I knew exactly how we were going to spend our bank holiday weekend when I saw the words ‘glass bottom boat’ on a leaflet for Penguin Island.
We had another 5am wake up call from Master Osian but Dan somehow managed to get him back to sleep so we had a lie-in until 6.15am! However, we were anything but organised and enthusiastic for our trip – I was in a foul mood, Osh was trying to deal without a dummy and Dan was stressed about our morning to-do list. Our list comprised of the following; collect newly bought car and drive it back to the house, pack and load car for our daytrip, buy food for our daytrip, get money from cash machine to buy a tent off gumtree, drive automatic car (we’ve always had a manual) in new country for an hour down to Rockingham, find gumtree person’s house to buy the tent and finally catch the 11.15am ferry to the nature reserve. It is safe to say Dan and I felt a tad overwhelmed and became a bit snipey with each other to the extent that we spent a good hour faffing about whether we should go or just do it another day.
We decided to go but by the time we made it out the house Osh was well overdue his nap. He was most displeased with being strapped into the car seat and, as we set of, we were painfully reminded of why we had introduced a dummy in the first place. It was a long, ear aching 20 minutes before he fell asleep.
Surprisingly, the rest of the day went rather smoothly and was most enjoyable; Penguin Island is definitely worth a visit. It had beautiful sandy beaches, a shaded and grassy picnic area and a nature trail to explore. We refrained from doing the trail because hauling a pram over sand is tough so take a baby backpack carrier. The water was dazzling and crystal clear – Oshi loved splashing about whilst Dan did some snorkeling.
Sadly, the Jaws theme plays in my head if I so much as dip my toe in the water – it’s strange because I find the idea of swimming with sharks appealing but I managed to scare myself by reading about the increasing number of attacks in WA. My new found fear became a bit of a joke with our family and friends before we left, with my mother-in-law ‘absentmindedly’ decorating the Christmas cake with sharks eating snowmen! I am however, determined not to let it stop me from going snorkeling so watch this space. ..!
Anyway, back to the daytrip – the glass bottom boat turned out to be a bit of a gimmick, as you could only see bubbles when the boat was moving and sea grass when it was still. Yet Oshi found the bubbles fascinating and was so distracted by the boat ride that the dummy didn’t seem to cross his mind.
So, the island is home to Western Australia’s largest colony of penguins, which are the smallest in the world. We didn’t spot any wild penguins on our travels but you can pay to go into the Discovery Centre and watch them being fed. However, we were far from disappointed by the wildlife we did see; a dolphin and her tiny calf, sea lions, a skink and hundreds of pelicans. The crew on the boat have an informative and interesting talk about the island and all the animals we saw.
We will be returning to Penguin Island in the near future to either swim with dolphins or do some sea kayaking. ..or hopefully both! Suffice to say, we had a great day and, whatsmore, Osh slept through the night with no wake-up calls for the dummy!