Finding the way at Recherche Bay

Knowing where you are is often quite important.

At the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s Recherche Bay Reserve last week, Matt Taylor and volunteer Yoav Bar-Ness debated the accuracy of satellite tracking using an iPhone vs android.

Who would have thought that in the landscape which surely saw a similar debate within the crew of the famed Bruni d’Entrecasteaux expedition all those years ago, that navigation would be at the forefront of our current interaction with this rugged landscape? From intricate, hand-drawn nautical charts and cutting edge instruments of the day such as a sextant or octant, the Recherche Peninsula and Southern Ranges landscape remains a navigational challenge even with modern GPS and digital devices.

While no consensus was reached between Matt and Yoav we did manage to install five of our ten long-term ecological monitoring sites and there is no doubt we will find them again next time we visit. Even if it’s with a little bit of debate and a few technological challenges. The reserve was in fabulous condition with lush fungi, mosses and liverworts taking advantage of the favourable conditions within the ancient forests of the Recherche Peninsula.

While the scientific findings of our trip pale in comparison to the French expeditions of the 1790s, we did make one new discovery; evidence of disturbance from fresh lyrebird diggings, and the sounds of birds mimicking nearby, further highlighting the movement and expansion of this species throughout southern Tasmania. Although 223 years have passed since the French first stepped foot on the Recherche Peninsula, the craft of navigation and scientific discovery remains at the forefront in this unique pocket of Tasmania.

Yaov set up his omnidirectional camera to get some very cool footage of the reserve from all angles. Now that is something the French definitely did not have on board!

Matt Taylor and Yoav Bar Ness compare the merits of navigation aids Photo: Sally Bryant