Toby Story grew up at Deep River, in WA’s South West, but it was through the Tasmanian coastline that he not only found his love of sea kayaking, but his career as an outdoor leader and guide, and now his future as owner of Southern Sea Ventures.
Son of Fremantle artists Holly and Colin Story, Toby has been working for Southern Sea Ventures since 2005, but with the retirement of founder Al Bakker, bought the company.
“Since Al’s retirement in June, I’ve been busy establishing some new trips in Tasmania, where I’ve lived on and off and worked in the outdoor industry for 20 years,” Toby says.
There are two new itineraries — The Three Capes Paddle and The Bruny Island Paddle. Both are four-day trips, but they can be linked together for a longer trip, with varied paddling. And both are based at a comfortable lodge, with day paddling.
“I really do think Tasmania is one of the best paddling destinations in the world,” Toby says. “For the new itineraries, I looked for interesting coastline with a range of opportunities. Both paddles have ‘two sides’, so we can go to the most suitable side depending on the weather.”
The trips are rated “easy to moderate” and cater for all abilities. Days have options which allow paddlers to choose their time on the water (more serious paddlers can paddle all day) and include some coastal walking. Both have many departures from December to April, and there are direct flights, between Perth and Hobart with Qantas, with no quarantine.
Southern Sea Ventures uses top quality equipment — Wilderness Systems Tsunami single sea kayaks, Dagger sea doubles and Werner paddles. “All the gear is new for this season,” Toby says.
The equipment and accommodation and being based at The Bolthole on the Tasman Peninsula and Bruny Island Lodge add to a quality experience already themed by coast and ocean.
He says: “I grew up at Deep River on a bush block with parents who were very engaged with the landscape. We were always tripping around that area and the rest of the world. From the age of two, I was on the move.”
Colin Story’s work in documenting that area was recently featured in these pages.
From the age of 19-21, Toby travelled the world, chasing rock to climb and waves to surf, and then he “found” sea kayaking in Tasmania. And in its environment and coastline, he finds parallels to his “homeland” — the place where he grew up.
“I connected to the coastline in Tasmania. It was the trigger for my career,” Toby says.
For in 2005, Toby added a tour guiding course to his love of kayaking along Tasmania’s coast, worked with Al Bakker at Southern Sea Ventures until he bought the company, and has been involved with outdoor education in Tasmania, also teaching at Drysdale TAFE.
While Toby has led kayaking trips from Fiji to Antarctica and Greenland, Tasmania remains at the heart of his paddling and appreciation of, and connection to, this planet.
And it is an appreciation shared with groups that range from 16-80 years old, with most being in their 50s and 60s.
Both new itineraries in Tasmania are four-day, three-night, lodge based trips. Toby explains: “They are base-camp style trips, exploring different sections of the coast during the day and returning to well-appointed, waterside accommodation and fresh Tasmanian fare by night.
“We are running these trips as one-off trips or as a single combined eight-day trip with a night in Hobart.”
THE THREE CAPES PADDLE
The Tasman Peninsula is almost an island, with the Tasman Sea to the south and east, Norfolk Bay to the north and Storm Bay west of it. The coastline, mostly national park, has dolerite cliffs, sandy beaches and sheltered bays.
The Bolthole, Pirates Bay, on the coast and set in bush, is an architecturally designed timber retreat near the quaint seaside village of Doo Town and within walking distance of the Tessellated Pavement.
THE BRUNY ISLAND PADDLE
Off the south-east coast of Tasmania, separated from the mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island has high cliffs, remote beaches and eucalyptus forest. Paddlers can expect coves, sea caves, lagoons, sea kelp forests and maybe encounters with fur seals, fairy penguins and even albatross.
Cosy Bruny Island Lodge serves local delicacies. including the freshest of oysters, handmade cheeses and local wine.
The trip includes a transfer between Hobart and Bruny Island and return ferry back to Hobart.
HOW TO GO
The trips are rated easy to moderate. Both are four days and three nights, including pick-up in Hobart, with accommodation, guides, equipment and all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day. They are from $2150 per person twin share.
Both have many departure dates, from December to April.
Phone (02) 8901 3287