Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cash for crayfish

At last! Something to blog.

I've just had a rapid trip up to the north of the State to earn a little money from a burrowing crayfish. We have several crayfish on the threatened species list here and someone recently raised an objection to new subdivision in Devonport on the grounds that one of these species was living there. So the Commonwealth government recruited Niall Doran and I to go up and check it out. This is just slightly incestuous since it was Niall and I who got the thing Listed in the first place, but since there are not too many crayfish experts to go around we got the job.

So off to sunny Devonport on Thursday and we spent a sweaty and prickly day scrambling through thickets of tea tree and cutting grass (with a few brambles thrown in for good measure, but thankfully no snakes) looking for crayfish burrows. And sure nuff they were there. Mercifully we didn't have to dig any up because this is the only species in the area. We're pretty sure that the subdivision can go ahead if they are careful about where they put the houses, and it was encouraging to meet the developer on site on Friday and hear that he had already devised some plans to do just that.

Crayfish burrow.
Not spectacular, but important!

We had some other jobs to do in the north west so we were able to stay overnight at Boat Harbour and have an expense account dinner at Jolly Roger's on the beach on a glorious evening (oysters au naturel, pesto-baked trevalla, strawberry creme brulee and a bottle of Ninth Island pinot grigio, all thanks to what we saved on accommodation).

On Friday we went to visit a couple who live way out in the bush south of Rocky Cape. They are very keen to have a student use their property for work on the giant freshwater crayfish that live in their creek. They have a wonderful house and garden and four small fluffy dogs who thoroughly enjoy the bush.

Unexpected house and garden.
This was literally miles from anywhere

And this is their own private creek

A giant freshwater crayfish
Quite large, but they get bigger!

Niall Doran is the main driver of The Bookend Trust, which aims to gather funds to support students working on environmental problems. He and will be spending 10 days on a ship full of rich Americans shortly, giving them a few lectures and subtly suggesting that they part with some cash in a good cause. We sail from Sydney to Perth, via Melbourne and Adelaide on the Holland America Line ship Rotterdam).

Watch this space. Internet time is exorbitant on the ship, but I'll try to blog when we are ashore.


  1. Hooray for crayfish!
    Reminded me of camping in the middle of nowhere!
    Snow is wreaking havoc here, crossed fingers in the hope that it won't affect the beginning of the Big Walk!

  2. ooh you're back! Sounds like you've been having a lovely time! And what a dinner eh.

    Looking forward to cruise updates and stuff. Yay

    (sorry I'm a bit slow, haven't had a chance to check any of my blogs the last few days!)