The last few days have flown by and have been filled with penguins, bites, penguins and more bites!
I've been working on Pen 3 quite a lot, this is the Pen where the penguins go when they are close to release. So they are generally a lot stronger and healthier...and more feisty.
Maybe because I was getting more hands on with them my confidence had made me drop my guard a bit more, as when I picked up no.1057 to put him in for his swim and he wiggled round and bit my arm...MY GOD THE PAIN. I almost drop kicked the little b*st*rd into the pool. But then when he swam away again my heart melted and I didn't hate him anymore. Although my arm is still bruised 1 week later...
On another day the trainer, Nicole, wanted to check my penguin handling was okay before they started teaching me to feed and tube. So I practiced in Pen 2 a bit, where the birds are still on the mend and not as stubborn as Pen 3. All was fine, handling was spot on. Until I got to the last bird. This one big beast of an adult penguin, every time I went near him he would duck down low to the ground and twist his head backwards and forward like he was ready to attack. I just stood up and said "Yeah, I'm not picking up that one"... Off the trainer went, and picked him up in seconds like some penguin whisperer. What is this sorcery?!
Got taught how to feed with the Pen 3 birds where I found my new favourite, no.609, another CRU hand reared baby, so chubby and gentle and patient. Seeing as no.555 seems to have been released! I searched high and low (well, all the Pens anyway) and he wasn't anywhere to be found. The only way I can describe feeding penguins is like feeding a toddler having a tantrum. They will fight you! You pick them up fine, take them over to the stool where they wiggle wiggle wiggle while you try and sit down with them between your legs. You have to squeeze them quite tight to make them stay still (without crushing them, obvs), then hold their beaks open with your left gloved hand and push in the fish with your right until only the tail is showing and they swallow the rest down. Sounds easy right? Nah, I wasted about 47 fish that day trying to get these damn birds to eat their damn fish only for them to shake their heads until the spat the fish up again. Fine, starve! Plus another one bit me on the hand after he spat up his fish, just to add insult to injury. Or should that be the other way round.
At least my evenings have been spent having fun with the volunteers, I've made some really lovely friends and the bars here are great for cocktails. If not a little lethal. I'll try and keep more up to date with my blogging seeing as I have only 3 weeks left.
Love and miss you all