Thursday was a good day. The three of us must have woke up with motivation because we decided it was a good day to deep clean the hostel. Maggie turned on MTV and the three of us danced and sang along while we cleaned.
Around noon a guy from Raptor Domain showed up with a huge white bird. Raptor Domain is a bird, spider and snake show located just across the road from us. When I saw the bird I went out to greet him and the man. The guy explained that this was a Whitebellied Sea Eagle. His name was Mericai.
I smiled and repeated the name. “Merica!”
“No, no, not Merica, Mericai. but he is related to the American Eagle.
He was a nervous bird. The man told me Mericai didn't like women for some reason. They were preparing Mericai for a show in Kingscote. He had never ridden in a car before so this was his test to ride in a car across the street. We told him we were glad we could provide a roadtrip for Mericai and Maggie took photos of him too.
During our lunch break Matthew and I talked politics. Oklahoma was making abortion completely illegal in 5 days. Hilary insulted Trump by saying he didn't meet the requirements to be president. Matthew and I disagreed. He was right-middle and thats what we needed. We also disccussed the upcoming Liquor by the Drink election going on in Tillman County.
After work Maggie and I went on another adventure. This time to the Parndana Wildlife Park, just a few minutes up the road. We had heard you could hold a koala at this location and that was 90% of why we were going.
When we arrived it was late in the day and it seemed as though we were the only visitors in the park. Fortunately the staff were very friendly. We chatted with them quite a bit while holding Blue, the park Koala, and then followed them to watch the baby penguins get fed. Blue was a nice Koala who had been raised in the park. Most koalas are wild and can do some serious damage to people trying to hold them. It was a very unique experience to hold Blue. He was soft and cuddle and quite heavy. He weighed about 10 kilos, which is close to 20 pounds! The funnest part was watching him eat the gum leaves. The staff was handing him twigs of leaves. In between bites he would stop and look around. The staffers explained that koalas can't do two things at once. What we were seeing was blue listening, and then eating; two separate actions. How simple koalas are!
Next we watched the staff feed pelicans and then baby penguins. While they fed the birds they told us the story of each animal. One pelican was from Adelaide. He had wound up in a park by some chance and got used to people feeding him. The locals tried to put him at sea but he was too used to being fed by humans so he almost starved. The park took him in so he could survive in an environment that included humans feeding him fish daily.
The other Pelican had M shaped wings. That's because one night during a storm he flew into an electrical wire and messed up his wings so he couldn't fly anymore. He was from Kingscote.
The penguins were born inside the park as part of the penguin breeding program. They are called “little Penguins” and can be found wild in Kingscote or Penneshaw but not on the western side of the island. This is because they are a big part of the diet for sea lions and Ferrell cats. When the sea lion population goes up, the penguin population decreases and when the penguin population increases, the sea lion population decreases.
I thought how funny it was, this park full of animals of all backgrounds, kind of like a hostel full of backpackers. The pelican from Adelaide, the naive penguins who were born in the park, and the M shaped Pelican who had at one time actually been wild... I bet they had fascinating discussed at night when the humans left.
Next we feed kangaroos and wallabies with our hands. I was kind of frightened at first because I had been warned so many times not to mess with kangaroos, but after watching Maggie feed them with no bites or scratches, I gave it a go. The roos were so tame and gentle! They hopped right up to me and stood politely waiting for me to feed them. Well, not all of them were polite. One guy got a little impatient and pushed on my hand so I would hurry up and feed him. That gave Maggie and I a good chuckle. For the most part the roos nibbled the food gently out of my hands. Sometimes they'd even put their paw on my hand like a dog would do. That was really cool.
We saw everything at the park. Snakes, spiders, peacocks, parrots and even a wombat—he was huge! We saw something called a Quakko and also albino wallabies and roos!
I enjoyed seeing a kookaburra up close because it was the very bird that was on the necklace Wayne had given me. The baby koalas were adorable and we even saw a live crocodile!
It's hard to say what the highlight of the trip was, but I did thoroughly enjoy a double scoop of cookies and cream ice cream when it was all over. I hadn't had flavored ice cream in a few months and the cookies just made for the perfect end to a good day!