“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
― Nelson Mandela
On the 4th of January 2019, it was time for my first ever long haul flight and i was so lucky that it was to Cape Town, South Africa. From 2002-2007 i had lived in Spain on the Costa Del Sol and apart from one holiday to Mexico, i had never travelled outside of Europe so to arrive in Cape Town filled me with an immense sense of gratitude and an unbelievable way to start the New Year.
After arriving at the hotel and heading to the room to rest, it was time for drinks by the pool and then in the evening, headed down to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, which had the stunning back drop of Table Mountain, for steak and wine. It actually felt like i was borrowing someone elses life for the day.
As we were only in Cape Town for 36 hours, i didn’t imagine there would be a great deal of time to see much of the area. However, what i was about to see was probably one of the most spectacular sights i’ve ever seen. Throughout my life, if i saw them on tv or imagined penguins, like most people, it is an envision of them in a snowy, cold environment. That was until arriving at Boulders Beach which is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon’s Town towards Cape Point. In that moment of arriving at the beach, i was absolutely mesmerised to see hundreds of penguins on the beach, in the sun. The only way to describe being so close to them and watching them interact as little characters with each other was surreal, as if it was some real life 3D film scene and dismissing any preconceptions id always had that they were only found in cold climates. This moment was definitely the defining one that i knew i was going to learn so much about the world.
About the penguins
After my visit to Boulders Beach, i was fascinated about the penguins and decided to do some more research on them, their environment and the dangers they face as a species. The following information was found on the ‘Table Mountain National Park’ website:
“African Penguins were reclassified on 26 May 2010 from a Vulnerable to now Endangered status. In 1956 when the first full census was conducted on the African Penguin, there were approximately 150 000 breeding pairs counted. In 2009 there were only 26 000 breeding pairs left in the world. These numbers indicate a loss of more than 80% of breeding pairs in just over 50 years.
The Boulders Penguin Colony was established in 1983 and numbers increased from surrounding island colonies to bring breeding numbers to 3900 birds in 2005. Since then there has been a decrease. The 2011 figures sit at around 2100 birds at Boulders Penguin Colony. The decline at Boulders and the global decline is the suspected result of:
- habitat destruction
- effects of oil spills and other marine pollution
- impacts of global warming on fish stocks and fish movement
- over fishing
- irresponsible tourism activities
- domestic pets/animals”
Source: 2019, A bit more about African Penguins, 2019, <https://www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/tourism/attractions.php#boulders>