The trip from Storms River to Cape St Francis was nerve wracking. The gearbox noise was getting louder every time I pushed the revs past 2000rpm and it felt like it was just a matter of time before we came to a grinding halt.
Just before I left Tsitsikamma, I called to make an appointment with Volkswagen in Jeffrey’s Bay who were only taking bookings for 10 DAYS later. They even suggested we have the car towed to them to minimize damage to the engine. But what about all 4 of us and the mountain of stuff we are travelling with!? It was a prayer filled drive. I can tell you that much!
Once we arrived in Cape St Francis we found that we couldn’t possibly be further away from the CBD if we tried. This did not bode well for us not wanting to use the car so that it would make it to Jeffrey’s Bay. When we ran out of milk and bread, we thought we would walk to the closest supermarket, to pick up a few groceries. According to Google Maps, Spar was the “closest” and it looked like a doable 40 minute walk. Within the first kilometre the kids were moaning and groaning about how much longer this was going to take. Since we walked a lot in Tableview, I could compare it to distances we had previously walked, that they were familiar with. It was a LONG walk that was only made bearable with the promise of ice cream at the end of it.
By the time we got to Spar I knew that ice creams weren’t going to cut it. Suddenly it was close to sunset and with the kids now cold and tired, the only thing to do was to scrap the ice cream idea and get us home safely as quickly as possible. Since there is no Uber in Cape St Francis and all the local taxis had already done their last trips, the only thing to do was get a metered taxi :'(. Oh how I cringed at the cost. Since the guy was coming from the next town, that 5km distance cost us R120. Excuse me while I curl up in a corner and cry again. No wait, let me show you pictures of penguins instead. This blog post is currently too sad for words at the moment.
There, that’s better. I knew that the distance (to Spar) was similar from Country House Allegria, where we were staying, to SANCCOB so I gritted my teeth, make a booking to watch the penguins being fed and gingerly drove all the way to Seal Point Lighthouse the next day. There was no way I was trying to walk that distance again!
Seal Point Lighthouse is right next door to SANCCOB and, while it isn’t open to the public at the moment, it has the prettiest beach next to it where the kids could play in the tidal pools and collect pumpkin shells to their heart’s content.
Personally I have no idea how the SANCCOB workers manage to get everything done in a day. We were taken on a tour of the facilities and the entire process was explained. Once the penguin has been admitted, it is assessed and placed on a rigorous eating and medication schedule. This is adjusted daily as each penguin gains weight on the road to health.
Aside from the eating and medication schedules, each bird needs to follow a unique rehabilitation course where the workers help them get strong enough, to get released back into the wild again. This means that from the moment they are healthy enough to go back into the water, they are placed on an exercise schedule where they need to swim in the pool for 10-60 minutes per day.
Swimming is compulsory for all birds who have their waterproof feathers and they are gradually moved up through each grade, as they get to swim for longer as their abilities improve.
How the care givers are able to keep track of so many birds who are all at various stages of rehabilitation is beyond me. They literally never seem to stop from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave for the day. And this wasn’t even their busy season. The mind boggles! You can read more about how you can get involved over here.