Growing up in a large city, the only exotic wild animal on the ground that I was familiar with were cats who reigned over their concrete territory and feasted in restaurants’ garbage bins. You see, moving to Australia was a big change form me. You do not need to drive for long to see creatures that blow your mind but you need to take a step for it.
This time the quest was to see a seal (sea puppy!) in the wild for the first time!
Stand Up Paddle board is inflated, wet suits are on and our aims are made to make it from the shore to Seal Island. It is going to be a 1600m paddling challenge return.
The sky is cloudy, the temperature is warm, and the weather is unpredictable; but too late, we are already sailing.
Smelling the rain through gentle sea breathe and watching it hitting the water with a peculiar harmony, I should confess this is one of the most beautiful moments to be alive.
Looking down underwater; I never had a good relationship with the dark seaweed. Just too mysterious. (I started singing in my head Fear of the dark #IronMaden).
We are 200m away from the shore now. The waves randomly move us and the current is not in our favour. Started to get a bit shaky as Tina asked about sharks! But the fear is not real, it is all in our head? keep paddling…
We have made it more than half way. The weather is certainly getting worst and the ocean is uneasy. It is getting late and it will be too risky to paddle back from the island.
We decided to head back towards the shore.
Mission aborted (but the dream lives…)
Day 2: We have learnt from yesterday. Leaving the shore early morning, now the current is on our side.
We have our waterproof bag filled with water, towels, food and camera!
Paddling furiously, we have made it half way through, you can see the thrill of excitement in our eyes; …we are one step closer to see our first seals. SEA PUPPIES! Here we come!
Almost there, … two mid-age ladies on the Kayak passing by shout: “there are no seals in there!”.
Sad news for us
Wait a minute, what!?
Ladies: there are no seals,… there is nothing! Don’t waste your time!
With our bubbles burst (and the smile wiped from our faces!), we are paddling our way to the Island. This last 100m feels so much heavier.
Made it to the island. It is small and full of birds however there are no signs of seals! Unbelievable! Why would you call it Seal Island if there are no seals!
A majestic moment
But wait a minute,…what is that written on the floating yellow sign!? It says stay 10m away from the seals! …so there must be seals, right!? Patience is the remedy. Floating around gently on the paddle board, we are waiting. Looking for any signs.
Oh GOD! Did you see that! Look over there!… It is coming towards us! Wow it is HUGE! What should we do now!? It is coming right towards us! Just…just don’t move!
We lost him under the water. What a majestic moment! We had totally under-estimated the size of the “sea puppy!”
The seal came back and rested at the shore but it was scared away by the tourists’ boat.
We waited for another encounter but the seal was gone.
Next quest… to the Penguin Island!
We stopped by to look at a tiny island full of birds. We stopped by 20m away (and the smell was as you can imagine!).
Crazy enough, we have another 1,000m or so to the penguin island. The water is deep and clear whilst the waves are flappy. I have to admit, every now and then I think about presence of sharks in this water.
Knackered and thirsty, we made it to the Penguin Island.
A bit disappointed that this time we could not find any penguins in the wild; the only ones now are being protected in captivity. This is their mating season and hopefully in a not very far future we should be able to see more of them in wild.