April 10th - Last Day

Our final day in the field together.

Juli and Liz have work at the Australian Museum in Sydney to deal with, and maybe some attempts at collecting in the Blue Mountains, but as a team we embarked on our last efforts to collect terrestrial leeches together this morning.

It was good to get into some wet dense jungle again with a protective canopy overhead.

Near Yungaburra (to the East anyway) there were some choice spots on stream banks layered with ferns in the midst of eucalyptus trees. Thankfully we managed to gather another half dozen or so of that 4-annulate leech mentioned yesterday.

After lunch and another 3-k hike in the mid-day heat, swarms of mosquitoes on our backs, we were ready to call it quits.

We have almost everything we came here for and then more too. At least two species new to science and of those that were known before, most from their type localities.

We're happy - but tired, and ready to get home.

Tonight we stayed in Cairns. A truly enjoyable town. Atherton had 2 hotels, 4 restaurants, 6 bars and 8 "bottle shops" (liquor stores). Cairns (pron. "Cans"), in contrast is clearly well suited to families, with a long waterfront on the Esplanade complete with a swimming lagoon, free outdoor concerts, and a huge water park playground for children. It's too bad we didn't plan some R&R here as the Great Barrier Reef comes right up to the shores.

We fly to Sydney in the wee hours of the morning and Mark flies home on Wednesday. For those of you who've been reading along... thanks. It's been good for us to have someone to relate all of this to. We won't pretend that it's been all that interesting. Certainly not Earth shattering in terms of science. But it's both what we do and in many respects why we do it. Biodiversity is truly fascinating to us and hopefully we've imparted some of that sense of wonder. Australia is a wonderful country. Full of places of incredible beauty, and some of the friendliest people on the planet. If you've never been here, we highly recommend it.

The only thing we can't figure out completely is why they eat this stuff.