out at sea” Whatever they say it is disconcerting to see their struggle to get up the beach and then see them going back to the sea.
There are so many it is hard to focus on a particular penguin and watch its progress. It is dark and there is nothing to distinguish one form the other, no name tag or red ribbon like a piece of luggage on a carousel that you watch come around and around. The back-tracking penguins may have come ashore at the wrong beach.
“Damn! This isn’t where I’m meant to be,” they say and with a big sigh, turn around and head back to the beach to try somewhere else.
The seats at the beach for watching are reached by a long boardwalk and after a number of these funny little birds have passed the seats and continue to head for home you can walk along beside them on the boardwalk. They are so close they are just out of reach. We gape at them and ooh and aah but they behave as if everything is normal and the goggling and exclaiming crowd are part of the everyday back drop. I suppose they are. The viewing happens every day at sunset. The program is well managed and the penguins seem to be contacted by some sort of radar system and told when to arrive. We were told 6.30 and there they were, heads bobbing up from the sea exactly at 6.30.
There is no photography allowed. These photo represent exactly what I saw and they are courtesy of Google and a post card I bought.
If you are on Phillip Island check out the pelicans. They are fed at midday everyday at San Remo which just before you cross the bridge to the island. The giant birds start arriving early for lunch and by noon there is a crowd.
Phillip Island is about 140kms from Melbourne about two hours drive.
If you are considering and visiting Phillip Island here are some of web sites that may be useful.