ANDREW GORRIE/Dominion Post
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His crate has been secured to the boat's deck, and Wellington Zoo vet Lisa Argilla, who is travelling with the Niwa team, described the scene this morning.
"He tried to climb out of his crate this morning when we removed the lid! I bet he can't wait to be free now after sensing that he is on the ocean."
He was found sick and confused on Peka Peka Beach in June.
Niwa biologists Dan MacGibbon and Neil Bagley have been specially trained to help Dr Argilla handle Happy Feet on board.
The penguin was looking happy and active this morning, but almost too active to handle, Dr Argilla said.
"He also beat Dan [MacGibbon] up after he was caught for his medication and food, just reminding us all who is boss I guess."
Dr Argilla is blogging about the journey, and said the boat was this morning cruising past the east coast of the South Island.
With the vessel heading in a south-easterly direction, she expected the view to disappear soon.
The sea had been reasonably calm, with some small swells.
She had seen what she believed was a southern right whale cruising along about 40m from the boat, and she hoped to see some more wildlife once Happy Feet had been released.
He will be released into the ocean at 51 degrees, in sub-Antarctic waters.