Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

The Elusive Lorikeet

Posted from Katoomba, New South Wales at 1:09 pm, June 7th, 2024

Yesterday was a travel day so I didn’t post a journal entry, but we said goodbye to everyone from the dive trip, and since the crew only had a few hours to prepare for the next group they fed us and had us off the boat by 8am. From there we spent several hours in the airport – pro tip: the $4 massage chairs in the Australian airports are one of the greatest things ever – then had three hours flying through the air in chairs like ancient Greek gods, and finally landed in Sydney. After landing it was a two-hour refresher course in driving in rain, darkness, and massive traffic as we white-knuckled our way through Australia’s largest city.

This morning, after we both woke up feeling like we were still rocking on a boat, we headed off for a day that Audrey has been looking forward to for months. When I asked her what she most wanted to do in Australia, the answer was immediate and consistent: see a Sydney funnel-web spider. For those (like me) who know nothing about spiders, Sydney funnel-web spiders are one of the only spiders that is both deadly and aggressive, rearing up when confronted, and with a bite that can kill you if not treated quickly. Obviously I was super excited when I first heard that I needed to find somewhere in Australia that was infested with killer attack spiders, but thankfully she was OK with seeing them at the Australian Reptile Park, which has a large collection of spiders that is used to produce antivenom. Luckily we arrived while one of the staff was milking spiders, and Audrey spent about an hour watching multiple Oreo-sized spiders ferociously assaulting the tongs used by the staff to keep them at bay while venom was collected.

The reptile park was also a favorite hangout spot for a large flock of very colorful wild lorikeets, so while my arachnid-loving partner was getting her spider fix I was chasing colorful birds outside. We also took advantage of the park’s “three bags of kangaroo food for $5” special, with predictable results; Audrey didn’t stop smiling for most of the morning after being mobbed by wallabies.

Tonight we’re in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The weather has been rainy and foggy all afternoon, so we haven’t actually seen the aforementioned mountains, but the forecast says the sun will return in the morning. The plan for tomorrow is to see the views and do a bit of hiking before the tour buses from the city arrive with their hordes of visitors, after which we’ll meander back to Sydney via some (hopefully) less-traveled rural roads just to the north.

Lorikeets, New South Wales

Today’s lorikeet photos required all of my stealth and cunning. Photo credit: Audrey.

Lorikeets, New South Wales

The lorikeets were doing some serious posing today.

Lorikeets, New South Wales

Rainbow lorikeets are fairly common in Australia, but I feel like even the Australians who see them every day still appreciate what a pretty bird they are.

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