Tuesday, December 13, 2011

South Africa #14: To Braai, or not to Braai?

Penguin biologist Paul Leonard is in South Africa researching African penguins in the wild on Dassen Island, once home to 600,000 penguins. The following is a closing post from the field, where there are only about 8,000 birds today. 

 Of course you have to Braai!

When you come to South Africa, there is a time-honored tradition that you have to experience: The Braai. A braai is this country’s homage to barbequing. There is a specific process that is followed and orchestrated by the pit master. Wood is the preferred fuel of choice with charcoal being the runner up.

Once lit, the fire must be allowed to burn down to just the embers before the food can be cooked. So while the flames dance and the wood crackles, this is when everyone gets a chance to catch up. Our time here on Dassen has come to an end. As we stare at the flames, we reflect on our time here and ponder what future endeavors might yield from the fieldwork. My colleagues ask me how I thought things went and all I can do is grin. “This was an awesome, eye-opening experience,” I say. They laugh and respond with, “Great! We’ll see you back here next week right?”

We all know that the African penguin is facing some very difficult times ahead. Coming to South Africa…teaming up with SANCCOB, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Cape Nature Reserves has given me a new perspective on the work being done for African penguin conservation. My colleagues' continued passion and dedication shows in their daily work. Hopefully, the measures they are taking now will give these amazing penguins a chance to carry on.

Well, the pit master has begun grilling. It’s time to get ready and eat.

We will be leaving tomorrow. That means one more ride on the Storm Petrel…Bring it!

Boston, I’ll be home soon!

Me, Dr. Antje Steinfurth, Leshia and Johan Visagie

Learn about the time Paul spent nursing abandoned chicks to health at a local rescue facility here.

Follow the adventures of Paul's co-worker, Jo! Aquarium educator Jo Blasi is still on the mainland in South Africa learn about African penguins and raising abandoned chicks at SANCCOB through their chick bolstering project! Read about her experience on the Explorers Blog

1 comment:

  1. Hey~ We gwins are so cute! When is someone going to write a book about me -- Tux D'Penguin?? And my adventures.. I've started making some notes...