Yesterday Devin and I celebrated a day off of a school with a trip out into the bush with my mom and aunt. The last time my mom was here, our tours with the animals were confined to a sanctuary or zoo atmosphere but yesterday we experienced Australian wildlife in their natural habitats. Our tour guides were absolutely wonderful and their passion for wildlife was so apparent in everything they did. For example, we would be driving along when suddenly Scott, one of the guides, would slam on the brakes and jump out of the car with his binoculars to get a closer look at a bird flying past. This tour company is all about exposing people to Australia’s magnificent creatures without disturbing them. A lot of the time animals are tagged with chips to be tracked, but the way these guides find and track the animals is simply by wandering throughout forests and open fields; Mel, our other guide, was out searching for koalas at 7am yesterday morning. If she didn’t find any, that meant we wouldn’t have seen any koalas that day, but luckily she spotted five. And honestly, I don't know how she does it because spotting a basketball size ball of fur high above the ground, camouflaged perfectly in the leaves is something I'm totally incapable of doing. The guides keep track of all the koalas in the area by taking pictures, marking the differences in their noses and fur colors, and highlighting different parts of a map to where a certain koala is usually found, all which is kept in a little booklet. Isn’t that neat and so au-naturel?

We also were able to get up close to a group of wild kangaroos. We were within probably 20 meters of them, moving slowly and talking softly, and all of the kangaroos were totally okay with it. There was definitely something magical about being so close to all of those creatures and taking in all of their magnificent features. From far away all you could see were their ears popping out of the grass, which made it seem like there were just a bunch of bunny rabbits, however once we got closer, we could tell why none of us would ever want to cross paths with an angry male kangaroo. The males were absolutely huge – standing over six feet tall, with arms that made it seem like they do 100 bicep curls twice daily. To help balance out the terrifying size of the males, the females were nice and petite, and the added bonus was that the majority of the females all seemed to have joeys. Some of their joeys were big enough to be allowed out of the pouch and hop around as they please, but there were a few who seemed to be uncomfortably stuffed in their mothers’ pouches. It was like they had dive bombed, head first into their mother’s pouch and couldn’t fit in all the way, so all we could see was their feet sticking out.

In addition to seeing everything alive and well, we also stumbled across a couple of kangaroo skeletons. While it could seem morbid and depressing, it was so cool seeing real bones and being able to piece together a skeleton. All of the bones were so perfectly structured, it seemed unreal. We had a vet with us on the tour and she was able to identify every bone and put it together like it was nothing. It was so neat! 

The last thing I want to do today is leave my mom and aunt, but I have to go to class unfortunately. The past two mornings, I have woken up with the worry that maybe it was just a dream they were here; however those worries are quickly put to rest as I round the corner from the bedroom and see my mom standing there smiling at me. I literally have no reason not to be happy right now, and it is awesome. 


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