Saturday, 7 December 2013

Penguin Island and meeting up with other bloggers

It's been a very busy couple of weeks....Where does the time go? Is it me or does everyone feel that November and December just fly by in the lead up to Christmas?

A few weeks ago I got to meet two bloggers for coffee at the iconic Indiana Tea House in Cottesloe beach. Iris was coming from Braunschweig, Germany to Perth to get married to her sweetheart of 19 years and I offered to meet up with her and Grace, another Perth blogger that I also follow but had yet to meet. We had an enjoyable couple of hours getting to know each other.
Grace, Iris and her partner Ingo
From one of my first posts you might remember that I lived in Braunschweig for almost 6 years in the Eighties, and both my kids were born there. It was while looking for photos from about Braunschweig, that I came upon Iris blog and I read that she had also spent some time living in Perth a few years ago.

Iris had traveled around Australia and been to Perth a few times already, but she had yet to visit Penguin Island, so I offered to take her and Ingo there the following week.
I picked them up at South Perth after my morning working shift and drove about 48km to Shoalwater, near Rockingham from where the ferry to Penguin Island departs.
Tickets cost $22 which entitles you to the short 10min ferry ride and entry to the Penguin Discovery Centre to see the penguin feeding.
The Penguin Island ferry awaits

People crossing to the island on foot

There is a sand bank from Shoalwater to Penguin Island and many people crossed the short distance on foot (about 700mt) but a few years ago some people were caught in the high tide when returning and died, so there is a sign saying not to cross, but I see some people still take chances.

We were in time to watch the last feed of the day at 2,30pm, and eagerly awaited while watching the antics of the penguins. Some just looked at us with curiosity, others swam rapidly around the pool....
The "Little Penguins", "Blue Penguins" or "Fairy Penguins" in this island are the smallest of the species with about 33cm height, and they are found in the southern coast of Australia and New Zealand.

The island has around 1200 penguins that go out to sea to fish before sunrise and when they return after sunset they hide in burrows in the island. They are very shy creatures or maybe just cautious.

There are 17 species of Penguins
Hello there - these two penguins look at the people watching them
These penguins playfully swim laps around the pool
There are about 12 penguins in the Discovery centre, which were rescued due to injury. Some of them when rehabilitated are returned to the wild, but they have discovered that others get so used to the feeding of "dead fish" that when once they introduced live fish to the pond, most were actually scared to go into the water, and the ones that went in, actually swam away from the fish. So they certainly wouldn't be good candidates to be released into the wild as they wouldn't know how to catch their food.

Little Penguins can live up to 20 years in captivity, but only around 8 years in the wild.
The island is closed from beginning of June to middle of September, when the penguins

The little cream "house" like structure to the right is where penguins hide. There are loads of these through the island

Aren't I so cute?
The island is a protected Marine park, with lots of wildlife, such as over 50 species of birds, sea lions, dolphins, pelicans.
Swimming and snorkeling are allowed, and there is a shaded picnic area with tables and benches close to a small beach ideal for children to swim, while the parents relax. There is no coffee shop in the island, so bring your own food or get a supply on land next to the ticketing office in Shoalwater.
There are other longer tours available, such as a Penguin and Sea Lion tour, dolphin tour, sea kayak tour, and tickets can be purchased at the Shoalwater counter.

The picnic area at Penguin Island (photo from net)
The island is covered by wooden boardwalks and you should not deviate from them to protect the environment. There are some fabulous lookouts too over the ocean and towards land.
The boardwalks and quiet beaches
At the end you can see the pier from where we catch the ferry

We saw a lot of recently born birds still with soft down, and the Pelicans were also breeding at the top of a cliff, with the access to them boarded up, so that they wouldn't be disturbed.

Leaving the island on the way back to Shoalwater

Iris and Ingo got married on the 30th November, here in Perth. I was also invited to be a witness to their commitment, but I was unable to go as I was flying to Adelaide to spend a few days with my husband, also to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary on the 30th November.

I'm back in Perth and trying to catch up with preparations for Christmas.
I baked a Paleo Christmas Cake yesterday, have done all the invitations for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, have prepared a menu and what I need to buy to cook it, and have managed to buy one single present! There won't be many presents to buy either, as I usually give some hand-made goodies to my friends and the presents are mostly for the kids.

My husband flew back to Perth yesterday, and we have a full weekend - Friday was the last "Cod Fish" dinner of the year at the Portuguese club. The club was packed to capacity with over 350 people. Today, Saturday is the Christmas Pageant in the city centre. It will be the second time I attend it and I loved it last year, but my husband hasn't been so I convinced him to accompany me. And on Sunday, we are attending the Christmas breakfast  given by the Clinic where I work, for us and partners.

Hope you are having a great weekend too.
Are you on target with all your Christmas shopping and preparations?


  1. How lovely it must have been for you to meet up with your new friends....
    I love penguin island! Have been there a couple of times and the first time I did the walk through both ways...what an experience, it was great :)
    Love your blog Sami
    Lots of love

  2. Looks like you had a super afternoon Sami, I really must try and get down there again haven't been for ages.

  3. Thanks Grace, I love Penguin Island, very relaxing.

  4. Thanks for visiting Mena, the first time I went there I also walked the whole island, this time we didn't have time to do much.

  5. What a lot going on, Sam :) Belated congrats for your 33rd! What a lovely place to take your friends. Wish I could have joined you.

  6. That looks like a really nice island. There are a few protected beaches that people can visit penguins at here in CT, but not an entire island!

  7. HI Joanne - when you visit I can take you there.
    Hi Lovely Light - it's been a while since you last posted, being a new Mom doesn't leave much personal time.

  8. That´s a lovely post, Sami :-)
    The world really is a small place after all! When you come to Europe see yourself invited to Braunschweig!

  9. Thanks Iris, one day I will visit Braunschweig again, I'm curious to see the changes over the years. Thanks


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