To the island! Schouten Island, giant sharks, Tasmanian tigers and my un-illustrious family history.

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For the next week or so, hopefully*, I will be on Schouten Island, volunteering for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service as a camp host. Part of the stunning Freycinet National Park, on Tasmania’s east coast, this large granite island is about 2800 Ha (about 6km by 7km), and generally only visited by yachties and hardy kayakers.

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Schouten Island. So big! 

I’m quite excited about heading to Schouten, as apart from never having been there before, my family has island form. Apparently, we used to run cattle out there in the early 1900’s and possibly before. My great-great-great grandfather used to tie the head steer (that’s a young bull without balls) to the back of a boat and row him out there – all the other cattle would swim behind him, across an often rough stretch of water patrolled by rather large sharks (more on them later).

According to my father, my family also shot what was probably the last Tasmanian tiger on the east coast on Schouten (now you see why I work in conservation). I don’t have a great deal of information on this as yet, but will continue sifting through the family dirt over the next few weeks. As well as various internet trawling spoils, I have these for research purposes, which should make for interesting reading.

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I’ve also downloaded the Hamish Saunders Expedition report for the island – I didn’t go on this particular expedition, but many skilled ecologists did, and the report gives a great overview of what natural delights may await us.

Stay tuned for more stories of giant sharks, pocket pygmy possums, hidden waterfalls and island adventures!

(* I say hopefully, as we were supposed to head out there yesterday, but weather and waves prevented our departure. The next couple of days are also out, but Thursday looks possible, apparently.  Digits crossed!)

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