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Sean's Blog

Last day in CapeTown, but exciting!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

We had an incredibly busy day today, and ended up in Johannesburg at the end of it. Breakfast was great at the Breakwater Lodge, and then it was off to see the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. Both places had awesome views of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, False Bay, and all the mountains surrounding False Bay. It was very cool to be there, where explorers first set foot on the southern tip of Africa. While in the nature reserve we saw Chacma baboons, an Eland, and two other types of "boks" or antelopes. The road into the reserve went right past an ostrich farm, so in total we saw many species that I've never seen or will see. But the animal spotting wasn't over when we left the reserve. We then followed the bay side of the peninsula/ cape to Boulders Beach, where there is a large colony of African penguins. After seeing the penguins in their natural place, we headed to SANCCOB, which is a rehabilitation center or hospital for sick or injured sea birds, mainly penguins. They are the ones that clean the oil off of birds after an oil spill. To get there, we followed the bay and saw some really cool towns, beaches, houses, and the view of the rest of the bay was again, amazing. At SANCCOB, we got to meet the penguins Rocky and Columbine. They were both very nice penguins and were very willing to let us all pet them and hold them. Those two penguins, along with a few others and some birds of other species, are permanent inhabitants at the center due to injuries or maladies that prevent the keepers from returning them to the wild. Many birds only stay for a little while, when the workers clean them or treat whatever is wrong. There is even an ICU for the sickest birds! We got to se some volunteers feed some african penguins. Some penguins take the fish from the feeder- "free feeding", while some must have the fish put down their throat- "force feeding". The penguins get fed twice a day and eat about 3 or 4 fish each time. They are able to digest every part of the fish. After they ate, as demonstrated by Columbine, the penguins shiver to settle everything in their stomach.
After SANCCOB, we said good bye to Cape Town and our wonderful guide Thabi, whose name I am spelling by guessing, as I never saw it written, only said. It is pronounced like tahbee. I put the th in, because she is from Lesotho, pronounced lesootoo. She tought us how to make the three click noises used in african languages, and some of us got ok at it, while others struggled. I think I am able to say Xhosa, the name of one of the languages that uses the clicks, and is Nelson Mandela's original tongue. Our flight to Joburg was very interesting, with a flight crew that had a sense of humor. They told us if we didn't like the person we were sitting next to, that we could move, something about ass-ets, that we will be searched for weapons on the way out, if we didn't have one, we would be issued one (making fun of Joburg's crime I believe. On the way out of the plane she told us that if the person in front of us was moving to slow we should just push them!
So today was quite exciting, but tomorrow we have the Sterkfontein caves, as well as others, and will surely have a busy day again, just in a new place.

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Essential Programs Details

Duration 12 days
When June 2nd - 13th, 2009
Focus Wildlife Research/Conservation
Political History
Culture