Penguins and ostriches, oh my!

Trip Start Jan 05, 2009
Trip End Mar 12, 2009

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Saturday, February 21, 2009

i was ready to work with birds again and got my choice of which pen to work in when i arrived today. of course, i picked the penguins and so much has changed in 5 days! 001 is starting to show his adult feathers and had a fabulous mohawk. he's still listing to one side due to his bad foot but at least he's not as scruffy any more. i'm so excited to see that 485 is done with his molt. he is the cleanest and brightest penguin on site!

we had 3 penguins come through our doors and they are feisty as ever. 028 has bites on his face so it's understandable that he doesn't want to be handled but he didn't need to try and bite me! i wasn't responsible for his face issues. he is a candidate for handling with a towel and that worked quite well. there are a few penguins who i won't pick up without a towel. this doesn't mean that they don't manage to nip me though. 007 got my right forearm through my arm guard. i will have a nice bruise in the making to rival the one she gave me on my right calf. oh and 005 pecked my left knee cap. that hurt like crazy! despite all of this insanity in the pen, it was a great day. working on the weekend has its perks since it's usually quiet and relaxed around the hospital. this meant that i could sneak into home pen to visit Rocky the Rockhopper but he was indifferent. he got in the pool as soon as i came near. that hurt :-)

yesterday i went on the Peninsula tour and we had amazing weather for our grand adventure. i was really pleased since the blue water makes all the difference in my scenery photos. plus, i didn't want too much wind as we approached the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. it's notorious for being brisk and incredibly breezy but we were lucky.

our day started out by driving through Green Point, Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay. i can't get over how beautiful this part of Cape Town is! our first official stop was in Hout Bay which is incredibly touristy and smelled of fish from the processing plant. yummy! it's also the home of the Duiker's Island boat trips. we went to see the colony of cape fur seals that hang out pretty close to shore. our boat was in very shallow water and there was a smorgasbord of seals to be seen. they were jumping and playing and it made me wish i could swim like that. the boat trip was less than an hour and we were back in port before we knew it!

Chapman's Peak Drive was next and is unfortunately closed about halfway down the road due to rock slides. the metal netting reminded me of Devil's Slide and the view made me think of California, specifically Big Sur. i was wishing that we could have packed a picnic and enjoyed it with Hout Bay and the mountains in full view. it was beautiful. the closing of Chapman's Peak causes a huge detour and it took us longer to get to Simon's Town than we expected. we were all dying of hunger when we arrived but i managed to buy the most ridiculous ostrich key chain on my way to the restaurant. i love it! sorry, i digress... i was supposed to spend my last two days in SA in Cape Town but have since booked a place in Simon's Town to be near the water and do some kayaking. now that i have been there, i'm really pleased with my decision. the town was so vibrant, admittedly it was also touristy, but it had a good feel to it. plus, you can walk to Boulders Beach and see the penguins in their natural habitat. does it get much better than that? they had me laughing out loud (thankfully, i wasn't the only one) and i couldn't get over how busy the colony was. the birds were really lean and it made me realize that our SANCCOB birds are well fed to say the least! our guide had to come and peel me away from the penguins so we could continue to Cape Point. i can go back for the crazy low price of 30 Rand though - sweet!

from what i hear, some Capetonians have never been to Cape Point and that's a real shame. it is such a large, lush and beautiful park.
we didn't see any zebra but we did catch 3 ostrich by the ocean as we left. it seemed so out of place...

because we were running late, we made a whirlwind tour of the Cape Point Lighthouse. the views of False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean were fantastic in the late day sun and like i said, there wasn't much wind. for the work it took to get up there, i would have liked to spend more time but we also wanted to walk the trail to the Cape of Good Hope. so much to do, so little time.
 i'd been told to bring my hiking boots for this part of the journey and i was really pleased with that advice as there were some parts where i would have fallen flat on my face due to the terrain and poorly spaced (and narrow) steps. this is not letigious America folks and some parts of the trail were true knee killers and a bit dodgy from a saftey standpoint. the view from the "south western most point in Africa" was well worth it though. i can't think of a better place to have sundowners but the sun is currently setting after the park closes - darn it!

the ride home was pretty quiet. i dozed through my new Parlotones CD (which i quite like) but managed to rally to head out to Long Street in the evening. these late nights are going to break me but it's been so fun to get out and go dancing with lady friends.

i'm off to the Garden Route tomorrow. it will be so nice to have my own room and have someone drive me around to some cool places. i could get used to this! stay tuned for stories and pics when i get back, unless i can find time to hit an internet cafe along the way.
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Where I stayed
Aviva House


fifoota on

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Hi Tera

Love this blog - really wish I was there with you. Sounds fantastich and those are some amazing photos. I especially like the one with the emu. Hilarious! Very happy to hear you sound like you are having so much fun. Sally and I went to Carnaval in Brisbane last night and I had her dancing down the street. Was amazing! She is a very fun lady and despite her being up from 1am our time (having just flown over from New Zealand early in the morning) we even went to have cocktails after and were out til midnight (well it was her birthday after all!). Wish you could have been here to party with us!

All the best dear. Looking forward to the Garden Route blog update.


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