Tag Archives: Penguin

Japan 2014 – 31 The Kyoto Aquarium in… Kyoto! (2014-10-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 DEC 2015

Talk about a change of scenery. For the last couple of days Ryan and I had been taking in a lot of Kyoto’s well known ancient attractions, in other words, castles, temples and shrines, but now having both seen more than enough in this category, we decided to take a break and check out a few different attractions in this culturally rich city.

So naturally we started with an… aquarium.

DSC07749 the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Opened in March 2012 in Umekoji Park, about one kilometer west of Kyoto Station, Kyoto Aquarium is a small (compact) two-story facility that is divided into nine zones with various themes, and exhibiting a variety of aquatic animals.

IMG_20141007_111700 seals at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Smaller than Japan’s other more famous aquariums, Kyoto Aquarium is a little unique in the fact that Kyoto itself is an inland city and nowhere near the sea!

However, surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto has historically always been water rich, thanks to the abundance of rivers that flow into it, and as such, it then makes sense that Kyoto Aquarium places much emphasis on river aquatic life – in fact, it even has a rather unique outdoor river zone to explore!

IMG_20141007_101738 dolphin show helpers at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

There were lots of preschool groups on school outings visiting the aquarium on the day, which meant that the atmosphere was quite excitable (noisy, but in a good way) – which is probably why Ryan and I then so thoroughly enjoyed the quick but entertaining dolphin and penguin show at the aquarium’s neat little dolphin stadium.

(Confirmed, you can never not enjoy watching dolphins at play!)

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Also, I hugged a rather large salamander.

IMG_20141007_121144 craig lotter hugging a salamander at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

In the end, it was a nice change of pace and an enjoyable enough visit – though it did remind me once again just how much the Two Oceans Aquarium back home in Cape Town really does need a dolphin pool! Sharks aren’t nearly as entertaining…

IMG_20141007_114818 octopus at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Related Link: Kyoto Aquarium (Official) | Kyoto Aquarium

Visiting Stony Point Penguin Colony with Friends (2015-06-27) Photo Gallery 12 JUL 2015

Despite the annual Gordon’s Bay “Festival of Lights or “Winter Wonderland” being in full swing, Chantelle and I saw fit to have fun in a different way, by inviting some friends over to our side of the world for a guest house braai instead!

First activity for the day though: a visit to the penguin colony at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay.

IMG_20150627_133710 kids jumping at the stony point penguin colony in betty's bay

As it turned out, we were blessed with the perfect winter’s day weather for the trip, and Dean, Zania, Evan, Natasha, Michelle and Michael all tagged along with the little ones for a fun trip down the wooden walkway, surrounded by both adult and baby penguins on either side.

(Funnily enough though, this was the least amount of penguins we’ve ever seen there before – I can only assume our timing was a bit off on the day – must have been out hunting is all that I can come up with!)

IMG_20150627_130021 craig lotter at the stony point penguin colony in betty's bay

Nevertheless, the kids had a ball, and of course as any parent to a little one knows, that is literally all that counts! :)

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Things to See in South Africa: Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay (2015-05-03) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 MAY 2015

The African penguin is a species of penguin, confined to southern African waters. It is also widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several related species of South American penguins produce the same sound.

There are three known mainland breeding colonies in southern Africa, one in Namibia and two in South Africa – both of which are located in the Western Cape. The one is of course found at the famous Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town (or Simonstown as some like to call it), while the second is the lesser known Stony Point colony in Betty’s Bay.

IMG_20150503_124901 african penguin at the stony point penguin colony in betty's bay south africa

Betty’s Bay (named after Betty Youlden, daughter of the first developer of the area), if you aren’t familiar with it, is a small holiday town situated on the Overberg coast, located 96 km from Cape Town and nestled beneath the rugged Kogelberg Mountains. It can be reached via the scenic R44 (Clarence Drive) ocean drive between Pringle Bay and Kleinmond and is one of the longest villages in South Africa, measuring in at over 13 km. (Seriously, drive through it and see for yourself!)

Betty’s Bay played host to a large whaling operation during the early 1900s, with a whaling station being built in 1915 and which in its heyday was said to be slaughtering around 300 whales per year for their oil. The whaling station closed in 1930, and some years later a breeding pair of penguins (possibly from nearby Dyer Island) arrived and set up shop in the long since abandoned whaling station site.

And thus the Stony Point penguin colony was born!

IMG_20150503_123132 whaling station remains at stony point in betty's bay

The colony grew, and was initially unfenced and unmanaged, allowing visitors to view the penguins in close proximity. However, this changed in the late 1980s due to an incident where a leopard attacked the nests and killed over 60 of the penguins, and combined with other factors like dog attacks and frequent egg thefts, the area was declared a protected zone and moves were made to ensure its viability.

Today it is a particularly well managed site controlled by CapeNature and is without a doubt one of their cutest attractions!

(And at only R10 entrance fee to see threatened penguins, endangered Whitebreasted and Cape Cormorants and the vulnerable Bank Cormorant, probably their cheapest as well!)

IMG_20150503_123850 jessica, emily and chantelle lotter pose at stony point penguin colony in betty's bay

We probably make the trip through to the Stony Point penguin colony at least once a year, and in fact, this little expedition undertaken on the 3rd of May 2015 was Emily’s second time here – though this time she was actually old enough to take in and enjoy all the sights and sounds!

No wind, a perfect sunny Autumns day, we were in for a real treat in terms of watching penguins cuddle, swim, eat and frolic around. In fact, we were so lucky on the day that Chantelle and I even spotted two large (probably whales) racing away from the area just as we arrived!

Needless to say, cellphone camera in hand, lots of pictures were the order of the day!

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Related Link: CapeNature | Wikipedia

The Batman vs. Dracula My Reviews 06 JAN 2008

Batman vs DraculaLured by the promise of a very large mob heist stash, both the Penguin and the Joker make good their escape from the notoriously easy to break out of Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane. However while the Joker quickly gets taken out by the Batman, the Penguin suffers a far worse fate. Unwittingly unleashing Count Dracula, lord of the Vampires himself through a chain of unfortunate events, Oswald Cobblepot soon finds himself enslaved to the lord of darkness as he begins his quest to take over the city of Gotham – one body at a time.

Of course Gotham’s resident bat, The Batman can hardly overlook this new turn of events – but just how is the very human bat going to take on the supernatural king of all bats? It is a fight for supremacy with the blood of the very citizens of Gotham as the main prize!

Seeing as there is such a flood of direct-to-video animated movies being released nowadays, it seems pretty certain that DC Comics and Warner Bros. Entertainment has to push through a Batman movie in some fashion – pretty much as it has been doing all along these years anyway. So we get Batman vs Dracula, the latest in a long line of Batman animated movies.

Story wise, Batman vs Dracula carries all the story elements that makes a Batman story a Batman story. We have the necessary traditional super villains in the form of the Joker and the Penguin. We have the fist bruising fight scenes we have come to expect from Batman. We have the necessary detective sequences, the necessary dark shadow scenes and of course, the playboy romances associated with Bruce Wayne and whichever woman the story picks for a change. And obviously no Batman movie would be complete without some references to Bruce’s tragic past.

And because we are dealing with Vampires and Count Dracula himself, we get all the necessary vampire lore like the ridiculously effective garlic, crosses and sunlight. And the blood sucking of course, just lest we forget.

By now you might be seeing the point I’m trying to make. The movie peters out as a standard Vampire flick crossed with a Batman adventure, which ends up being pretty boring because it has been done before to death. Hell, even the way Dracula gets defeated is clich’. It is a pity really because I am a Batman fan, but the writing on this turns out very ho hum I’m afraid. Still, it is a classic yarn and I am sure that kids will pull the maximum enjoyment out of this one.

Interestingly enough, Batman vs. Dracula strays far from the now almost traditional Batman Adventures animated style, something that immediately comes across a little jarring to fans of the long running franchise. Instead we get a rounder approach to animation, though still maintaining the overly simplistic style associated with American cartoons (not that the movie was produced by American animators of course. As with most things animated these days, the movie was indeed farmed out to the Koreans for all the animated work). Computer colouring takes the fore as it does nowadays, breathing bright, colourful life into the scenes and although the animation comes across a little softer than what it should for an animated Batman, all the dark mood and tones of the story is effectively captured by the animators.

It is nice to note that despite the simplified lines, the animators have at least put a little effort into the female character models this time, a breath of fresh air when you compare it to the efforts we last saw in later release, Superman vs. Doomsday movie I reviewed a little earlier. Also, Batman does at least look pretty strong and heroic, despite the fact that he looks like he has a bit of a pudding bowl for a head.

However, the new, more bestial design for the Joker stands out like a sore thumb. A complete move away from the traditionally sophisticated yet mad villain, this version does the character an injustice and it is probably the most problematic design throughout the movie.

Designs and style shortcuts aside, the animation is however nice and fluid with good choreography, flawless cinematic tricks and neat eye candy, the movie is good on the eye and you’ll be hard pressed not to admire it for its flow and stylish beauty.

On the sound front the movie doesn’t disappoint either, with a gorgeously atmospheric soundtrack that befits any Batman movie. The voice acting while not bad, is again a little jarring thanks to the fact that no voices from the animated series reprise their role, leading to a bit of dissonance for fans of the animated series.

Overall, despite the fact that this movie treads well trod ground, and holds no surprises for the long time Batman or Dracula aficionado, the movie does a good job in tying these two long running mythos together and presenting a competent, enjoyable movie experience. It might not take any awards home, but it is a good movie and your kids are likely to enjoy it thoroughly.

Which is all that counts in the end I guess :)

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Related Link: http://www2.warnerbros.com/video/batmanvsdracula/