Saturday, July 11, 2009

CONASTA at Cradle Mountain

"Look at me posting!", said Piglet.

(And there's more to come.)

Part of the reason for the current visit to the shack was my involvement in an excursion for science teachers at Cradle Mountain. Their society is called CONASTA (you can work out the acronym for yourselves) and the conference proper had been in Launceston, but on Wednesday they came by bus (via Marakoopa Cave) to Cradle Mountain, where I met them at the Lodge.

Cradle Mountain Lodge

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake

Cradle Mountain in July is a bit of a gamble, but in the event the weather was well nigh perfect. It had snowed the day before, but for our field day on Thursday it was bright and sunny, with almost no wind. In the morning we took them round Dove Lake, a six kilometre walk, but pretty flat, and everyone made it, including the person who had just had knee surgery, and they were all very pleased.

Intrepid leader and happy science teachers

After lunch I had to give a lecture, and given a) that they had had an energetic morning, b) that they had just had lunch and c) that the room was very warm, it's not surprising that a few eyelids drooped (nothing to do with the lecturer, of course, who incidentally was still wearing his thermal underwear and sweating like a ....). So it was a relief to get out again, to go and sample some freshwater invertebrates in Pencil Pine Creek, even though the water was very cold.

AMMR using a Surber sampler in Pencil Pine Creek
Water temperature: 3.6C!

On the first evening we all went up the road to "Devils @ Cradle", where there was a very good display of Tasmanian Devils, and their slightly smaller relatives, the spotted-tailed quoll. Everyone got to see (and hear) the devils' charming feeding habits.

Dinner time at the Devil park

Spotted-tailed Quolls are excellent climbers

The Lodge was comfortable, luxurious even, though the neatly stacked pile of firewood in my room was a little incongruous, given that the "wood fire" was actually a faux gas one!

My room at Cradle Mountain Lodge
The un-needed wood is in the corner by the chair.


  1. I was just saying to Jac that we really must go and stay at the Lodge one day and take our Tango for some exploring around there.
    Did you take those photos? They are lovely!
    I especially like the one of you in the freezing river, who ever took it did a great job.
    Glad you and the teachers had fun!
    Jose, Jac and he who won't arrive . . .

  2. As I'm sure you suspected, the pics were all from other more competent camera-wielders. On o the conferences freebies was a wristlet USB drive and a diligent lady loaded them all up with a selection of people's photos (and my talk, though who knows why).

  3. Gorgeous pics, looks like you picked a great time to be there. You ever considered getting some waders for your hands? That water much have ached like all get out!

    I heart quolls.