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The untold story of a dancing penguin on an Antarctica cruise

Ever think that a dancing penguin was something that was just reserved for movies? Think again. A newly published memoir of a ship captain details how a real life dancing penguin brought inspiration and joy to people

"People from all over the world would sign up for this Antarctica cruise", explained Tommy Bellows, the ship captain. "Sure, there were other cruises they could be on, but this was unique and rare. All thanks to a special little penguin."

Sometime in the 1980s, members of the crew noticed that a special little penguin would appear on the iceberg. This penguin would perform what appeared to be tap dancing tricks and skills.

"I took tap for a number of years", said Gavin Star, a crew member on the ship. "I knew those tap dancing steps anywhere. It was so odd to see a penguin performing them for the members of the crew."

The crew gave it not a second thought, until the second run of the cruise. The same penguin was back, dancing again for the people on the Antarctica cruise.

"We started to notice that the penguin would only come out for our ship", explained Star. "It was really weird. People all over the ship would gather around to see the penguin dancing. That was when we knew we had to market this somehow."

The members of the crew never disturbed the penguin's habitat, but they did start to use it as a marketing item. Once marketing started for the dancing penguin, people from all over the world were signing up for the Antarctica cruise.

"We had people from Italy and China asking to take part in the cruise", said the ship captain. "It was really amazing. They all said they wanted to see this dancing penguin firsthand for themselves. It was really inspiration."

It is believed that over a million people were able to catch a glimpse of the penguin. The penguin would perform once a day and the people on the ship would gather to watch it.

Many scientists and animal experts have tried to discover how or why the penguin learned its tricks, but they have been unable to find out that information.

"It is just something that is really weird", said the ship captain. "How this penguin learned the steps and all that is just amazing. No one taught it to do that, which is what makes it even better."

The captain's memoir talks about how the penguin changed his life and those that watched it dance. The memoir will be published sometime next year.

by S. C.
02 december 2013, Food & Fun > Travel

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