Saturday, January 21, 2012

Phillip Island

We left Wilsons Prom, my heart full of wombats, and drove over to Phillip Island.  On the way there, we stopped and saw the pelican feeding at the shore.  I have never been up close and personal with pelicans before; they are really strange-looking creatures.
They almost look like a caricature of a real bird; their eyes look more craftsman-made plastic than real.
The pelicans know to come at this time to be fed, and they are counted by the volunteer (who feeds them flatheads) so the population can be monitored.  We learned that because of the fins and the fact they are swallowed whole, pelicans can only swallow a fish head-down.  If a fish is caught tail-down, the pelican walks away, almost looking like an old man muttering to himself, as he works the fish around so it's facing the right direction.

demonstrating tossing a fish tail-first
fish is inside but he knows he needs to turn it around
got it!
There is no real camping on Phillip Island; we stayed at Cowes Caravan Park which ended up working out great because there were tons of kids.  Jackson met Rylea and they were fast friends, riding bikes and hanging out.  I spent a lovely evening with Rylea's mom and a friend, drinking tea and chatting.  As we left the park, Jackson said that meeting Rylea was his favorite experience so far on the trip.  
Jackson and Rylea
As I cooked dinner in the common kitchen area one evening, I saw a small group of girls all with blonde hair walk by.  As they passed Jackson, who was sitting on a railing, they asked his name.  "Jackson", he said, "but you can call me Jack".  Oh, really?  I've never heard him say that before.  The girls were all very giggly, and Rylea later told Jackson that the girls liked his American accent.  Jackson humbly said, "I know."  It will be very interesting once school starts...

Since we were already feeling touristy, we visited MARU Wildlife Park for a chance to feed kangaroos.  

Sam communing with nature
Kenyon feeding an albino kangaroo
One kangaroo had a joey in her pouch.  Sam commented that having a baby in there looked heavy and uncomfortable, like her stomach was very stretched.  Um....(pause while every woman who has ever experienced the last 4 weeks of pregnancy rolls her eyes)...ya think??  I silently gave an 'I know how you feel, lady' look her way.
Jackson said that she needed the most food and reached out with another handful.  He'll make a good husband one day.
if you look closely you can see the joey nursing
Who could pass up an opportunity to pet a koala?  Koalas are supposedly nocturnal, but the reality is they sleep 20 hours a day, so they're basically 'nonurnal'.  This koala was sleeping on a eucalyptus branch and would occasionally yawn or scratch itself in between pictures; this is the only way I could tell that it was real and not a stuffed animal wedged between a couple of  branches.

We saw other cool animals at this park; it is of course much more exciting and interesting to see an animal in the wild (like my wombat, or Sam's echidna)--but it was still neat to glimpse these creatures that we don't get to see in the States...
ok, we've all seen parrots but this one was saying 'hello' with an Australian accent!
Tasmanian devil--see how his ears glow red in the sun?  You can also see his fangs.
I have been blathering on and on about various animals, but the whole reason we went to Phillip Island was for the fairy penguins!  At sundown, we watched as hundreds of 16-inch tall fairy penguins seemingly magically washed up on the shore with the surf in groups and waddled their way up the beach to their burrows in the dunes.  We were supposed to be quiet so as to not interfere with their ritual, so I did my best to hold back squeals of "Oh my gosh--soooooooo cute!".
photo credit: Tourism Victoria
We were not allowed to take pictures of our own, but it's something I'll always remember, and I'm glad we made it as far as Phillip Island on our one big trip down south.


  1. I can see you had a special time at Phillip Island. Sights and pictures the boys will cherish for years!

  2. Penguins!!! I would have to hold back my squeals, too! Oh Annie, LOVED the pictures. And the joey...OMG! You are having so much fun. I'm sitting on my couch drinking coffee and planning our trip to home depot. That's where I will squeal "Plywood!! So cute!" (jk of course). Keep up the photos. They are beyond amazing. Love you guys!