Saturday, April 3, 2010

Learning about the penguins.

A few weeks ago our co-op group went on an outing to SANCOB in Tableview. SANCOB is a recovery sanctuary for sea birds. It is mostly known for cleaning and rehabilitating penguins which are caught in oil slicks from shipwrecked oil tankers.

We left in convoy and had our own personal guide for the journey to SANCOB.
Follow that penguin!

My, what big wings you have Mr.Albatross!

At SANCOB we were met by Mr.B the passionate, penguin "professor". He has a delightful, enthusiastic way of lecturing the children that had them all waiting in anticipation for the next piece of info about his beloved penguins. The little education room is beautifully painted to look like a scene from the natural habitats of the sea birds from our area. There are many models of real birds in the room, placed in their habitat. The most impressive of which was the albatross-what a BIG bird! Did you know that the albatross can fly and sleep at the same time? That was my little bit of info I learnt from Mr. B.

feeding the African Penguin

A moulting Rock Hopper

He also introduced us to two live birds. The precious little Rock Hopper and the African Penguin (previously known as the Jackass Penguin-because of the braying donkey sound it makes. It's name was changed as there are several species in South America which also produce this braying sound.)
We watched as the penguins were fed their daily vitamins in a fish fed to them by Mr.B. He then explained why the penguin seemed to be loosing it's feathers-it was moulting-which is usually the time when they don't eat much. That explains why it took some convincing to eat!

even our tour guide enjoyed the talk

After we had listened carefully we were rewarded with the opportunity to stroke the penguin. So soft!

...and he got to meet the penguins!

oh, he's so soft!

And then it was time for the hard working little penguins (who had done three tour groups that day) to go for a well deserved refreshing swim. And with a flap of his flippers it was time to say good-bye. We all left, well informed about this little creature who had waddled into our hearts.

Because we had been to SANCOB I thought it would be appropriate to take my children to Boulders Beach. This is a sheltered cove just outside of Simon's Town-quite appropriately it fitted into our exploring of Simon's Town "theme".

Here we got to see the penguins in their natural habitat as they huddled on the rocks,

waddled along the beach....

and slept in the sun.

And after we had observed them for a while it was time for us to have some fun in the sun....

My children had a blast! They splashed in the cool waters, explored the rock pools....

and wrote in the sand.

They even had a chance to make new friends! 

Jenna is definitely our social butterfly who loves to make new friends. Michael just can't miss out on anything his sister is doing and so is learning from her example of being a gentle, kind, hearted friend (well, most of the time ;-). Isn't it wonderful how the Lord can use even the smallest of these to teach us how to overcome and to love?