Africa, America, Countries

World Ppppenguin Day

They take their work seriously in Orlando, so much so they take their penguins home with them. So I expect their handler will be holding a house pppparty today for World Ppppenguin Day.

African penguins in the Eastern Cape

The penguins’ handler at SeaWorld Orlando showed his love for his ppppals when he showed us around their ppppen on my first visit to SeaWorld.

The lonely penguin: In the Eastern Cape, South Africa

I shared the story with the newbies on my second trip out there about how the gas station attendant was taken aback when he saw the penguins in the front seat of the handler’s car.

But he confirmed it when we visited the enclosure.

I smell ppppoo

Now we all think we know penguins and we will certainly have fond memories of feeding them at the zoo.

But it is only when you are up close and personal with them that they reveal their true selves.

On your shoe with a white gooey mess… yes, their droppings are white.

C’mhere you

And that will mean that they won’t be able to spot their ppppals’ ppppoo on the ice.

Visitors to the enclosure keep a safe distance, of course, which is just as well.

Because it’s blinking cold and also rather smelly.

Ppppersonal hygiene pppplease

But what they lack in ppppersonal hygiene (and after stomping around the park in the searing heat I’m one to talk), they make up for in cuteness.

And if you just take a deep breath it’s well worth it to get that money shot snuggling up to Pingu.

The other thing about penguins which is worth mentioning in the times in which we are living is that you could never get them to social distance.

Maybe it’s the cold which makes them cosy up to each other.

Pppport Elizabeth

They do in their thousands too on St Croix in Port Elizabeth where I had the privilege of seeing them in their natural environment.

It is there in South Africa’s Eastern Cape that you’ll find the largest African penguin colony in the world.

And again you want to be careful what you eat before you get on your boat because the waters around the island can be choppy.

Raggy Charters will do their best to chart a calm course but that’s just nature for you.

And perhaps bobbing along and watching the dolphins rise and fall around you through the spray just adds to the motion on the ocean sickness.

But then they do say ‘no pain, no gain’ and it is certainly a boat journey and an experience you’ll never forget.

So pppparty on for World Ppppenguin Day.


Adventure, Africa, Culture

This plant can save the world

Raggy Charters isn’t your normal dolphin-watching boat company.

You see owner Lloyd Edwards and manager Jake Keeton are putting back what they are using in carbon emissions whey they are whizzing their boat around Algoa Bay, the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world.

Fins are looking up: Algoa Bay

I have come to Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s Eastern Cape to find out more.

And to meet the locals…Human, dolphin and pussycat and What’s new pussycat?.

Lead the way

Raggy Charters’ Lloyd and Jake (and Sahara their Jack Russell) have a mini-jungle of plants around their jetty.

And they plant a new spekboom plant every time they take the boat out.. it acts as a succulent. And here’s where you can find out a lot more…

Cuttings to the chase

The spekboom project which originated in the Eastern Cape is the idea of Aidan Lawrence, of SATSA Eastern Cape, who handed out 600 spekboom cuttings to delegates.

Our boat comes in

This is SA’s response to the carbon emissions problem.

Flying shame

And the flygskam (flying shame) campaign championed by Greta Thumberg among others.

All of which salves my conscience a little as I am acutely aware of how many air miles I have been chalking up.spekboom-planting-agents-samara-conservation-karoo-south-africa-marnus-ochse-980x560You see the humble speksboom only stores solar energy to perform photosynthesis at night.

And it is ten times more effective per hectare than any tropical rainforest.And I’ve seen how valuable our rainforests are this year, in Tobago, and It’s Robinson Crusoe’s very own Tobago.

In the Tobago rainforest

While we doff our hats to what the South Africans are doing on the ground it is worth mentioning that global airlines and cruise liners continue to explore ways they can address carbon emissions.


Pppppick up a penguin

And British Airways are leading the way.

From the start of this year BA is now offsetting carbon emissions on all flights within the UK.And it is investing money in green projects around the world.

The challenge ahead

The challenge remains huge.

With a study from 1st Move International highlighting the 20 top destinations for travellers from the UK.

Not to depress you but a return trip from London to Mallorca will cost the planet six trees.

Walking in Tenerife, the eco way to go

I feel a little less guilty because my flights to Tenerife and

And A walk through the ages… Tenerife Tenerife was five trees.

And I took me in some rainforest there too.

Plant those trees

The 15.62 average UK visitors to Spain would each owe 43,237,500 trees, about 3017 football pitches.

But who knew that Nature may just hold the answer in this little plant, the spekboom?