Around Tasmania: In The Traces of the Devil: September-October 2006
TEAM: Jon Bowermaster • Keith Fialcowitz • Alex Nicks • Travis Holmes • Lelia Meffre
The remote and little-known Australian island of Tasmania was the seventh stop of our OCEANS 8 project. Drawn by its mysterious history and wild and rugged shores, it proved to be perfect coastline for us to explore by kayak, stopping along the 600-mile route to visit with fishermen and historians, sailors and folkloric legends.
We began our exploration in the southwest corner of the island, at Port Davey, where the weather arrives directly from Antarctica. Sparsely populated, by a solitary tin mining family and the occasional fishermen seeking cray and sharks, these were the wildest seas we met. Turning the southeast corner at Recherche Bay, we headed north - passing the appropriately named Adventure Bay - towards the capital city of Hobart. We rounded the magnificent Tasman Peninsula before heading up the northeast coastline and out to the Flinders Islands, where few visitors venture, home to mysteries of Tasmania's aboriginal history and literally millions of seabirds.
Whether cray fishing with trawler men, diving for abalone, or paddling long crossings, our month in Tasmania delivered similar revelations we've experienced on the previous OCEANS EIGHT expeditions: Adventure mixed with discovery! Given that it was summer down south, and its latitude - equivalent to southern Patagonia - we often saw four seasons in one day, from waking with a light covering of snow on the ground in the morning to ending the afternoon beached under a warming sun.