Day 6 - Tuesday

Today was our last day in the mangroves and I will admit to feeling a bit sad about that. It has been an amazing adventure and I will cherish every minute of it….even the sandflies, mosquitoes, spiders and crocodiles!

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Day 5 - Monday

Wow, what a day! I really feel like I have lived through a day of a mangrove scientist. We were on the water at 8 am and at our site by 9am. Jock told us that we would have to take our lunch with us today as we wouldn’t be coming back to the boat – that should have been a sign that it was going to be a trek to the plots. And it certainly was! It actually wasn’t that far but it was the difficulty of clambering through the mangrove roots (Rhizophora spp. – these guys have huge stilt roots) and through mud that made it feel like a lot longer.

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Day 4 - Sunday

Today we had the day off from mangrove surveys and got to play tourist…and what a day!

We started with a trip to the Daintree Discovery Centre which had a series of self-guided tours and boardwalks through the rainforest. I was armed with a camera, a guide book and an audio device which gave information at different locations and then started to explore. First was a mid-canopy walk through the rainforest which took me up eye level with a huge variety of plants. I am used to temperate rainforests and the tropical rainforest are so very different. The diversity and quantity of life is amazing, all fuelled by the plentiful rainfall and sunlight.

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Day 3 - Saturday

The plan for today – try to work faster so we could start to make a dent in the mangrove plots. So we had an early start, leaving accommodation at 7.30, on the water by 8am, back to the first site by 8.30. And so to work; measure the girth, measure the height, identify (we are finally getting better at that!), replace any missing nails/tags/wires, plus spotting any new trees.

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Day 2 - Friday

I was worried about waking up on time today so we set an alarm – definitely needed as it is pretty dark sleeping amongst the trees of the rainforest. After an early breakfast we all chipped in to pack up the gear needed for our first day in the field. It is always amazing how much gear is needed, but when your field site is only accessible by boat, it was important nothing was left behind.

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Day 1 - Thursday

Today started very, very early with a 6 am flight out of Hobart. A deeply uneventful flight (or two) saw me arrive in Cairns. I met with the rest of the crew from Earthwatch (a mangrove scientist, a geologist/turned Earthwatch team member, an artist and another teacher) and we started our mangrove adventure by exploring a local Cairns mangrove community. Jock (the mangrove scientist) tried to impart some mangrove knowledge – however, my brain was slightly mush by then so not much was retained….however, I did manage to take some great photos!

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