I guess it’s my own fault really, perhaps wandering about in the rainforest in sandals was not such a brilliant idea. I had the “Hunters” in the car but it was so warm at 28º that I didn’t bother to change. Anyway, as usual I was attracted by the sound of running water so climbed down under the bridge and started rock hopping to get to the positions I wanted. They were slippery so it wasn’t long before I fell into the water. Thought nothing of it as it was quite warm and continued taking photos; I’m convinced that was not where I picked up the little blighter!

After the river we continued walking through the forest on a designated footpath until we reached the spot known as Badger’s Weir. This is a water collection point for Melbourne water authority where about 75% of the river water is diverted to a nearby reservoir. There were lots of people there just enjoying the warmth of the day, kids paddling barefoot in the river, the adults watching on leisurely.

Then we noticed there was some local discussion about one of the nearby kids who had picked up a leech which was by this time becoming quite large. A quick check soon discovered one of the disgusting little things was under the strap of my sandal and sucking away quite happily. Naturally I plucked it off which was the instinctive thing to do but apparently not the wisest course of action as the anticoagulant in their sucking mechanism will allow the source of entry to continue bleeding.

I wonder how many of the lovely little creatures the boy in the photo took home with him? Next time I’m going to change into something more sensible for trampling through the rainforest undergrowth!

A few days previously I had been in a similar situation in extremely dubious-looking water at a place know as Kow Swamp. I had seen photographs of this location on flickr and knew it was a “must see” place if I was likely to be in the vicinity whilst on my holiday in Australia. When I first saw the swamp I was a little  disappointed as the photos I had seen showed a serene view with still water and a lakeside beach with dead trees sticking out of the water. The reality is only too plain to see, the water level was extremely high making it extremely difficult to get near enough to any of the standing trees to get wide angle close-ups; the lake was also very choppy and muddy brown, with quite large waves breaking onto the shore.

Fortunately I had brought my “Hunters” to Australia with me as I knew I was likely to visit some damp locations needing protective footwear and this was one such place. All manner of nasty creepy-crawlies were in that water and on the foreshore and I was grateful of the foot and lower leg protection. The bonus, of course, was that hugely dramatic sky which just helped add to the drama and evilness of the views! The photographs I took were all within a 200 metre strip of the lakeside edge as it was very difficult to get through the undergrowth and marsh surrounding much of this vast lake. Ideally a guide familiar with this spot would have been very welcome.

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