My stomach was full and I was ready to crawl into bed. But it was not to be I knew. I surfaced breathless after my 1000th dive and saw Paula swimming next to me. She seemed beat as well. The water today had felt heavy on the body, not refreshing and cool as it did at this time of the year. I’m sure it was at least 2 degrees above normal. “Time to make the dash home”, she said as I looked up at the darkening skies. The sky was a deep dark blue, with the last rays of the sun showing us the cloud pattern – today it looked like a giant fluffy pillow. Oh how I longed for my bed. We waded the last mile together. Mikhail and Mouryi joined us too. They’d just relocated to Australia, citing cold weather conditions back home. Wonder what they thought of these waters? Today was their first day out with the lot. The twins never seemed to tire of each other. Funny that I couldn’t stand my sister for more than a minute.
As our feet touched the sandy ground, my trained mind dispelled all thought. We silently flattened our stomachs and crawled forward in the darkness. The riskiest part of the day with fatal consequences was upon us. We had our tasks cut out. I looked up at the sky peering into the darkness trying to spot any movement at all. They usually attacked from above. Mikhail & Mouryi looked forward and Paula took up the right flank as we slowly proceeded one silent step at a time. ” Make a dash for it now”! I gave the command and we scampered forward madly blindly.
Suddenly out of the darkness, came a loud cheer and the front line froze. I barged right into Mouryi and she almost screamed as she whispered, ” RETREAT’, or was that possible at all. She was already retreating with Mikhail walking backwards, and our line fell back into the water. A hasty conference ensued, and having understood what had happened, exasperated and at the end of my patience, I pushed out of the water, wading first and leading charge. It seemed like suicide to the twins. Another cheer went up – but this time I held firm onto Mikhail. After all, it was his first day here. It was a tough life here as a penguin. Forget the kites, Eagles, dogs and other predators, we had a human audience lined up at the beach every night to watch us go home – apparently we were a sight to watch! ‘Damn these humans, making exhibits of us’!, I muttered as I marched home crossing the beach!
Written on behalf of the penguins of Phillip Island, Australia where humans line up everyday to watch them go home! Wonder if the Penguins enjoy it or grudge us?