Swimming in drink: Dirk the penguin's encounter with Wales
Wales v penguin ... Little Dirk encountered two drunk Welshmen at Sea World.
Two tourists went on a vodka binge before stealing a penguin, swimming with dolphins and letting off a fire extinguisher in a shark enclosure at a Gold Coast theme park.
A former British Royal Marine and his bricklayer mate have admitted breaking into Sea World after getting blind drunk at a beach party last month.
The Welshmen, who are on working holidays in Australia, drank 1.5 litres of vodka between them before deciding to have an up close and personal experience with Australian wildlife.
Rhys Owen Jones, 21, formerly of the Royal Marines, and brickie Keri Mules, 20, pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court today to trespassing, stealing, and keeping a protected animal.
Dressed in a penguin tie, lawyer Bill Potts told the court his clients meant no harm to Dirk the fairy penguin.
And when they awoke with hangovers and found the bird in their room they tried to care for it by feeding it bread and putting it in the shower.
He said their actions were immature and stupid, but there was no malice involved.
"I'm not sure if a little bird popped into their heads but they thought a swim with the dolphins might be nice," he told the court.
"Then on their way out they had what might be described as a 'Biggles moment'. They thought it might be a good idea at the time," Mr Potts said, referencing the hero of the Biggles series of adventure books for boys.
Unlike the movie The Hangover, where a group of partygoers awake to find a ferocious tiger in their hotel room, his clients found a frightened penguin.
"They tried their incompetent best to care for the penguin," Mr Potts said.
They eventually decided to release it into the nearby Broadwater, not realising it was at risk of becoming a meal for a bull shark.
The bird was later rescued and returned to Sea World, safe and well.
Mr Potts tendered a letter of apology to Sea World and the Australian public.
Both men deeply regretted their actions and were embarrassed by the international media coverage of their exploits.
Magistrate Brian Kucks accepted an appeal not to record convictions against the pair, because it would ruin their hopes of one day living in Australia.
He fined them $1000 each and said they'd been lucky not to have drunkenly stumbled into the polar bear enclosure.
"You could have found yourselves in a morgue if you'd gone into the wrong enclosure. Perhaps next time you are at a party you will consider drinking a little less vodka".
James Vasilj, 18, who was with the pair on the night and is facing a single charge of trespassing, had his case adjourned to June 27.