Sept. 24st, '00
It's been one of my quests to go back to Seaworld and get better pictures of the giant killer penguins they have there. The biggest ones are actually over 80 pounds. The last time I went I got lots of pictures, but they all came out very blurry. So I decided to head back Sunday and try again.
Little did I know I'd be witnessing a vicious penguin attack. Here's the story. It's a tale of love, violence, trust, betrayal, and conspiracy, all set in an amusement park very close to where we all live.
For the penguin exhibit at Seaworld they have this conveyer belt that carries people slowly past the display. So I was just taking tons of pictures and then running back to the start again over and over (I like penguins). I didn't notice this until I came home and processed the pictures, but if you look at the two pictures below you can see the penguins just before the incident.
See those two in the back with the beady eyes? The ones staring straight ahead trying to looking innocent? You can tell something weird is going on there. Look at their eyes! It's like something out of "Children of the Corn." Those two penguins are psycho! And notice that in both pictures the zoo keeper is keeping an eye on them. She can tell they're up to something.
For some reason she'd turned away from them and they charged! You can see the one on the right running at her, squawking and flapping it's flippers. And just over the bucket you can see the other one charging in from her blind side. I didn't notice this at the time, but in her right hand you can see she is holding some sort of weapon. She must have heard the squawking and looked around just in time. I don't think it's a knife, but it might be a stun-gun or something.
Anyway, at that point I'd reached the end of the conveyer belt and I couldn't get another picture. But here's what I think was happening: The one on the right jumped on the woman and started slapping her with it's flippers. The other one seemed to be making a play for bucket of herring. I didn't see anything after that because I had to run around to the beginning of the conveyor belt again.
When I got back there it was all over. I didn't see any blood or feathers, but the two psycho penguins were gone.
They had a question and answer session after the feeding was over and I tried to ask about the attack, but they wouldn't pick me out to ask a question even though I was jumping up and down and yelling, "What about the penguin attack? What about the penguin attack?" A woman actually turned to me and said, "Hey! Would you shut the hell up?"
Geez..... Everyone else was asking stupid questions: Do penguins have tongues? Do penguins lay eggs? Who cares about that? I got the distinct impression they were covering something up.
I checked the paper the next day but they didn't have anything about it. If anyone else knows about the attack, please let me know.
Penguin frenzy!!! Both times I went to the exhibit most of the penguins were in the water swimming around. The water was a seething tempest of aquatic water fowl. It's sort of amazing how fast those big fat things can swim. When you see them waddling around you assume they're just fat and lazy from being in the zoo, but the guide pointed out that they don't have any enemies on the ice, so there's never any reason to move quickly until they get in the water.
When the little penguins waddle quickly they always stick their flippers out. Notice the one charging towards the feeder, "Yippy! Herring for breakfast again!" Funny that killer whales and penguins eat the same thing. Must suck to be a herring. But then I guess there's not many culinary choices at the south pole. Of course I'm having Thai chicken soup for dinner, which has fermented herring juice as one of the ingredients. So maybe I shouldn't get all "elitist".
Here's a picture of a penguin scratching it's butt. The guide said this was "preening." Right, whatever. That penguin has an itchy bum. I asked the guy why they didn't have little toilet paper dispensers for the penguins. He said they'd tried that, but it kept getting all soggy because of the snow. I suppose that would get messy too. How are you going to get penguins to dispose of used bath tissue?
Another reason I decided to go was that the air was unusually clear so I figured I could get some great pictures from the observation tower. It was pretty good. Here's a good picture of Mission Bay. The tower is a weird thing. You have to sit in your seat and most of the windows are sort of scratched and smudged. So there's this musical chairs rush when everyone gets on and tries to get a good seat. I got a clear window after frightening the family that was originally there.
There's Shamu. Notice that even though the show doesn't start for 45 minutes people are already picking out the good seats. They'll be baking in the sun there wondering what the hell they were thinking. I know. I've been there. You don't get a better view if you come early, you just get splashed with ice cold salt water. I decided it would be better to come late and get a seat high up.
Another picture of Mission Bay. The observation deck ride really doesn't last long and you never have any idea when you're at the top. So I just took bunches of pictures up there. I'm also thinking you will only see the air this clear once every two or three years, so maybe it's worth a few bonus pictures.
I had the mesquite grilled chicken with jambalaya at the diner processing station they had. It was actually pretty good. I think this woman found a mic somewhere and got up on the stage they had. She was telling really weird stories about being stranded on an island and some fantasy life she had with TV characters. It was very odd.
I kept waiting for security to come get her, but they never did. Everyone seemed to think she was part of the entertainment or something. At one point she had some kids come up on stage and make weird noises. I thought about alerting the authorities, but decided to just let it go. The key lime pie was very good also.