It may not come as a surprise to everyone that knows me, but I love penguins! There isn’t one of the 17 different species that I don’t like. Unfortunately though, I only have the chance of meeting with Humboldt penguins in the UK due to our climate (however The Deep in Hull will be getting Gentoo penguins in March).
My girlfriend, Hannah, surprised me at Christmas with the chance to feed the Humboldt penguins at Sewerby Hall, which is about 30 miles away from Hull. Both Hannah and I left for Sewerby Hall on January 31st at 8 in the morning to prepare and feed fish to these little guys.
I’m not a big fan of fish. I don’t eat them, not a big fan of the smell and I certainly can’t stand seeing fish like these, with their eyes. Eugh. But I knew that this wasn’t about me. These penguins needed their breakfast and I wasn’t going to let my fears stop me from preparing them some food.
I think choosing to feed the penguins in the morning was the best idea as they were all very hungry. A few fights broke out over who was going to get the fish first but after they noticed we had already started feeding some of the others, that quickly came to a halt. If I had to give a little advice to someone who wants to feed penguins, don’t stop to talk with the Zookeeper while you’re feeding them. You’ll get a little tap on your legs.
Hannah even fought past the look and smell of the fish to feed them! I didn’t think she would actually do it, but she did. Flip Flop, one of their penguins, wouldn’t let Hannah feed her though. Only me, which came as a surprise to the Zookeeper as she had recently been distraught and didn’t really trust anybody apart from the staff.
We even got to meet a hand-reared penguin called Webster. Hand-reared means that the penguin was taken from the mother at birth to be brought up by another person, in this case, the Zookeeper at their home. He told us how he would let the penguin sit on the sofa with his dog! What I’d do for that experience. While it may seem cruel to take a penguin away from its mother, it was due to the parents had two chicks and usually can only take care of one. The Zookeeper and Webster are very close and seeing him leave the enclosure to get back to work saw Webster waddling after him as quickly as his little feet could take him.
Thanks to Hannah for taking these photos. You can check out here blog here: http://hannahackroyd.wordpress.com
Getting a graduate job
Feeding the penguins came after another high point in my life. Getting a graduate job. I spent last Monday (27th January) in the comfort of the Black Marble offices awaiting my interview. After doing a test for them to get an understanding of my level of programming/technical abilities, I had a chat with the managing and development directors who after reviewing my CV and learning of the skills that I’ve gained from personal and professional development, offered me a place in the company as a junior software developer.
Hannah got me these amazing Lego cufflinks and tie clip for my success in getting a job! Hopefully I will have time to wear them when I start.
Now that I have secured a job, I now need to help Hannah find a graduate job and look for places to live! I have some folks to thank around the department, although they probably know who they are, for helping me get to where I am now.