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4.0 out of 5 starsLends a whole new meaning to 'island hopping'
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2013
Veitch's account of his exploration of the Bass Strait islands is satisfying from many points of view. His fascination with the mysteries, the so-called gothic aspects of his explorations provides a tantalizing hook to draw the reader in and carry him or her forward masterfully. At the same time his sense of humour bubbles up and diverts on many occasions. The extended description of seasickness on the sail to Deal Island is priceless: it could become a classic of the genre. On the serious side, Veitch's love of history, his evident admiration for the ingenuity of our ancestors, his keen eye for detail combined with a vivid use of language make for an evocative, sometimes poignant and often thrilling story. The forgotten (or let's face it, unknown) islands of Bass Strait have now been revealed in all their fascinating, formidable and eccentric glory. A great read.
5.0 out of 5 starsthis book recommended by a friend
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2018
Just returned from Sailing from Lakes Entrance to Flinder's Island and back. Have also visited some of the other Islands of Bass straight. this book recommended by a friend, held my interest to the end.
An engrossing tale of one man's search to establish the veracity of a story told to him as a child. His beautiful writing is a fitting tribute to the beauty of the islands' scenery which had lured him to them.
4.0 out of 5 stars`This trip through Bass Strait and its islands had felt like one day discovering a door to a room in your home ....
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2013
.. that you never knew existed.'
A story set on one of the islands in Bass Strait both spooked and intrigued the young Michael Veitch. Years later, he decided to go in search of the source of the story. This book is the result of his personal journey through the islands of Bass Strait.
Bass Strait is the body of water that separates Tasmania from mainland Australia. A couple of its islands - King Island (between the north-west coast of Tasmania and Victoria) and Flinders Island (the largest island in the Furneaux Group stretching between the north east tip of Tasmania and Victoria) are the best known. King Island has a population of around 1700 people, Flinders Island has around 800. But most of the 50 + islands in Bass Strait are much smaller and many are not inhabited.
It's an area known for its wild weather, an area known to history for shipwrecks and sealers, for fishing and (in the case of Flinders Island) for the exile of Indigenous Tasmanians between 1830 and 1847. These days, Flinders Island is a tourist destination for many. King Island is well known for its dairy produce - some of the finest cheeses I've ever tasted. But the other islands are mysteries to me and while Michael Veitch didn't visit them all, he brings them to life. Many of the islands look quite picturesque, probably romantically so when they are hard to get to. Many have quite brutal histories: inhabited by escaped convicts, used by sealers while seal hunting was profitable.
`The more I learned, the more I realised that this was an Australia I hardly knew.'
Michael Veitch is a skilled storyteller, and drew me into his journey. I sympathised with him as he climbed the Nut in Stanley (surely, an achievement for those of us with middle-aged knees) and added Three Hummock Island and Deal Island to my `maybe one day' list. And Skull Rock looks interesting as well.
The early history of these islands is, in Mr Veitch's words, truly gothic. Visiting many of them may not be possible, but reading about them is to appreciate a part of Australia well outside mainstream experience.