The other thing that was so striking was the sheer number of volunteers.
Up to 1,000 people a day came to the rescue center.
Eventually, over the course of this rescue, more than 12-and-a-half thousand volunteers came from all over the world to Cape Town, to help save these birds.
And the amazing thing was that not one of them had to be there. Yet they were.
So for the few of us that were there in a professional capacity, this extraordinary volunteer response to this animal crisis was profoundly moving and awe-inspiring.
So the day after we arrived, two of us from the aquarium were put in charge of room two.
Room two had more than 4,000 oiled penguins in it.
Now, mind you -- three days earlier, we had 60 penguins under our care, so we were definitely overwhelmed and just a bit terrified -- at least I was.
Personally, I really didn't know if I was capable of handling such a monstrous task.
And collectively, we really didn't know if we could pull this off.
Because we all knew that just six years earlier, half as many penguins had been oiled and rescued, and only half of them had survived.
So would it be humanly possible to save this many oiled penguins? We just did not know.
But what gave us hope were these incredibly dedicated and brave volunteers, three of whom here are force-feeding penguins.
You may notice they're wearing very thick gloves. And what you should know about African penguins is that they have razor-sharp beaks.
And before long, our bodies were covered head to toe with these nasty wounds inflicted by the terrified penguins.