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In the spirit of reconciliation and healing, I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia, their connections to land, sea and Community. I pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

This blog is dedicated to lutruwita / Tasmania’s beaches and coastline, to sailing, kayaking and the sea, to footsteps in the sand, to cycling and the open road, to the island’s long summer days, its winter mists, its feisty winds and the wilds of the Southern Ocean.

Although sailing was my obsession, these entries are mainly about walking and kayaking, the most intimate way to explore the littoral zone, the meeting of land and sea. One of the loveliest things to do is to sail to an otherwise inaccessible bay and explore it in a kayak.

Exploring the lutruwita coast was cut short by a move to Ngambaa country on the mainland. Here, the beaches are kilometres long and so a bicycle comes into its own on the longer stretches and my kayak is a great way to explore the rivers. It is bitterly disappointing that so little is known of the Ngambaa, their language and customs. Like elsewhere in Australia, genocide happened here.

Slow explorations have also given me time to consider the gendered geography of Australia. So many beaches and other landforms are named after landowners, such small names imposed on country that once had names that fully acknowledged the real power and meaning of the land. I hope that the true names are soon returned to the magnificent land that nurtures us and that we newcomers are still so hellbent on destroying.

We could choose to heal the land by becoming intimately connected with the place we live in. For me, lockdown was a great opportunity to notice the tiny shifts and nuances on one particular beach with its varied rock pools, waves of water, light, lifeforms and shifting geology. I learned that the deep travel of only a few steps can be even more rewarding than travelling the globe and hold you more steadfastly in place as you wait to experience what happens next.

Fiona

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