Philips Island, Winery and the Penguin Parade

Trip Start Oct 04, 2006
Trip End Mar 06, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, December 4, 2006

We went on a day tour to Philips Island to primarily see the Penguin Parade which is the mass movement of Fairy Penguins from the ocean to their homes on the island.  They are about 30cm in height.  There are many thousands in the ocean and on any given night about 600 or so will come to the island to set up or maintain nests.  This happens from just after sunset and they return just before sunrise.  They come to the beach in groups of 10 to 20 and most of them are very scared and timid (it may have something to do with about 400 people watching them from bleachers!)  After a few attempts to start crossing the beach by teetering forward and then running like a mad penguin to dash into the water over and over, a few get brave and start waddling like mad across the beach into the grasses.  A few of the more scared ones continue the dive and horizontal run back to the water, look back and realize that this is the real time to cross.  They then seem even more scared, realize what the crap have they gone back to the sea for and attempt to catch up to their main group.  It is quite humorous and even a bit frustrating.  Once they reach the grasses, they make grunting noises while fighting for territory.  It is quite fascinating.  All the while, people are watching them and once a few penguins have reached the grasses, they follow along the boardwalks seeing where they are headed.  Most of the people were Chinese and they headed off to the boardwalks after the first few penguins made it over.  We weren't as impatient and we waited for at least 10 groups of penguins made it across.  It was also very cold, about 5 to 8 degrees celsius.  It was very enjoyable and as a note, we were not allowed to take photographs.
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