Well, I managed almost two full days of photographing bees at the Victorian Museum after meeting up with bee expert and senior curator, Ken Walker. While I wasn’t in the museum, I got to catch up with a bunch of friends local to Melbourne, Byron, and QLD (Seeing as everyone seems to migrate to Melbourne)! So Melbourne was a good time, I’ll need to spend a couple more evenings there on my return as who knows when I’ll see them next (I intend to make it sooner rather than later this time).
After all of these meets and photos, I finally had to go and catch the ferry across to Tassy. An hour and a half of sleep was all I needed (all I got) to drive to the ferry terminal and await boarding. The boarding process took over an hour, I managed to stay awake for the whole time, but not the whole time on the ferry!
Well, as it turns out you aren’t allowed any fruit or veg on the ferry (no worries), but you also aren’t allowed any flammables including fuel in a jerry can (into the car, plus some of another guy’s fuel) and absolute ethanol… ooops!
Obviously, I needed to start my hunt for bees ASAP, as this is the only reasonable thing to do when encountering a new place. So I drove around with a vague destination in mind – Gowrie Park, near Sheffield, where my roommate and some of her lab were camped. Unfortunately for them, they are plant people and were forced to work with boring leaves and branches…
Needles to say I did find some natives as well in amongst all of the introduced species. But most of those were found on the weedy little flowers covering the ground next to this garden plant!
Chrissy and her lab were busy ahhh, working up the Cradle Mountain walk, so I waited in the car park taking photos of bees and disturbing other motorists (I assume, I just don’t look outside). Anyway, the lab head, Leander came speeding back to the car on foot and took off in a bit of a hurry.. I guessed that I wouldn’t be seeing them in a hurry then! …They had missed the last shuttle bus back, or so they thought. Anyway, I decide to make my way to where they would be camping, in my slow and meandering stop here and there way!
Now that was a bit of a picture tangent! I did eventually meet up with Chrissy and her lab in their cabin, where I was to stay the next two nights! Of course they beat me there besides my sizeable head start! After much good-natured chat and braiding of hair (fortunately not mine), we all got to bed to go our separate ways the next day!
I don’t have a great deal to share from the next day’s bee hunting, but I did manage to find four more species in a plant out the front of a lovely couple’s house, who came out and had a chat to me and were surprised to see something other than the bumblebee (“Those bloody bastards” – a bit of paraphrasing there but you get the idea) and the European honeybee (“Bush bee”). I did roam out almost to Launceston before coming back, as the more East I went, the less natural bush and flowers there seemed to be!
I decided to bugger off to the North-Western corner of Tassy the next day to see what I could find! I did see plenty of flowers, including various coloured Eucalypts (great for native bees)! But, I was thwarted by the poor weather, so I had a wet drive out, a wet stay, and a wet drive back the next day! Just as I had decided to camp near Launceston though, the clouds broke and the sun poked out from the clouds, quickly drying the roads and allowing me to make my way closer to Hobart! And so now, I am camped in Kempton. Tomorrow I might find Chrissy and her lab, and hopefully some bees!
Kilometres travelled: 20 500