Awaiting the little penguins
The orange disc of the Sun disappeared in the distance where the sea and the sky met. We were leaning against the railings, staring at the water and waiting the little penguins quietly near London Bridge. The natural arch was a complete double-span bridge until 1990, when one evening in January, part of it collapsed leaving two tourist trapped on the remaining rock formation. They were rescued by helicopter and the rock formation doesn't really look like the famous London Bridge anymore, but the name remains.
Great Ocean Road
We spent the day on the Great Ocean Road, stopped by the famous Twelve Apostles. We visited several rock formations along the rugged coast. I picked up a leaflet about the little penguin colony in a small local museum in Port Campbell.
After a long wait
The birds return to the small protected beach every day about 30 minutes after sunset. Visitors could observe them from a modest viewing platform. The rock hugged sandy beach is protected and luckily people can`t access it. It sounded like a great opportunity to see the penguins in the wild. We decided to try and see them as the described place was very close to Port Campbell where we spent the night .
As soon as the sun went down the temperature dropped and the gentle breeze became cold. The waves washed the shore in a steady rhythm. Couple of other people joined us on the platform and we all stared at the beach expectantly.
About 30mins after sunset a little penguin appeared from the shelter of the rocks. She run towards the sea, and then stopped close to the water. She then walked up and down on the beach, waiting. A few minutes later another little penguin emerged from the sea. She ran to him, their beaks touched and wings moved with excitement as they span around each other. This happy dance lasted for long minutes. The greeting was addressed with lots of caring love, like they were apart for weeks rather than a day. Meanwhile more and more penguins emerged from the water and waddled towards the rocks leaving tiny footprints in the sand.
Something to remember
As it was getting dark rapidly soon we had to stare into the semi darkness to make out the tiny silhouettes waddling on the beach. Kind signs asked people not to use lights and flash as it would have disturbed the tiny creatures. So I could only store pictures of them in my own memory. The little penguins were returning home for the night. Finally we made our way back to the car park as darkness fell and it was impossible to see anything.
It is nice to remember how we spent some warm January days in Australia all these years ago...