Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Penguins. Finally.

Yesterday I packed up all my stuff in my flat in Melbourne - for the 37th time - and finally moved out. Yesterday I worked up the courage to finally call work and tell them I was quitting.
Yesterday I was grateful to have a friend, who I've known for less than 2 months, to let me move onto his couch at the simple request through a text message.
Yesterday I had mild anxiety attacks constantly reminding me of the future unknown, of a limited time frame left in Australia, of financial shortcomings, that were only calmed through the reassurance that I, as a lone traveler, could selfishly do whatever I wanted (within the above mentioned limitations).
Yesterday I was once again reminded that having too many options isn't always a good thing for an compulsively indecisive person.
Yesterday I had a reality check as I watched a reality show, the Bachelorette, as she cried over having to choose the right husband as I boo-hoo-ed over trying to decide where to go next in the world.
Yesterday, I saw wild little blue fairy penguins in the wild and the world was ok.
 At the end of the pier in St Kilda is a rocky break water that is the protective home to the little blue fairy penguins. They apparently reside there year round, but the best time to guarantee a penguin viewing is at dusk or dawn and particularly in the summer. Although I had been in Melbourne for over a month, I wasn't about to take my chances and waited until mid-October, knowing my previous luck with seeing native animals in the wild. We arrived just as the sun was dimly setting in the ocean and the city skyline was bright behind us. The boats in the water were mere outlines, only highlighted by the bright moon. There was quite a crowd along the breakwater and I couldn't believe my luck that we might actually see a penguin in the dark. But yet, there upon the rocks was this bright white belly of a little penguin. It's fins were stretched out and his belly protruded proudly as the visitors gasped and giggled (Ok, maybe that was just me) and tried desperately to take pictures in the dark without flash as that would clearly disturb them as they nestled into the crevices of the rocks for the night. They hobbled their little feet across the sloping rocks, maintaining their balance with awkward poise. They confidently stood perched upon the rocks, asserting their home territory yet welcoming us. They showed off as if they knew how unquestionably cute they were. They bravely left the nestle of the rocks and walked across the footpath an arms length away from us. They posed for pictures as the hi-vis guides shown red-masked flash lights upon them for us to see in the dark, but respectfully as they can't visualise the red spectrum as much. They squawked and chattered to each other. One little kid remarked, they sound like eagles. His sister responded, yeah they sound like birds. (one. how do you know what an eagle sounds like. two. yes they are birds.)

 None of my pictures came out.* I barely even tried to capture the little guys as I just wanted to snatch one and cuddle with and keep for my own. No picture will do justice to the smile that I had on my face. Every stress, anxiety, uncertainty I had diminished while I was on the breakwater amongst the little penguins. Every reason for coming to Australia had been answered. OK, maybe that's a bit drastic. But, it was exactly what I needed.
*(these pictures are from another visit to the St Kilda pier while the penguins were out enjoying the day at sea)

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