Outdoors

Bay of Fires

Last month, the Team Tombolo students spent a glorious four days exploring Mt William/wukalina National Park and the Bay of Fires/larapuna as part of the TasTAFE Adventure Tour Guiding Program.

Under the supervision of our fearless leaders Cody McCracken and Gemma Gooley, this was our first opportunity taking on the roles of Operations Managers, Guides and Caterers.

Team Tombolo walked along the coast from Stumpys Bay to Ansons Bay.  Cody and Gemma demonstrated the skills and attributes it takes to be great guides; including memorable interpretation of cultural living sites (middens), the Devonian granite and Ordovician mudstone found in the Bay of Fires; the symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus that creates lichen and the second greatest murder mystery in the Bay of Fires (don’t worry, the murder mystery is solved and we know the culprit is those conical sand snails!).  This interpretation showed us the power of the personal and how the most impactful interpretations are those that come from the heart.

The trip was also an opportunity to see how some of the companies offering guided tours in the Bay of Fires operate.  We learned about the Wukalina Walk and spent one night at their camp site, krakani lumi (“place of rest”), with its very impressive palawa-inspired dome huts.  We also visited the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk Forester Beach Camp and the Lodge, operated by Tasmanian Walking Co.  Our thanks should also go to Rory from the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk for his hospitality in opening up the lodge to us and letting us sample his scrumptious brownie.

As our first run of taking on the roles of Operations Managers, Guides and Caterers, we all gave it a red-hot go.  We learned about the importance of being able to adjust our plans and adapt when situations change, making and communicating firm deadlines for breaks, how repackaging food before embarking on a walk can make a world of difference in pack weight, and how “smoky” is an adjective that can be used to cover up cooking flaws.  Having said that, we were all treated to some really delicious meals and some of us finally nailed the art of rice cooking on an MSR stove.

Highlights of the trip included sighting pods of dolphins (or was it just one pod following us down the coast?), swimming, glorious sunrises and sunsets, our different interpretations of “having fun” in the sand dunes, Chris’s tarp skills and not one, but five Tombolians completing the ‘guide challenge’ at Eddystone Point Lighthouse … with Cody also completing the challenge and proving he still has what it takes.

A massive thank you to Cody and Gemma for being so willing to share their knowledge and passion for guiding.  You are guides we would love to emulate and hope to work with in the future.

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Introduction to Abseiling

For us allured to the vertical life, the first trip away for the students from the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation was an intense, information filled week spent at Freycinet National park.

The training was the first part of our BAI (Basic Abseil Instructor) and consisted of drilling into us the concepts of rigging bomb proof anchors.  Utilising natural features such as monolithic boulders and well girthed trees, the training oversaw and guided us all so that by the end of the week our final products were at an industry standard that even Steve Bannon wouldn’t hesitate to advise Trump to rap off them.

Apart from blue bird days, still calm waters, summer temperatures, great company and getting our vertical fix we were also blessed with the presence of Humpback Whales who came within 50m of the cliffs we were rigging.

Our instructors from the TCIA (Tasmanian Climbing Instructors Association), Stu Scott and Richard ‘Youdy’ Youd provided our group with enough information so that we all left feeling competent and confident.  It was truly a fantastic week.

 

Bay of Fires Bushwalk

The second week of June saw the last trip for the Certificate III in Guiding students and our first overnight hiking trip.  We left Hobart bright and early on Tuesday morning in two mini-buses for the long trip up to Ansons Bay and the Bay of Fires area.

The groups of ten students each, called ‘Larapuna‘ and ‘Wukalina‘ were led by Cody McCracken and Tom Keith respectively, who are alumni from our sister program – the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation course eight years ago and now work for Tasmanian Walking Co.

The new teachers posed a refreshing change in style, with all the students gaining a valuable personal connection with the Bay of Fires region and learning the realities of adventure guiding.  We walked between Stumpys Bay to Ansons Bay via Deep Creek along the Bay of Fires coastline, with the two groups walking in opposite directions.  This trip was ran in a similar fashion as the commercial trip ‘Bay of Fires Lodge’ 4-day walk and was a great learning experience for all.  The dinner provided by the caterers in each group were spectacular, which was a great achievement for the first groups cook entirely on the shellite MSR stoves rather than gas camp stoves.

Hearing the experienced interpretation of the local landscape, continuously engaged and awed students.  Interestingly, we learnt how the beaches became different over the winter months due to increased southerly storm systems, piling up metres of soft sand at the northern end of some of the beaches making for difficult walking.  We also learnt about the Bay of Fires lichen; composition of sand; ocean currents; rocks and Aboriginal History among many others.  The communication skills presented in these interpretations by our teachers provided great examples of how dense information can be communicated simply and concisely – a goal we can all work towards.

Eddystone Point Light House was also a special experience for everyone, learning the history, understanding the granite and seeing Southern Right whales offshore!  Both groups also got the chance to go swimming near several dolphins playing in the surf, which was spectacular.

On the final day, the ‘Larapuna’ group had a wonderful Sun Salutation yoga and meditation session overlooking the ocean at sunrise, ran by our student leader for the day.  After a relaxed morning packing up, we met up with the other group and headed back towards Hobart.  After well-deserved pies for lunch at the Bicheno Bakery, we got back to Hobart in the late afternoon.

As the last trip for the Certificate III in Guiding program and our first overnight walk, we are all keen and ready for Certificate IV in Guiding and the many fantastic winter walks starting in July!

Wilderness First Aid Training

Whilst we all hope the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students won’t ever have to, they’re now ready to treat and manage medical emergencies in the bush, thanks to last weeks’ Wilderness First Aid training.

The students learnt how to treat many different injuries and illnesses ranging from dislocated shoulders, to deadly bleeds and complex fractures.  They also got the opportunity to put their new skills into practice in a staged, multi-causality, night scenario where they had to assess and treat many different patients at once.

Many thanks to Dave Brown, Richard Youd and Pete Rae for their fantastic instruction and to all the people who volunteered as patients for the night scenario!

Introduction – Flat Water Kayaking

Several weeks ago, the students from the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation program conducted their three-day introduction into flat water kayaking on the beautiful Huon River.

Students spent three days learning the basic fundamentals of kayaking, rescue techniques, different types of strokes, operating a kayak safely, loading and unloading and setting up for safe kayak adventures.  The Autumn weather turned it on for the first two days with no rain or clouds in sight, however the third day was a little less favourable!

The highlight was the third day where students paddled for approximately four hours.  The day allowed students to consolidate what they had learnt over the first two days and culminated with some white water induction.

The students had a blast and are hungry for more white water action and will get plenty more opportunities as the course rolls forward over the next six months.

Navigation Assessment

Navigation:

The process or activity of accurately ascertaining one’s position and planning and following a route.

Considered primordial to some, a skill that has been used throughout the world for thousands of years.  Once considered by 12th century Hugh of St Victor as one of the seven ‘Artes Mechanicae’.  Bringing voyagers, globetrotters and pioneers to the ’edge’ of earth, only to help them see that it is actually round, it has helped us traverse across continents, explore parts of the globe that before it, were only known to the wild, and today, more than ever, navigation leads the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students to areas off trail, and deep, deep, within the bush.

The students piled into the bus and made their way towards the central highlands of Tasmania.  Bronte Park awaited their arrival.  The forecast showed flood worthy rain, little to no sun, and temperatures closer to sub zero than double digits.  The students knew the journey they were to embark upon was nothing short of an adventure.  Luckily, that’s exactly what each and everyone of them signed up for.


We spent a total of four days traversing the highlands of Skullbone Plains.  The group was split into two, each with an assessor.  We were assessed on our ability to get the group from point A to B in the most efficient manner whilst using a topographical map and a magnetic compass.  Upon arriving to the given point, the students were asked to justify their movements and positioning by identifying micro features, distance travelled and techniques used to arrive at their given destination.  Students had to demonstrate competency in leading three times to pass the assessment.

After a long cold week, the students hopped back on the bus and made their way back to TasTAFE, where beer and chips became the primary focus of the remaining hours of the day and night.

Till next time!
Enjoy!

 

Expedition Medicine

Expedition Medicine

On the 23rd July, TasTAFE’s Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students took part in an intensive 8 day Expedition Medicine course.  This course was situated at Paton Park, North Motton and consisted of realistic, high pressure scenarios, classroom training and group catering.

We started our week at 6am on a Saturday morning with a 4 hour drive ahead of us.  All efforts to enthuse the group were unsuccessful – Mexican wave, gangsta music and even ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ didn’t raise the crew from their sleepy state!  As usual, upon arrival at the venue, the group established a positive morale which stayed around for the whole week.

We entered the course at a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) level and finished with Advanced WFA concepts and applications.  This included Intramuscular injections, life threatening bleeds, long-term patient care and evacuation procedures.  Furthermore, the course was designed for us to apply our specialist rafting & climbing skills in rescuing patients and efficient evacuations.

Students began this course expecting to build upon WFA skills but what we received was so much more.  The instruction and teaching delivered, combined with intense scenarios encouraged us to think outside the box, problem solve and apply the theory in a practical and efficient way.  Students developed in personal leadership, first aid and teamwork and by the end of the week, it had been one of the most rewarding experiences within our course so far.

Thank you to the staff and volunteers who were involved in making this course happen!

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Photos – Matt Jones

RTO Code:  60142