More amazing Tasmanian wildlife…US football on Tasmanian TV today!…Meerkats and more…

Meerkat are marsupials of the mongoose family. For more information on meerkat, see the quote below.

Although the Vikings lost too many games to participate in the NFL Playoffs, Tom is still interested in watching the games to see how the teams will be determined for the upcoming Super Bowl on February 5th, February 6th, in this part of the world.

This was the best shot we could get of the koala who was sound asleep, as usual. These laid back marsupials move slowly and sleep most of the day.

Based on the fact that the playoffs are on TV here at Penguin, we’re anticipating the Super Bowl will be shown in Hobart and its surrounding areas where we’ll soon be moving. In fact, we leave Penguin a week from now.

Koala’s nose pressed against the tree as he slept.

As we begin to wind down for our next location in the Huon Valley, we’ve started using all of our perishable foods and gathering items throughout the house. This particular move will be easy since we don’t have to concern ourselves with baggage weight. 

This photo taken in July, 2015 took our breathe away.  This is a mother Koala with her joey in the pouch (which is the name for all marsupial offspring). A koala joey is the size of a jelly bean with no hair, no ears and is blind at birth. Joeys crawl into the mother’s pocket immediately after birth, staying there until about six months.  To see the post from this date, please click here.

Next Sunday, we can pack. I will prepare the final expenses for the six weeks we will have spent at Penguin to be downloaded next Monday before we depart. In looking at the preliminary expenditures, it seems we spent a little more on Penguin than we did on other islands.  

Meerkats stand on their hind legs to be on the lookout for predators and a possible meal.

Meerkats (from this site)

“These gregarious animals are often seen in groups, and several families may live together in a large community. Squirrel-sized meerkats are mongooses famed for their upright posture. They often stand on their rear legs and gaze alertly over the southern African plains where they live. Mothers can even nurse their young while standing.

Meerkats (also called suricates) work together in numbers. A few will typically serve as lookouts, watching the skies for birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that can snatch them from the ground. A sharp, shrill call is the signal for all to take cover.

While a few individuals guard the group, the rest busy themselves foraging for the foods that make up their varied diet. Meerkats will eat insects, lizards, birds, and fruit. When hunting small game, they work together and communicate with purring sounds. Meerkats are good hunters and are sometimes tamed for use as rodent-catchers.”
Few perceive living in Australia as “cheap” especially compared to the low cost we incurred living in both Fiji and Bali for a total of eight months over these past twelve months.

Aside from an upcoming three and a half months we’ll be living in Costa Rica beginning on August 1st,  at this point we don’t have specific plans to stay in the same property for longer than two to three months. 

I missed the shot of this goat atop this fence. Moments after she jumped off, she let us take a photo.

Although we’ve loved Penguin, we’ve particularly found six weeks to be a good period of time to stay in most places, as in Phuket, Thailand in 2016. That’s not to say we’d have been disappointed to stay in Penguin a full three months. We’ve loved every single day and will be sad to leave.

When we noticed this Billy goat, we waited a few moments for a better pose.

But, a world journey is just that, a world journey, and our goal is to stay on the move. Of course, there’s the financial considerations.  Staying put three months or more ultimately reduces the overall costs. 

Baby goat posing for a photo.

With all the cruises we’ve embarked upon with much higher “daily rates,” from time to time, it makes sense to stay put long enough to average out the costs. In a mere 12 months, we’ll be taking the cruise to Antarctica, the most expensive of all of our cruises in the past and booked into the future.

Today, with football games on TV, it appears we’ll be staying put.  Its a beautiful sunny day. Maybe when the games end, I’ll be able to talk Tom into a walk to the gorgeous park down the beach.

At last the above Billy goat complied, moving closer to us for a better photo. 

Lately, on sunny days, I’ve been sitting outside on the front veranda for 20 minutes of Vitamin D which I’ve missed since we left Bali on October 30th. The sun and warmth feels fabulous after a number of cloudy, cool and rainy days since we arrived in Tasmania on December 3rd.

For those of you in the “frozen tundra” we wish you safety and well being. For those in blissfully warm climates, we wish you sunshine!

Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2016:

The ship docked at the Port of Melbourne, one year ago today. For more details, please click here.

Tasmanian wildlife…Amazing surprises! Kangaroos and wombats!

Joey head and legs hanging out of the pouch.

When we arrived in Australia 19 months ago (after a cruise from Hawaii to Sydney), we flew in Trinity Beach which is located 20 minutes from Cairns in the northern territory/state of Queensland. 

He was an enormous male.    If he’d been standing, he’d be as tall as Tom. His musculature was impressive.

We lived in a nice property with stunning views of the ocean, mountains and hills anticipating that we would see a lot of wildlife. Not surprisingly, there was little wildlife in the residential area in which we lived.    We were more than interested in exploring. After those first days, we were looking forward to seeing our first kangaroo. 

This made us laugh. Only the joey’s legs were sticking out of the pouch.

Our landlord directed us to a nearby field close to the highway where both kangaroos and wallabies resided, relatively easy to spot. We couldn’t have driven there quickly enough.

Mom and joey enjoying the sunny day anticipating treats from visitors.

Once we arrived, we realized we were too far from the kangaroos and wallabies to be able to take good photos. Over those three months in Trinity Beach we returned to that field many times hoping for a better photo, a few of which may be found in this post.

This mom didn’t hesitate to put her joey in a downward position for a handout.

From this site:

“Unlike the young of most other mammals, baby kangaroos are highly underdeveloped and embryo-like at birth. After a gestation of up to 34 days, the jellybean-sized youngster makes the journey from birth canal to pouch by clambering up through its mother’s fur. Once safely in the pouch, the joey suckles solidly for just over two months. 

At around six months, once the youngster is sufficiently well developed, it will leave the pouch for short periods, returning when it needs to feed. Red kangaroos leave the pouch for good at around eight months and continue to suckle for another three to four months; gray kangaroos leave at about 11 months, continuing to suckle until they are as old as 18 months.

Interestingly, female kangaroos are able to suckle two youngsters simultaneously – one in the pouch and one outside, offering two different types of milk, as well as having an egg ready for implantation.”

We made a lot of noise in an attempt to get this wombat to look up for a photo.  It was chow time. Note how he’s  more interested in eating the starchy pellets instead of the slice of pumpkin and the apple, somewhat like humans.

Eventually, after driving through more remote areas and not spotting any wildlife, we decided we couldn’t live in Australia for these extended periods and fail to see its wildlife, unique to the continent. As a result, we contacted the Cairns Tropical Zoo (a rescue facility) to ask if they’d host our visit, give us a tour and share details we could publish for our readers. They were delighted to assist.

Finally, he picked up his head for a side view, immediately returning to his food.

Here’s the link to one of the zoo posts we published at that time. This particular visit in the Cairns area was a little more expansive than our recent visit to Wings Wildlife Park which had a few less species.

Too big for the pouch, but still nursing. As stated above in quotes, joeys can nurse up to 18 months after leaving the pouch.

Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed visiting Wings Wildlife Park, which provides for a few more hands-on experiences than in Cairns. Each facility of this type, including many others, we’ve visited in various parts of the world, have their own unique offerings, providing the visitor an opportunity to appreciate the wildlife more commonly found in each country.

This young kangaroo was relaxed, hoping for a handout.

The kangaroos, seen up close and personal, were a particular highlight of our recent visit, especially seeing the not-so-shy guys firmly enclosed in the safety and comfort of their mom’s pouches.


As we wandered the facility up and down a number of steep inclines and hills, we took dozens of photos many which we’ll continue to share over these next several days, even with new topics we’ll post unrelated to the zoo.

The kangaroos have a huge natural habitat in Wild’s Wildlife Park, which is obviously conducive to procreating successfully in captivity. These two moms both have joeys in their pouches.

The only disappointment in visiting these types of facilities is the difficulty in taking photos of some amazing birds and small creatures enclosed in tightly woven mesh/fences. We’ll include the few good shots we managed along the way.

This joey looked somewhat large to still live in her mom’s pouch.

We hope you all have a lovely weekend engaged in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment as we’ve found in this wonderful place, this Tasmania.

Photo from one year ago today, January 7, 2016:

Tom, for the first time ever, ordered a Caramel Macchiato on the Celebrity Solstice one year ago today. It became his “go to” coffee drink at the Café el Bacio, where each morning we prepared the post. For more details, please click here.

Finally, we saw the notorious Tasmanian Devils..A video!….Fabulous day out!

In fact, the devils of Tasmania are not as ugly as expected, except when they show their teeth when threatened. The photos we’d taken of the rescued animals, the intent of Wing’s Wildlife Park, left them little reason for them to feel threatened in the spacious habitat in which they comfortably live in the park among other like animals.

Our short video about the Tasmanian Devils.

We didn’t know quite where to begin sharing our photos from yesterday’s visit to Wing’s Wildlife Park in Gunns Plains, Tasmania. There was a wide range of native wildlife only to Australia inspiring us to take many photographs that we were excited to share.

Over the coming days, we will publish photos in groups of animal types based on the fact that we have too many to publish in a day. For those of our readers less interested in wildlife, please “bear” with us. 

The natural habitat included hollowed out tree trunks, stumps and isolated areas to comply with their natural instinct to burrow at certain times.

Then again, when we’ll be in Antarctica in 12 months and Africa in 13 months, neither of which will be able to resist posting wildlife to the point of being ridiculous. For us, as we’ve mentioned many times, the greatest joys in our travels are surrounding wildlife, vegetation, scenery and culture.

Yesterday’s visit to Wing’s Wildlife Park especially appealed to us based on the facility’s goal of presenting rescued animals. We have little interest in regular zoos when animals are purchased, kidnapped and taken with the intent to be trained for show’s to satisfy the public’s curiosity. 

Posing for a photo.

Over these past few years we’ve visited a few such places that were indeed rescue facilities, but the animals “performed” or were ridden by visitors. Such was the case when we visited Moholololo Elephant Rescue facility in Hedspruit, South Africa three years ago this month.

We’d heard that the elephants were rescued and care for by some the finest rescue people and support staff in Africa as outlined in the story we posted here. At that time, we passed on the elephant ride uncomfortable with the concept. Instead, we each did a short walk with an elephant holding our hands with their trunks a shown in the photos from that post.  

I tried to get a teeth baring photo when three Tasmanian Devils were playing a bit, but it happened so quickly, I missed the shot.

In a seminar we attended upon our arrival the presenters explained that the elephants were treated with loving care and were unable to be returned to the wild due to injuries and disabilities preventing them from being able to sustain life. 

As a result and due to a lack of funds, donations from the public and fees to enter the facility helped offset the cost of the elephant’s care and quality of life.

Taking a sip in the pond.

Its under these types of circumstances that we appreciate and understand the intent of wildlife rescue facilities, especially when we’ve witnessed their loving care.

On the other hand, a regular zoo, has little appeal to either of us with this one caveat… when we visit Minnesota and if, our grandchildren want  us to go with them to visit the popular Minnesota Zoo, we won’t say no. 

They almost looked quite huggable.

Sometimes, we have to put aside our principals for a short period in special circumstances. A day later, we can return to our beliefs and ethics, especially knowing we’ll be back in Africa a mere six months after leaving the US for the family visit. 

Visiting Wing’s Wildlife Park left us with a good feeling. The public is allowed to feed and pet many of the animals who seemed to enjoy the attention and of course, the food. 

A warm sunny day kept this little fellow lounging in the sun for a nap.

Their areas were clean with plenty of appropriate food and vegetation befitting the nature of their species.  When the staff entered the various habitats, the keepers voices expressed loving and gentle tones that the animals seemed to respond to with enthusiasm.

The fees to visit the facility was a little high for this area at AU 23, US $16.89 per person. We hadn’t called in advance requesting they waive the fees for our story which occurs in many instances. In this particular case, we chose to keep it low key and simply enjoy ourselves at our leisure.

On the road to Gunns Plain we stopped for photos at an overlook. Sadly, this Tasmania Devil was lying dead in the grass, most likely hit by a car. We’ve seen considerable road kill in Tasmania. The roads have no shoulder and many nocturnal animals are killed at night when motorists aren’t able to stop in time to avoid hitting them.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with other wildlife photos and look forward to “seeing” you then! Thanks for being an integral part of our life of world travel!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2016:

As we boarded the ship one year ago, we noticed it was still decorated for Christmas. For details of a medical emergency prior to boarding the ship and how we handled it, please click here.