"It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry." Joe Moore.
I tried to find out who Joe Moore is. This is such a perfect quote to accompany these photos that I wanted to double check he wasn't in fact some sort of unpleasant person or penguin-hater, but my research didn't shed much light on him. But I love the quote too much to not include it.
Because this is exactly how I felt in the presence of hundreds, possibly thousands, of African penguins as they stood, lay and waddled around Boulders Beach in Simon's Town.
I had no idea that it all began in 1983 with a single breeding pair who popped up on a nearby beach to lay eggs and check out the area as a potential new home. Within just over 10 years, over 2000 penguins were calling Simon's Town home. Our friend, who grew up in Cape Town, told us stories about going to Boulders Beach and sunbathing on the sand, side-by-side with penguins. The increase in popularity of the penguins now means a specially built wooden walkway and viewing platforms keep humans at a distance, but the experience was still an inclusive one and the penguins certainly seemed indifferent to the teems of people flooding the boardwalks, cameras poised on outstretched arms.
While I could have stayed on that viewing platform for hours trying to determine which penguins were partners, which penguins were friends and which penguins were more in charge than others, the stench of penguin poo in the air and the crowding around me of eager tourists did have a best before date.
I'm not ashamed to say that Boulders Beach and its penguins were top of my "must-do in Cape Town list", and it didn't disappoint. Not for one penguin-watching second.
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Frances M. Thompson
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