On the 18th Feb Wild Mob with the help of the ANZ Staff Foundation Grant paid for the year 10 class at Triabunna District High School to spend four days on Maria Island. While they were there the students were to take part in some marine science study, some work with parks Tasmania on heritage listed areas and buildings and some Tasmanian devil monitoring. There was also time for recreation activities of which snorkelling was most popular.
Looking at the weather forecast for the week the first day was to be the best weather. We now had a busy afternoon ahead of us. With a 1630 low tide we had a few hours before we had to be at the painted cliffs to carry out the intertidal surveys. With time to spare we went snorkelling at Howells point. It was refreshing in the water but the marine life was abundant and out for everyone to see. Howells point is inside the marine park that surrounds some of the shoreline of Maria and by the size and number of abalone and crayfish it was easy to see that the sanctuary was working well. Once the tide was low we walked to the painted cliffs and conducted an intertidal survey using multiple quadrats and identifying every thing in them. Luckily in Tasmania is doesn’t start getting dark until after 8 as it was a long day and a late dinner but we fit everything in, even setting up the infrared cameras that managed to catch much of the local wildlife on film including a few Tasmanian devils over the four days.
With the weather to deteriorate over the next few days we had mainly land based activities to complete, walks around the national park and visits to some of the old ruins and some weeding in and around some of the old historical ruins. The local Tasmanians still went for a snorkel every day even with the autumn chill setting in. The majority of the nasty weather missed us but we did have a strong wind on the last day. All was packed and loaded onto the ferry safe and dry and returned to the mainland.
A big thanks goes to the students and their teacher Sean for allowing Wild Mob to take them to one of their precious local areas and helping to preserve some of the history surrounding it.