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We went to Hermanus with very few concrete plans. See a friend there, stay in a B&B there, and that was about it. I was skeptical that it was going to be a huge success, but obviously, as usual with these things, I was wrong. We had a great couple of days; busy, but fun. Some good family time. Beach visits, a market which had beer on sale, some flamingo stalking, a spot (or two) of fun with the Mavic, a walk in the nature reserve, some decent food (some not so decent food) and then an impromptu stop at Betty’s Bay on the way home.

… where the penguins and dassies and cormorants were all only too pleased to pose for the camera, and where the foreign tourists (German and Spanish) refused to spend R20 (£1.16, €1.31, $1.49) to see the all the chicks, because there were two just before the hut where you had to cough up your admission fee. The admission fee that goes towards looking after the penguins and preserving their future.

Sometimes foreign tourists can be tight bastards. All they seemed to want to do was stand around near their tour bus and smoke cigarettes (and guess where the fag butts went, fewer than 24 hours on from this?).
Most of the tourists we see in the Cape are having a great time and are amazed by what they see. These ones, not so much.

Anyway, photos here. Not of the foreign tourists, obviously. Ugh.

And now: PENGUINS OF DOOM

After the PILCHARDS OF DOOM in Paarl story which broke earlier today and the hippo house invasions in Nigeria last week, now it’s a story of penguins in Betty’s Bay.

A colony of endangered African penguins has ruffled the feathers of an elderly Betty’s Bay resident, whose house is slowly being taken over by the critters.

Aww. Penguins! Cute! (Everyone loves penguins.)

79-year old Barbara Wallers has lived in her Stony Point home since 1947, adjacent to the oldest land-based colony of African penguins in South Africa, with around 5 000 birds.

Aww. Sweet old lady!
Got that mental image of your lovely grandma, all grey haired, cardigan clad with her tea and biscuits?
You have? Great. So what does Grandma think of the penguins?

“They shit all over the place. The other day I had one in here, running around, and it shit all over my bedroom. It just walked through the door and made a mess of my house,” Barbara Wallers told the Cape Argus.

I would have given anything – anything – to have been there when the reporter recorded that outburst. Brilliant.

The 79-year-old said the penguins waddled across her back garden, set up nests and kept her up the whole night with their squawking. According to the report, the birds snuck through gaps in incomplete fencing and into enticing gardens.

So what methods is sweet Barbara using to get rid of the penguins? Well, obviously, she’s spraying them with fertiliser.

No, I don’t understand this response either.

Is her hope to somehow encourage them to grow uncontrollably so that they can no longer fit through the gaps in the fencing? Or is she just anxious to somehow contravene the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (No.10 of 2004) by applying a toxic substance to an endangered species. If that’s the case, rather feed them aging pilchards, Barbara. Those, as we discovered earlier, can be deadly.

Or maybe there’s a more scientific reason. Does the fertiliser make their shit easier to clean off bedroom carpets. Is that it, Barbara? I realise that penguin shit can be difficult to handle. I mentioned this paper here back in April 2007.

Either way, Barbara has 3 months of penguin invasion still to endure:

The Overstrand municipality promised it would complete the fencing by January.

They might be facing some very big penguins and a very angry Granny by then…