Scuppers the goose’s new life after adopting duckling
FEARS over the fate of the southern hemisphere's most famous seafaring Toulouse goose have thankfully proven misplaced more than a year after she disappeared from Cairns.
Scuppers the sea goose was once a beloved celebrity of the city's marine precinct where she lived on a boat with Jon and Iris Bom.
She would follow the pair to the post office and hardware store, cleverly slipping into places where dogs and cats would never be allowed - because "no geese" signs are as rare as hen's teeth.
A life on the high seas changed what would ordinarily be a freshwater creature to a salt-loving buccaneer who would cruise along the water's surface with reef sharks below, and dive and swim underwater like a true sea bird.
However, the plucky creature and her nautical caretakers vanished from Cairns about a year ago in search of adventure.
Mr Bom said they were now anchored in Horseshoe Bay at Magnetic Island, where Scuppers had quickly made an impression on the locals.
Even more exciting - she has adopted an orphan.
"She's still alive and kicking the can, and she has a little buddy called Coral now," Mr Bom said.
"Coral is actually a little brown duck."
Scuppers has been an empty nester for nine years now, dutifully building an incubator out of plant material and feather season upon season.
But alas, the eggs she laid were always duds with no gander about to fertilise them.
Mr Bom was buying a bag of feed from Lamberts Fresh Produce in Townsville a couple of months ago when he stumbled across an orphaned duckling peeking out from a corner of the stockroom.
Coral was introduced to Scuppers in the goose run on the side of the pearl lugger's deck, and the pair soon became inseparable.
"My wife thought Scuppers might be charmed by what appeared to be a successful laying," Mr Bom said.
"Now it's eight weeks later and Coral is nearly as tall as her.
"It's quite funny - she now stands more erect than a duck and tries her best to look like a goose."
Mr Bom said his goose would maintain her position as an ardent ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef and the challenges it faced.
"She keeps a close eye on the health of the environment by watching the Reef and its telltale tells," he said.