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In search of limestone caves and snails


Tony Kennedy

A teacher with a passion in getting our younger generation involved in looking after the environment, getting to know other people by learning languages, and getting outdoors.

Sunday, a day of rest! Not whilst on a bush blitz!

After breakfast, we headed to the Jindabyne Community Airstrip and boarded a 7 seat helicopter. We took off and flew to Victoria near the start of the Murray River. We were in search of limestone and snails! No, not the common garden snail but native snails.

Our leaders were once again Dr Chris Reid and Dr Frank Koehler, together with Zoe Bloesch.
The helicopter trip was spectacular! Flying adjacent to the ridge along Mount Kosciusko, which was covered in snow from yesterday's sudden cold change and snow fall. Surprisingly, we passed a lot of what appeared to be dead Eucalypt trees.

On arrival at Muhardies Flat, we got off, put our packs on and walked downhill. We soon reached the Murray River, where we took our shoes and socks off then attempted to cross the river. The water was freezing cold! The rocks underneath were hard to walk on and I almost fell over. We all managed to cross the river. After drying and putting our socks and boots on, we continued our search for a small pocket of limestone and the couple of caves that might have contain native snails.

Sadly, we crossed wetland areas that have become boggy because of wild horses. We also passed by piles of horse dung. Something really needs to be done to control the wild horses as they are causing so much damage to our alpine wilderness.

We searched for beetles, snails, and true bugs. Finally, we stumbled across the caves despite having the exact coordinates from a previous expedition team. On finding this we searched moist areas for snails, and after about 2 hours of searching, we found the shells of seven snails. Several true bugs and beetles were also found.

It was time to head back to our rendezvous point for the helicopter. Crossing the river was easier, it would have been nice to take a swim in the pristine Murray River. Usually a couple of sticks made it easier to cross, and Dr Koehler really helped me by carrying my pack across. We continued towards the rendezvous point. The last 700 metres was agony. The track had a really sharp gradient. Finally, we made it. The helicopter arrived on time bringing lots of wind and dust!

We achieved our goal. We found the limestone outbreak and the caves, as well as the remains of a few native snails.

 We found the limestone outbreak and the caves, as well as the remains of a few native snails.