26 May 2011

Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 4 (26 May 2011)

Renée Leeuwner

Two Oceans Aquarium Assistant Communications and Sustainability Manager Renée Leeuwner is a keen blogger, a member of the Aquarium’s Green Team and the voice behind our Twitter profile. Renée has joined Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan and uShaka Sea World’s Gabby Harris as they Waddle for the African penguin; she’ll be live-blogging and tweeting about the Waddle on the road!

Today was an amazing day

Today is Day 4 of the Waddle. The day that has been “giving us the evil eye” from the schedule. The Day with the longest stretch to cover for the entire walk – almost 30km! After a great night’s sleep and an amazing breakfast at the Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa, the Waddlers were ready to take on the road and get going to Stony Point at Betty’s Bay.

The Waddlers were joined by a group of six amazing ladies from the area. These ladies, known as the Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse ladies, have been doing an annual fundraising walk for the past six years. They start at Agulhas and in four days, walk to the lighthouse at Danger Point.

In March 2011, they raised R171 171 for SOFCA, a frail-care centre in Hermanus. The Waddlers instantly knew that they had been joined by a dedicated and determined group.

In Kleinmond, a quick stop at Angie’s Pudding and Pie proved as delectable as we were told it would be. Thanking Angie for the treats, the Waddlers continued their walk, unaware of the phonecalls flying between myself, Dieter from Harbour Road and Celest from Hangklip-Kleinmond Tourism.

We caught the Waddlers unaware when they rounded the corner at Harbour Road and were greeted by a man-size penguin, the tourism office staff, Dieter and Mark (Harbour Road), and a table laden with coffee, juice and water: Awelcome fit for a true Waddler!

Honestly, a couple of the Waddlers (myself included) had to swallow back some tears. Such amazing generosity and warmth from complete strangers has left us all as friends. Dieter explained that Harbour Road and Hangklip-Kleinmond Tourism will be using the penguin mascot for educational purposes and will continue to drive awareness about the plight of the African penguin. Amazing people! That’s all I can say.

In Betty’s Bay, the Waddlers were joined by approximately 40 learners from schools in the area. Together they walked the last 3km to Stony Point, where the penguin mascot again welcomed them.  Here, emotions were high. The Waddlers had reached a very significant point on their route.

The Stony Point penguin colony is accessible via a wooden boardwalk and one can get really close to these amazing birds. The reason why the Waddlers are doing what they are doing hit home – big time – and all of a sudden the aching feet and uncooperative muscles just became par for the course. 

Today was a good day. No, I lie. Today was an amazing day. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and love that the people of Kleinmond area have shown us. We’ve been blessed by such amazing support from these communities. And then to top it all off, we spent time at one of the three penguin colonies along the walk. It’s all good …

The Waddle team would like to thank Rob and everyone at the Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa. The night we spent there was sheer indulgence. Then the team would also like to thank the L2L ladies for their support today and for joining us on our walk. Thank you Lorraine, Isa, Sannie, Nita and Maretha. You were an inspiration to us today. A further thank you, also, to all the school children who have joined us on our walk thus far. Your enthusiasm is contagious and we loved having you along for the walk.

Seven Waddlers from various organisations (Two Oceans Aquarium, uShaka Sea World, National Zoological Gardens Pretoria, SANCCOB and Gold Reef City) are walking from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town to raise awareness about the plight of the African penguin. Pledge your support by sending an SMS with the keyword PENGUIN, followed by your promise, to 34008. Follow them on Twitter @penguinpromises, Facebook and www.penguinrpomises.com.

Penguin promises: Waddle for a Week

More blogs about the African penguin

More blogs by Renée

Loving Stony Point
This is what it's all about
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