Last week eight TasTAFE Certificate IV Guiding students took to the luscious crystal clear waters of the Freycinet Peninsula with a goal to learn and teach, practice their newly formed sea kayak skills, form a cohesive bond with their fellow guides, and with the nature around them.
An enlightening and spectacular trip was had by all. The Peninsula offered astounding views, dolphins and seals, quivers of bird life thriving in the remarkable conditions, an evening Aurora Australis after exquisite entrees on the pristine beaches, well-managed campsites and a real get away with almost nobody to be seen. A great learning experience, interpretation on many natural and human facets of the area and accompanied by inspiring teachers.
For four days and three starlit nights these budding guides proved their skills in the field as gourmet caterers producing three course meals every night, warm lunches and breakfasts just this side of decadence. The culinary experience was fortified by fresh local scavenged snacks of Neptune’s Necklace beads of juicy seaweed fresh out of the ocean, and an evening of Calamari squid caught off the kayaks and fried up on the MSR stoves.
Days were spent being hovered over by inquisitive and majestic Wedge-tailed eagles, the sounds of cuckoos and pardalotes wheeling their carts in the campsites and the occasional thumps of larger native fauna.
This time of year brought the vibrant colours of wattles in flower, burning sun and the anticipation of whales calving in the warming surrounding waters. Young seals spent time waving at the colourful group paddling through their neighbourhoods, while the sunsets and sunrises filled the skies every morning and evening with colours so vibrant and sharp they would make any cartilaginous fish such as the shark, seem toothless in comparison.
The Peninsula’s incredible beauty and millennia of rich history is owed to the Toorernomairremener people, part of the Great Oyster Bay Nation of 600-700 Aboriginal Tasmanians. During winter they would feed on the plentiful shellfish and marine vegetables of the area, travelling to the highlands of Ben Lomond during the Summer months to collect skins. Large shell middens scatter the coastal landscapes we paddled past. These are significant remains and testament to the sustainable management of the area by the Aboriginal people for thousands of years, sites that are protected by law and are today of great significance to their descendants.
The Freycinet Peninsula Escapade was a great success and we hope that anyone visiting this place will look after it, as it has been looked after for so long.