Australian Adventures

A description of my many Australian encounters ensues.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Phillip Island

This past Tuesday, Cheryl, Melissa and I went to Phillip Island. We met up with Cheryl's brother Ross and his family (from Christmas), and we all--including some of Judy's relatives--went to Woolamai Beach. It was an awesome beach.

This picture was meant to be of the flags, not of the people (I don't know who they are). The lifeguards on the beach move the flags along as the currents and tides change, to show people where it's safe to swim. Cheryl said that since they started using the flags, nobody that's been swimming between them has drowned. It's a great method.

Here are a few of the lifeguards. I think there were six. Anyway, it was pretty awesome. I didn't take as many pictures as I would normally, simply because Melissa and I (and Cheryl, too!) went "swimming" (that means wading in waist-deep and letting the waves push us around), and we also used a couple of boogie boards. It was really fun!

We went back to the house that Ross and Judy and their family rented for the week, and had dinner with them. There was a loud noise of birds chirping, and I managed to take a few photos of these Ghalas. They were doing acrobatics on the telephone wires--hanging upside-down, or simply by their beaks and whatnot. It was fun to watch them. (Click on the photo and it will get bigger.)

After we left Ross and Judy, we went to see the Penguine Parade.

Okay, this takes a little bit of explaining.

First off, I didn't take pictures of the penguins, because that wasn't allowed. (Otherwise, I would have.)

On this particular beach that we drove to, these Tiny Penguins (that's their official name, although everyone calls them Fairy Penguins) walk off of the beach at sunrise, and come out of the ocean at sunset (which is when we came to watch them). The penguins are blue-ish, and about 33 centimeters tall--that's just over one foot. They're really small.

Anyway, this became a huge tourist attraction when more attention was given to it. To help you understand, I shall say this: we made sure to leave Ross and Judy's at about 7, so that we would have a parking spot. The people that sat to the left of us were French, the people that sat to the right of us were Chinese, and the people that sat in front of us were Japanese. Others that we noticed were from Indonesia and other distant places. People literally come from all over the world, and watch these penguins come out of the ocean and waddle up to their burrows.

The penguins started coming up at around 9 o'clock, and we watched them until after 10. It was so cool! They started coming up in groups of 7 or 8 to start with, and towards the end they came out in groups of 15-20. It was awesome to watch them scurry up the beach, trying to avoid seagulls--the birds tried to scare them and make them run back into the ocean, with hopes that the penguins would up-chuck the fish that they caught so that the seagulls could get a free meal. I remember one group in particular that was comprised of, perhaps, 15 or so penguins. They made it halfway up the beach then got scared by a seagull, turned around and ran back for the water.

Yes. So anyway, this is us goofing off and wasting time while we waited for the penguins to come. Here are Melissa and Cheryl:

And here are Melissa and I. The beach that the penguins walked up is in the background.

The place was packed with people who came to see the penguins. It was kind of cool, but really noisy :P However, we did get to see some of the penguins up really closely. It was awesome!


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