Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lets go camping

Pats 'stick' Scorpion

Smallish female Australian Sea Lion on the beach in front of camp.

A large female Orb Weaver right in the camp.

The small Bandy Bandy in our Billy. (hows that for clever naming of a species)

Yep, lets go camping in Australia folks, these pics are taken from just one four day camp near Port Gibbon in Southern South Australia.
Other countries have great scenery, great mountain views and forests and lakes...we may have all those things but we're too busy looking down to see what we're treading on...
Of course we all know that the biggest White Pointer Sharks live right here in our waters together with the quite deadly Blue Ringed Octopus and many, many other poisonous sea creatures. Everyone knows that most of the worlds most dangerous snakes come from right here, while I was looking up this small snake I found that of the 27 snakes found here 23 of them are poisonous...hell, that’s near enough 100% for me!
..and spiders? It’s getting too cold for the Red Back now we’re into Autumn, so they can only be found under bark, tin or other cover but now it’s the time for Orb Weavers and other hunting spiders like the Huntsman or Wolf Spider which can be seen pretty much everywhere. One of our campers used his hand to collect the odd little Orange and Black snake (Bandy Bandy) and was very sick the next day and for several days after…though he insists he did not get bitten another camper says it looked like he did.
While I was Googling to see if he was likely to die or not it occurred to me that we Australians are pretty blasé about the deadly critters we share the country with.
Indeed our barefoot kids and grandkids were running around camp and playing while one camper lay sick and I was busy looking up his symptoms on the laptop.
Next day my daughter was busy in the camp kitchen (housework follows you everywhere) and noticed a ‘stick’ stuck to her shoe. Upon further inspection she realized it was a Scorpion she must have annoyed… she now holds the record for the fastest removal of shoes. A day later she was showing me where that happened and we found another one… or the same one that came back. (does anyone know about the homing instincts of Scorpions?)
Each evening the huge Orb Weavers quickly spin a new web to catch as many insects as possible before it gets too cold for them and they have to retire to their hides. The one pictured used the light streaming through the cars window to hunt right in front of us each night. There's nothing freakier than walking through an Orb Weaver web in the dark… you know that spider is in there somewhere. I’ve been bitten by Orb Weavers many times now…it’s about the same as a bee sting.
Danger was not reserved just in the camp though, the sand hills are covered with Snake, Spider and Centipede tracks…BIG poisonous Centipede tracks.. and the beach is home to Australian Sea Lions. Not your cute and friendly Seal types, these Sea Lions grow huge (over a ton) and have teeth like giant Rottweilers. If you surprise them or if you happen to disturb them they chase you with every intention of either crushing you or biting you, I know this from experience as I got too close many years ago and was chased up a sand hill. (OK, so it was only a few metres but it was just as well I had brown underpants on that day) During the day they haul out and lay in the warm sea weed, near enough invisible as you walk by, should you happen to invade their personal space however…
So why do we take these dangers in our stride and ignore the possible threats to our lives?
Fucked if I know!

* No animals were hurt during this camp, however one or two of the campers may still die.



Argentum Vulgaris said...

A virtual tourist's paradise...


magsx2 said...

Hi Tempo,
Sounds like you had a great time out camping. What a great PR for the thrills of camping in OZ. LOL.

I also would of been very worried about the guy that picked up the snake, we have so many variety's of snake you just never know, I wouldn't of taken the chance.

Loved your post, a great read, had a bit of a laugh also.

Princess L said...

Hi Tempo!
It's been a while since I visited your blog (and maybe this is why-haha). Yikes! I'm afraid of June bugs, I can't even imagine hanging with these creatures LOL. You Australians sure have guts!

Spiral said...

Glad you had fun and survived the wildlife. I camped over Easter at a Folk Festival. Thousands of people are more annoying than a few critters LOL!

Sarah said...

I thought I was cooler than my city friends for going "eh" over the bugs they freak out about when we camp in the US, but this puts me to shame.

Windsmoke. said...

Your camp site is a melting pot of deadly critters maybe it's about time you relocated to another one :-).

Pearl said...

Holy crap, Tempo. Minnesota has weather that tries to kill you five months out of twelve, but we've got nothing like what you show here!


Tempo said...

@AV, That's possibly why we lose a few tourists now and then. They come here and expect things to be just like at home.
@Mags, We had the best time..like we do most times, I don't remember one camp where we didn't find lots of deadly critters though.
@Princess L, Long time between drinks and you come back to be frightened away again. We don't have 'guts', it's just the way we're brought up I think.
@Spiral, I totally agree with you Spiral, critters are far more preferable to crowds.
@Sarah, Australia's full of deadly critters Sarah, there's no point in wincing over something that doesn't kill you here. Ive seen Aussie kids playing with spiders that in other countries would be considered very nasty indeed.
@Windsmoke, This is a new campsite, National Parks only recently cleared this one...they forgot to evict the previous tenants though.
@Pearl, Your weather freaks me out and I wonder why you continue to live there. I guess it comes down to what you get used to as you grow up eh.

Kal said...

I swear, I have been to Australia two times and felt blessed to have survived each encounter. The who beauiful place is one big elaborate death trap that you have to be aware of at all times. Even the things that will not kill you can still mess up your days. I was using my sister's computer one day and starting to smell something cooking. Then the computer caught fire. Inside the hardrive we discovered a little lizard guy about the size of my finger who had touch the wrong wire and got himself BBQ'ed right in the drive box.