The locals knew it. The penguins knew it. We didnt know it.
The Catlinss had successfully sucked us in, as we fell victim to “its only 3 centimeters on the map” syndrome, which is an awesome disease if you’re on vacation. What started out on one end of the region (on nugget road in KaKa Point…seriously) , quickly drew us to the opposite side and a procession of penguins.
After this trip, Penguins quickly jumped up to my top 3 favorite animals, easily my favorite non-violent animal (I assure you that list is very short). Here is why:
- Unlike most of my generation, they aren’t scared to work a solid days work. Penguins jump into the water around 8 and are out at 5, almost like clock work. I respect that.
- They have some of the coolest animal swag ever. Their strut and yellow eyewear are nothing short of epic.
- They hang out together in a giant ancient petrified forrest. Thats awesome.
I was also surprised at how mobile they are, not scared to make some pretty big leaps, despite not really any arms to balance with. Although they had home field advantage the birds did better on the rocks than most of the tourists.
One last note, and this speaks more to the nature of New Zealand, but I was so impressed at the respect the tourists had for the animals. Everyone heeded the small signs and kept their distance. The audience, including the small children made about as much noise as a library, making the whole experience that much better. It was all a huge contrast to my first memory of penguins darting behind inch thick glass at the Portland Zoo. Im pretty sure we tried to break that glass and free the birds.
Sadly, these Yellow Eyed Penguins are the rarest on earth, I feel privilaged to have been able to hang out with them.