Hello Paddlers!

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Our team ready for a surf session

A beautiful spring week has greeted our first official week of the kayaking season and we’re loving it. We’re all excited to be back on the water and got back into the swing of things with a surf training session last weekend. We are also delighted to welcome Hayley and Alex to the team (see below).

Looking to escape the madness this Christmas holidays? In the remote Southwest, the only rushes will be of fresh air across your face and excitement as you paddle in a wild landscape few get to explore. We have a few places left on our 5-day Christmas Southwest Expeditions and also our 7-day Southwest Expeditions in 2020. Get in quick!

The Freycinet Peninsula is one of Tassie’s most loved natural places with granite peaks, sparkling waters, sheltered bays and small secluded beaches – all yours to absorb along with the sun setting from your campsite on a white, sandy beach. Seeing it already? We have a couple of spots on our 23-28 November Expedition so get in now and start dreaming of those azure waters.

Spring is the time to brush up on your kayaking skills in preparation for summer adventures. Our range of kayaking instruction sessions coming up this summer (with a special offer for newsletter readers) and Reg's tips on getting ready for summer kayaking are outlined below.

Also below, Jen’s tips on a long weekend in our buzzing home city of Hobart and the intriguing Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana), first discovered in Bathurst Harbour and described as a relic from Gondwana.

See you on the water
Reg and Jen


New to our team

We’re delighted to be welcoming back all of awesome team this year. Well, all except one – Hannah went to India and hasn’t come back, she’s too busy enjoying yoga camp and relaxing!

Our team of fabulous guides are the heart of our business and of your experience with us so we’re excited to welcome and introduce our two new sea kayaking maestros:

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Hayley Kingsley
Hayley has a diploma of Outdoor Recreation, is currently studying environmental science and has a keen interest in anything wild. Whether its wild flowers or white water it all puts a smile on her dial! She has worked for 7 years as a hiking guide and spends as much time as she can kayaking, hiking or with her head amongst the flowers.. and some books.


Alex White
Alex has recently graduated from TasTAFE with a Cert IV in Adventure Guiding. Having grown up and lived in Tasmania all his life, he’s spent most of his spare time outdoors sailing and bushwalking. This strong connection with the environment is something he enjoys sharing with others. When he’s not kayaking or bushwalking, Alex is also into photography and art.


Preparing for your summer of kayaking

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Now is the perfect time to get your own kayaks and equipment ready for the moment summer paddling arrives. Whether buying a new kayak, getting your beloved kayaking gear ready to go or deciding what day to paddle, Reg has put together a few tips in the following blogs:

Reg’s Pre-Season Kayak Checklist
Reg’s Tips on Purchasing a Sea Kayak
What makes a great paddling day


Special Instruction Offer

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From a two hour pool session to a weekend skill session, our upcoming instructional program has something for everyone. These sessions aim to give you the confidence and inspiration to get out and enjoy the water this summer and also perfect for improving your skills for longer kayaking trips.

SPECIAL OFFER for newsletter readers: book an instruction session with KAYAKINGFUN in the special instructions and you’ll receive 50% off a Hobart City Paddle!

Rescue Pool and Introduction to Kayaking sessions start next week. Check the links below for more information.

Rescue Pool Sessions – essential skills to manage capsize situations
Intro to Sea Kayaking – also includes safety and boat set up
Kayak Sea Skills – full day of intermediate kayaking skills training
Kayaking skills weekend – two fun days of kayaking and camping covering advanced strikes, route and trip planning, weather conditions and much more.


Jen’s tips for a long weekend around Hobart

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So you’re booked on our 10am Saturday City Paddle and wondering how to fill in the rest of your long weekend in Hobart? Our vibrant city offers a lot – from river to mountain adventures to MONA, with bars, cafes and restaurants aplenty to sate the appetite and quench the thirst. Here’s some tips and highlights we’ve gathered up in a truly Hobart package.


5 questions – Maugean skate, Assoc Prof Neville Barrett

We’re always curious about what lays beneath the tannin stained waters of Bathurst Harbour. The creatures in this mysterious underworld have adapted to a darker, hidden place so often there is little known about them. The Maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana) is one such creature. It’s been described as a relic from Gondwana, coming from a time before fish had bones. So we asked Associate Professor Neville Barrett what makes this unique creature so intriguing:

1. Where and when was the Maugean skate discovered?
The Maugean skate was first discovered in Bathurst Harbour and Bathurst Channel in Port Davey by Graham Edgar during in the early 1980’s.

2. Where is it found now?
Only in the Bathurst Harbour/Channel estuarine system, and in similar waters in Macquarie Harbour. The largest population is found in Macquarie Harbour. Several recent attempts to find skates in Bathurst Harbour/Channel have not been successful, with the last sightings in the 1980s. This indicates that the population, if still present, is very small.

3. What makes it so unusual?
This skate is quite peculiar in a number of ways:
* It appears to be quite adapted to the estuarine environment and able to tolerate periods of low salinity (due to rainwater events) for some time, or at least avoid them by moving to deeper parts of the estuaries during floods.
* It is a close relative of deep-ocean species, rather than shallow coastal species.
* It is adapted to digging in the soft muddy seabed sediments for its food, again, the seabed environment is similar to the soft muds found in deeper offshore waters where its relatives appear to have come from.
* This species is very limited in its distribution being found in only two estuaries.

4. Is the Maugean skate under threat?
The skate is listed as endangered and is certainly under some significant pressure. The main population is found in Macquarie Harbour where there has been a well-documented decline in water-quality due to the expansion of salmonoid farming over the past decade.

5. Why do you find it so fascinating?
I’m fascinated by this species because it is a very late discovery in the fish fauna of Tasmania, and it’s amazing that such a large skate (62cm+) could be there, hidden under our noses for so long. There may yet be other surprises in store for us in such areas if we get the opportunity to look a little closer.

About Associate Professor Neville Barrett
I’m a research scientist and occasional lecturer in marine biology, based at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania. My central research focus is on rocky reef fish biology and ecology, as well as the biodiversity and function of rocky reef ecosystems in general.


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