Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seakayaking trip

A map of our route last week

Greetings everyone. I'm putting a link to a video I made of a trip of 10 tenth graders that I guided around Tasmania on a seakayaking trip last week. The trip took 5 days and we had a great time. The video isn't the most exciting but it shows a little bit of Tasmania. The highlight was staying on Snake Island just off the coast of Bruny Island. I collected a bunch of oysters and some mussels and shucked the oysters and steamed the mussels for the kids. All in all a great trip... and I got paid for it too! Lora even joined us for the last day and a half. She's been working so hard and needed a little break. By the way you should see her now. She looks GOOOOD!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cheeseburger in Paradise... not quite

So this was just too good of a synapses of what life over here is like to pass up.

I decided to walk down from my uni office to the cafe here on campus to get some lunch. I asked the woman behind the "Burger Bar" for a cheeseburger. She walked to the kitchen and put in my order. However, when she returned I was told that they "didn't do cheeseburgers". I couldn't believe it. She asked if I wanted a regular pre-made burger and I said sure. Just then a bloke from the back walked out and said he would make me one. I was stoked, because as we all know a regular hamburger just isn't the same. More on this story later.

Now let me take you back in time to an earlier episode. This happened up in Queensland a few months ago. I decided I wanted a chicken sandwich from KFC and promptly ordered one. The high school girl, maybe younger because they don't seem to have a minimum age for workers over here, looked at me like I was the dumbest person in Australia. She then told me they didn't have chicken sandwiches. I pointed to the BIG picture on their menu and she said in a very dumbfounded tone that what I was pointing at was a chicken burger. So lesson learned. If something has a burger bun then it is a burger. If it has white sliced bread then it is a sandwich.

Now back to my story of lunch today. You probably already know where this is heading. So after waiting for a while my burger was brought out to me with some chips(fries). I paid for it and went to sit down to enjoy it. Well, after looking at it and thinking, "my they have thin patties here," I opened it to find that on my burger was about two drops of ketchup and one slice of cheese... no meat pattie! I had been given a cheese burger. Of course I went to sort it all out and in the end got my chesseburger with an actual meat pattie. I couldn't figure out if the woman thought it was as ridiculous as I did or if she just thought I was ridiculous.

The moral of the story is even here, where they supposedly speak the same language, what I intend on saying is often lost in translation. I'm just glad I didn't order a garlic burger.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Finally Kayaking again

The rains are beginning here which means so is the kayaking season. Recently after set up my 5th field site I joined Tim and our friend Nick in northern Tasmania to kayak Leven Canyon. Tim and Nick had been kayaking for 2 days already, including making the 3rd descent of Fish creek.

Tim on Fish Creek

Nick on Fish Creek

Just down stream of put in on Leven Canyon. The scenery is amazing.
This is a great run. Lots of fun rapids but the highlights are the two clean waterfalls.

Here is Tim falling of the drop before the waterfalls. You can see the impressive horizon line of the first waterfall in this picture.

Here I am on the first water fall. This one is about 20-25 ft high. I thought this one was big.
But wait until you see the next one.

Yep, that is me in that little boat. If you look closely you can see Tim standing at the top of the falls. That will give you perspective. It is about 40 ft high. This is by far the biggest waterfall I have done to date. I don't think I would want to go much higher than this.

Zoomed in

This was so much fun. I didn't look at it before I threw myself over. I just went where Tim told me to go. Since we have kayaked together so much there is a certain degree of trust, plus he knows one of my favorite things is being surprised when I run certain types of rapids. So my first view of it was right at the lip. Tim told me later that when I got to the edge I laughed and said "Oh Shit" as I fell to to the bottom. I don't remember doing this, but then again at that moment it is hard to tell whether or not you are just thinking it or saying it. It was so exhilarating. I can't wait to do it again.

A.D. After the Deluge

So I have my "feelers" out roaming the internet for interesting stuff to occupy my time when I'm procrastinating doing real work and I stumbled across this emotional webcomic written by Josh Neufeld. It's an amazing work in progress telling the story of 5 or 6 real Katrina survivors. The artwork is amazing and if you have any connection to Nawlins it will bring tears to your eyes. I personally feel that this should be required reading for all students. The authors use of foreshadowing is amazing. This is one "comic" that is serious. Check it out at It can be found at Smith magazine.

One thing to be warned about though is that the story is not finished yet so you'll only be able to read through chapter 3. I have an RSS feed of it now.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

24 hour Mtn Bike Race

Lora and Jackie at base camp

One of my other team members, Swarz tearing past the competition

Just a quick post to let you guys know about a mtn bike race I entered last weekend. A friend asked if I'd be part of a team of 4 for a 24 hour race. The way it works is the team with the most laps of the course in 24 hours wins. The race started at noon Saturday and ended at noon on Sunday. Each lap was a little more than 6 miles long. It took us on average 40 mins per lap due to the wet, cold conditions. After each lap I had to clean kilos of mud off of my bike. The way my team did the race was one lap per team member until late night where we switched to a 2 lap each tactic. I of course ended up getting the 2am leg so that meant I got NO sleep that night. For those that don't know we use powerful lights attached to our bikes to see by. One of my night laps happened to be my second fastest lap time for the entire race!

My buddy Luke getting psyched up to race

Me about to set out at 2am

Our team did well. We ended up getting 8th place overall out of 18 teams. Not bad for being asked to enter the race only two weeks earlier. I've included a few pictures of the event. All in all it was very hard work but was a total blast. Almost all of the other competitors were really laid back and just out there for the experience. If you haven't done one of these style races before and you are up for it then give it a go. If you're really nuts then you can be like a few guys and gals here and do it SOLO!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A little walk in the woods

Well it all started when I casually mentioned to a friend here that I was thinking about walking the world famous Overland walking a day. He laughed at me first and then suggested that doing it in 2 or 3 days would be a major accomplishment for me. From that moment it was on! I had to walk the track in a day.

The Overland track stretches for 80 kms (50 miles) through Tasmania's central highlands. People from all over the world travel to Tasmania to walk this beautiful trail and stay in up to 7 comfortable huts. Below is a map showing the trail. Most of these people take 5-7 days and when they arrive at Lake St. Clair they jump on a ferry to avoid the remaining 18 km hike around the lake. More on this later.

I was content to do the walk by myself but there was one friend here that I thought might be up for the challenge as well. I called Nick and told him of my plans and like most of my adventures we were in the car that night driving to the carpark. We arrived at Cradle Mtn National Park at 2:45am. By 3:05am we had packed our bags and were heading out without having slept at all. Below is a picture of Nick showing the departure time.

We walked in the dark with the full moon setting for around three hours. It was awesome walking at this time of day. When you are walking long distances it gives you lots of time to think about friends and good times you've shared with them. I thought of so many of you while doing this knowing that most of you would have loved a wacky adventure such as this.

Looking north up the Forth River valley

Nick and I at the halfway point
Well, I don't want to go into the details too much but with only about 10 kms to go before the lake both Nick and I were feeling the effects in our legs of walking/running the distance. When we finally arrived at the lake we were WORKED! Nick's knee was ruined and he decided to camp at the last hut and wait for the morning ferry to arrive. With Lora staying at a nice warm cabin on the other side of the lake I decided to push on. There was only 12 miles of trail between me and a nice warm meal and comfortable bed with my wife to welcome me home like the warrior that I am. I guess I should mention that we only brought one sleeping bag with us in case of emergency. That meant that Nick and I would have had to spoon the entire night to stay warm. So I set off for 3 more hours of hobbling in the dark.

Lots of miles of boardwalks due to the boggy nature of the ground

In total I hiked the entire track around 50 miles. It took me 2 or 3 days to fully recover and be able to walk around. Luckily, all that time off my feet gave me ample time to work on some math assignments for grad school.

One of the highlights was telling my friend that I had done it in a day. Actually, it was the total experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

Picture a Week

As you probably noticed we've added a new segment to our blog. As the name implies we will be selecting a new image each week to showcase. For our first one we thought we'd put one up that has nothing to do with kayaking, paragliding or ecology. Keep visiting to see what we come up with next week.

Tim and Lora