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Navigation Skills

Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students hit the bush again recently.  The vibes were high and the snow flakes were falling.  The students spent the four days consolidating off track Navigation skills such as walking on a bearing, interpreting micro features in the landscape and observation of vegetation changes.

The group split in to two teams, and were lucky to be accompanied by Instructor and legend Sue Beaumont and Teachers Assistant and champion Ash Kestle.

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Freycinet – Tombolo Group

With our long-awaited journey along the Overland Track cancelled due to the wild westerly weather and waist deep snow, Team Tombolo headed out to the (mostly) sheltered Freycinet Peninsula for four days to practice guiding and interpretation in the field.  On day two, we climbed over Mount Graham and across the saddle in extremely windy conditions, and got to experience first-hand what we have learnt in our unit: Interpreting Weather Conditions in the Field.  We were all feeling pretty glad not to be battling through blizzard conditions at Pelion Gap!

Each of us had a chance to lead our group of student-guests, practicing the art of the briefing, keeping track of group morale, and learning about the importance of the mid-afternoon coffee break.  The weather really put on a show for us, and what a vantage point to see it sweeping across Great Oyster Bay and out to sea!  Amidst all the wind and rain, we learnt some really valuable lessons from our teaching leaders – Tom Keith and Gemma Gooley.  It’s always so valuable to be in the field with leaders with so much experience, leading guests through these wild places!

As well as being tasked with leading the group, each of us had to present a series of situational interpretation in the field.  We learnt about the hardy drought-resistant and competitive coastal flora, fire-sensitive pine trees, seals, and LOTS of whales!  It was so much fun to join in the group activities and a really great way to break up the walking.  Everyone really rose to the challenge and there were some great lessons learnt in the art of interpretation!

After a few weeks in the classroom ticking off assessment after assessment, it was really great to get back out on track!  We were able to solidify all that theory we studied with real (and challenging!) experiences in the field!  From the in-field navigation, to seeing massive seams of Quartz in the Devonian Granite, and of course experiencing first-hand the wind-funneling effect in the Mount Graham/Freycinet Saddle.  Watching everyone stretch those guiding and interpretation muscles, and even stepping into the roles ourselves, we could really see how far we’ve come over the last 8 months!  Not long now and we’ll be putting this all into practise with real guests!!

Off-Track Navigation

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently headed to the East Coast for two days of Off-track Navigation.

In the Wielangta State Forest, students honed their navigation skills in challenging (scrubby undergrowth) yet beautiful floristic structure with large eucalyptus towering above.  We had originally planned a four-day trip to the Central Plateau, however a gale warning prevented that.

Students and instructors also had to deal with the giant leeches.  Yeech!

Thanks to all students that attended and Renee and Sue for imparting their navigation knowledge.

White Water Rescue

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On Friday the 2nd of September the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation crew set off north for the White Water Rescue Short Course running at the North Esk Memorial Hall over two and a half days.

Arriving at the hall just after 11 am, and running the course for 27 participants we had our work cut out for us.  Between unpacking gear, getting set up, and people arriving there wasn’t much time spent relaxing.

After everything was set up and everyone had arrived, we got underway with our first theory session and then into some dry land throw bag practice to test out people’s power and accuracy before we moved into the dynamic white water.  We headed down to Corra Linn on the North Esk where our practical sessions were taking place.  Starting out with some river crossings, river swimming and live water throw bagging we soon warmed up in the cold water.  After many rescued swimmers, we headed back to the hall for some dinner and more theory.

Saturday morning arrived and into the theory we dove, learning about river hydrology.  After that was covered, we did some dry land foot entrapment rescues before lunch.  Once again heading to Corra Linn after lunch for some practical time in the water.  This time we had a crack at some harder river swimming, swimming over strainers and real-time foot entrapment rescues.  Once everyone was feeling more confident in the white water we once again headed back, this time to do some dry land mechanical advantage systems for stuck rafts by the light of our head torches.  Dinner was welcomed before another theory session followed by bed time.

Another early morning on Sunday, we learned about how to deal with stubborn kayaks that wedge themselves between rocks.  This time we headed to the river before lunch where the instructors set up three stations.  First was a tethered swim, second a tensioned diagonal rope used to cross a river and third was a raft wrapped around a rock with some stranded rafters.  Using the knowledge we had learned over the previous days, we rotated through the stations and sorted out each situation with confidence.

Once we finished up in the water, we had lunch and our written assessment. Upon completion goodbyes and thanks were said to all involved, and another TasTAFE short course was successfully delivered.

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Walking in the Walls of Jerusalem

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Two weeks ago the Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation students went to the Walls of Jerusalem for a 4 day bushwalk to hone our guiding and bushwalking skills.

On arrival, the group split into two groups with the intention to meet halfway at Dixons Kingdom.  The first group headed south and camped the night at Stretcher Lake, whilst the other group headed southeast and stayed at the Wild Dog Creek campsite.  After meeting at Dixons Kingdom the two groups then retraced each others steps back to the bus.

On the first night we set up camp in the dark and the rain, but woke to a clear morning with a fresh blanket of snow which completely changed the landscape.  This was truly a breath-taking experience.

One group even climbed Mt. Jerusalem pre-dawn and were rewarded with an amazing sunrise on the summit.

On the last couple of days, the weather cleared up providing us with amazing conditions, especially for this time of year and finishing off our trip on a high note.

A big thank you to Bruce Morley and Gemma Gooley for coming along and for the fun we had along the way.

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RTO Code: 60142