07 February 2012

Waddle for a Week: African penguin champions return

Hayley McLellan

Our first Waddle for a Week campaign in 2011 – in support of the endangered African penguin (you can a visit a few of these beautiful birds right here at the Sappi River Meander) – was such a success that we have decided to run it again in 2012. Animal keepers across the country have started training for the 130km waddle, which starts in Gansbaai (Dyer Island colony) and ends in Simonstown (Boulders Beach colony).

The good news is that anyone can join this fantastic campaign. The dates for this year are 16 to 21 April when you can waddle with us for a week, a day or an hour. The African penguin is endemic to southern Africa as well as endangered and if quick, smart action is not taken we could be saying goodbye to this African icon within the next 15 years as yet another species slides into extinction …

Let’s not let this happen! Be a part of the solution by visiting www.penguinpromises.com and getting involved however you can. Contact Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan on hayley.mclellan@aquarium.co.za for more information.

The Waddle for a Week route

We’ll be publishing regular posts on our blog to trace the run-up to and the completion of the 2012 Waddle – so keep your eyes peeled.

Waddling on!

About the Waddle for a Week campaign

In May 2011, Two Oceans Aquarium Assistant Communications and Sustainability Manager Renée Leeuwner – a keen blogger and a member of the Aquarium’s Green Team – joined Hayley and uShaka Sea World’s Gabby Harris as they embarked on the first Waddle for a Week campaign. Renée blogged every day and our readers followed the intrepid waddlers’ progress.

Here’s an overview of Renée’s six inspirational days.

2011's Waddle saw intrepid walkers hit the road

Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 1 (23 May 2011)

It is the first day of the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week campaign and at 04h00 I woke up to the sound of rain bucketing down with all its might. Signs of the day ahead, perhaps? I was hoping not. By 08h00 the rain had cleared just a bit and all the Waddlers were dressed in their Cape Storm gear, Hi Tech shoes and loaded up with Powerade.

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Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 2 (24 May 2011)

Silence. Complete silence. That is what we woke up to this morning. The rain was gone and so was the wind. The Waddlers started their morning with an incredible breakfast that Graeme from Mosiac Farm had organised. A quick check for blisters and “potential” blisters revealed only one or two. There were some complaints about stiff muscles, but those were soon forgotten as distraction was provided by the sun that peaked its head from behind a dark cloud – but only for a moment!

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And the support came in all shapes

Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 3 (25 May 2011)

Bliss. That is the only way I can describe the weather that greeted us this morning – not to mention the amazing view from our rooms at the Windsor Hotel! The sea was our neighbour for the night and as morning shook off the darkness, the sky turned silver and the ocean greeted us with a roar. The hotel staff members were roped in to make some more posters and, while they were colouring away, we packed the car, applied more plasters and warmed up the stiff and uncooperative muscles.

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

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.

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Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 5 (27 May 2011)

This morning’s drive from Betty’s Bay to Gordon’s Bay, via Clarence Drive, must be one of the most beautiful drives in South Africa. Everyone sat in awe of the amazing scenery, with the sheer cliffs dropping off to the sea on the one side and the mountain rising solidly and steadfast on the other. Soon these waters will play host to the annual migration of the southern right whales and tourists, local and foreign, will flock to see these giants of the oceans frolic in their watery home.

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The third day of the 2011 Waddle starts – and spirits are high

Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week Day 6 (28 May 2011)

We’ve arrived! The Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week has come to an end. Everyone made it in one piece and the Waddlers’ spirits remain high. This morning, we were joined by about 40 other waddlers from all walks of life. Together, they set off from Muizenberg and, unfortunately, only a couple of kilometres further, the rain came down and everyone got drenched.

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