What the Waddle meant to Martine

The experience of the Waddle and what it meant to me:

I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more turned out to be quite the appropriate choice of song for the Waddle 2017! I can honestly say that I have never had an experience quite like the Waddle, surrounded by a group of individuals that each brought such passion and commitment towards the reason we were all there, the plight of the African penguin.

I personally have an absolute passion for conservation and the African penguin specifically, having focused my studies, work and general everyday life towards raising awareness for them. Therefore, I found the Waddle to be a truly incredible opportunity as it gave me the chance to share my very own experiences and knowledge towards educating others and helping raise further awareness for the African penguin and our environment. The true reward was seeing first hand the impact that the week had on both the Waddlers themselves and members of the public that joined in along our route, making the entire trip all the more worthwhile.

I must admit it is difficult for me to pick a best day during the Waddle, though I had many best moments that I wish to share with you:

the first day of meeting the team and visiting the gorgeous facility of APSS

  • acquiring my first blister (of only two thank goodness) for penguins on Day 2!
  • ending off our hardest walking day of 30kms at Stony Point and seeing African penguins in the wild, made even more special by it being some of our Waddlers first time ever getting to see African penguins in the wild!
  • making our incredible Penguin Promises (would love it if you took a moment to make your very own)
  • ending off the Waddle to a literal splash at Boulders Beach, running into the ocean and taking a well deserved swim, with a few penguins coming to investigate the commotion being the perfect reward
  • ending off on an ultimate high with my mom arriving with a donation towards SANCCOB to complete the experience.

My plan following the Waddle is to take my penguin promise forward, to continue to say no to single use plastics. Additionally my penguin mascot Stevie continues to travel with me, even hitching along to assist me with fieldwork on Robben Island recently.

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