Saturday, February 18, 2006

Australia ~ The Penguin Parade

Gregg and I had read up on the Penguin Parade, and have seen several comments in various locations that put this event down to a tourist attraction that can easily be missed. We both disagree.

For one thing, the difference between the $17 admission and a $27 dollar admission can take you from stadium seating for 2,000 to a smaller boardwalk seating for 150. And if you get in early you can be within about 3' of the penguins as they walk by. True, there are a lot of other people there with you. And it's also true that you're in the cage, so to speak. It's almost like the penguins are visiting the people zoo. But there's a very good reason for that. Since Phillip Island became populated with people, and status of the little penguins have been documented, the number of locations where penguin colonies come ashore have decreased from 20 to 1, and another source says that the number of colonies have decreased from 10 to 1. Either statistic indicates that contact with humans has been been very dangerous for the little penguins. So I think it's quite all right that in this case the penguin has the right to come and go, and the people are kept behind a rope.

And it really is a remarkable experience to see the waves of little black and white bodies coming in from the ocean. To hear the chicks on the hilside start chirping when their parent is coming near. And to see up close the interplay between the penguins ... all of their sounds and behaviors. It was well worth the $27 each. Although, I'd recommend bringing a blanket ... it gets a bit windy while you're securing your seat and then waiting for an hour for the penguins to show up.

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