It seems to be the only law that never gets broken.
Some months ago I bit the bullet and did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while; I signed up for a 3-week dragonfly hunting trip in Australia. Well, three weeks once the flights are taken into account. There was a similar trip a year ago but the dates didn’t work out for me. This time, the dates were perfect so I went for it.
I am one of a three. Our fearless leader did what appeared to be an excellent job putting together an itinerary targeting several specific species. Here’s the kicker: this year’s tour was to be based around Brisbane, south Queensland. A little while ago, Australia, in its early spring, began being ravaged by what I think are unseasonably early wildfires in both New South Wales (where they seem to be more widespread) and South Queensland. Brilliant! Thank you, Sod. We are basically flying into the fires and the National Parks were where we were intending to hunt.
We are all still keen to go and I’m currently in the BA Terminal 5 lounge waiting to board the flight on my first leg bound for Hong Kong. Besides, I have a non-refundable ticket and travel insurance would be no use since, although many of Australia’s National Parks may be closed because of the fires, Australia itself is still open for business. Since our first plans involved initially heading south from Brisbane and crossing the border into New South Wales, our leader, Phil, has revised his itinerary. I suspect that the situation on the ground may be so fluid that we will have to react to new situations once we are there.
My companions are both much more experienced with Australian Odonata than am I. I will be very content seeing almost anything, since my current ad hoc Australian species count is just about 10, there being some 340 species on that beautiful continent. My companions were targeting specific species new to them. Frankly, I simply love Australia and will be very happy just spending a holiday there. Most of it will be new to me; it’s certainly an area I have not previously visited.
Holiday? Well, yes, clearly. However, I should point out that this is a so-called recce trip paring costs to a minimum. We will be camping in small backpacking tents. We are taking the gear with us. I have had to purchase a 2-man backpacking tent, a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat. I haven’t slept on the ground in over 30 years. This is going to be interesting. Since I now no longer sleep soundly in a comfortable bed at home, how much worse can it be? [I’ll answer that question in three weeks time.]
If a wildfire approaches too close for comfort, I will have no compunction abandoning my tent; it cost a mere £75. I have to say, though, that it looks the part; I’m quite fond of it even though I have yet to use it. Maybe that should read because I have not yet used it?
It’s 13 hours to Hong Kong where I have four hours to pass before my 2nd leg which is nine hours to Brisbane. Watch this space.