Well, they had to go sometime, and the dense forest and heath just north of Arthur River in north-west Tasmania had their way with them.
At least it happened after the research part of the trip was complete. The right sole had started to fall off two days before and Gail (trip organiser, people-wrangler and cook extraordinaire) had produced some gaffer tape to bind the sole temporarily.
While walking along the Tamar River footpath in Launceston (pronounced by the locals ‘Lonceston’, unlike the Cornish city which is pronounced ‘Lawnston’), the right sole finally dropped off completely. I limped into the nearby Queen Victoria Museum and asked the desk attendant if he had any tape. He produced the very strong, black cloth tape, perfect for the job, and that allowed me to finish the walk around Lonnie in relative comfort.
It was a marvellous trip, and the leeches and cutting grass were more vicious than the devils. (Which scream at each other for communication and are actually quite timid.) Plus I tripped coming down off a sacred Aboriginal mountain and practically broke my leg – durr!
It was great to take part in field research again, despite the daily crack-of-dawn departures and struggling with the dense Tasmanian bush.
And great to find out the latest on the devil facial tumour disease – there is hope on the horizon.
I’ll be posting a bunch of stuff once I get my head around my field notes. In the meantime, look at this and smile …
… and look at this and weep …
And (oh joy!) I met someone on the trip who shares my secret vice. Rakkatakka!