Erica’s Australian Adventures

Erica Naugle

Wow! It’s finally lecture recess and there is so much going on. I am currently writing to you guys from Cairns. In case that means nothing to you, Cairns (pronounced Cans) is the prime location to access the best reef clusters on the Great Barrier Reef! But before I get too ahead of myself, I had my class field trip earlier this week.

Erica found the staple of Australian animals--the kangaroo  (Photo by Erica Naugle)
Erica found the staple of Australian animals–the kangaroo
(Photo by Erica Naugle)

Surprising enough, it wasn’t the worst way to spend three days. Monday morning, we met at the bus at 6:30 a.m. (because who needs sleep anyway?). Spending the next four hours on a bus, most of that time was devoted to a groggy sleep. Alas, we arrived and the barramundi farm and were greeted by the farm owner and grow out manager. He spoke to us about owning the farm and the types of work involved from raising the fingerlings to packaging and shipping out the full grown fish. He answered any questions from the group and then showed us around the farm.

From there, the class re-boarded the bus and moved onto Mongoli Falls where we were to spend the night. On arrival, we were shown to the bunks (it was like summer camp all over again) and then shown to the mess space. Snags were served with some salad and tea and coffee. We cleared our plates and settled in for the next three hours for lectures on red claw crawfish and rock lobsters. Free time followed and filled in the exploration of the grounds and a hike to the waterfall in which the entire site is named. Dinner merged into an evening fire (which is illegal to have in Australia unless you have a permit) and I taught a few Australians how to roast marshmallows and told them about s’mores (graham crackers do not exist here). The night melted away and the morning was met with breakfast and a four-hour bus ride back to campus.

Wednesday was spent at the Reef Fisheries where Mark, the on site grow out manager, met my class. He took us on a tour of the prawn ponds and told us about the larval rearing process and answered all of our questions. He then cast a net into one of the ponds and pulled out some prawns (shrimp) for a closer observation. We moved about the farm a visited one of the Cobia ponds to see the fish feeding and talk about dietary needs and restrictions. Again, Mark answered any questions we could muster. The day ended in a bus ride back to campus and frantic packing for my departure to Cairns the next morning- stay tuned for details to come next week!

Aussie Slang of the Week
Snag- Sausage
Cut lunch- sandwiches
Maccas- McDonald’s
Sunnies- sunglasses

Have a great week Chargers!