The hunt for the elusive PlatyDevil
My hunt for the PlatyDevil (aka either a platypus or a Tasmanian devil) began the minute I landed in Tasmania, and every time I got near a river or creek at dusk or dawn, my senses went into high alert. Well, spoiler alert for the rest of this blog, I never find either of them.
And this is a biiiig but. (Sir Mix A Lot Would Be Proud)
I found SO MUCH ELSE.
Night 1 in Tasmania
Michiel, Aline and I are eating dinner with some other folks at the campsite and we are told that there is a slight chance of seeing a devil. Well that immediately catches our interest and we are immediately hyper-aware of each twig that snaps or each movement out of the corner of our eyes.
Well, someone hears a snap, and the flashlights turn around and someone else asks “is that a devil?” One of the locals immediately starts getting extremely excited – “No that’s not a devil, it’s a quoll, I’ve never seen one in person!
Another person, “Wait it’s a quoll?? Holy shit!!” before we know it, us and the rest of the camp are following this spotted quoll around the campsite, reveling in the fact that we have seen one of the rarest animals on the island. (Unfortunately so rare I don’t have a picture, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say I saw one and it was black with white spots). It was a wonderful bonding moment on my epic first day and I found some friends and an even more rare animal.
On with the platypus hunt!!
As I was perusing WikiCamps (the greatest app ever made) looking for a place to stay, I found what seemed to be a fairly unremarkable campsite right on the river. The reviews were so-so, complaining about gross water, icky toilets, whatever. I realllly wanted to see a platypus. Plus I don’t really care about pit toilet cleanliness anyways.
So I headed to the Esperance Riverside in the hopes that I would see a platypus.
As you know, there was no such critter. BUT, what I found instead was the most incredible campground in the entire island. I immediately fell in love with it, and enjoyed my time camping near the water, with the entire river to myself. Alone in the nature!
I actually loved it so much that it is THE ONLY campsite in all of Australia (so far) that I have stayed in more than one night. And I have been camping for over 2 months now. (I stayed there initially only one night but returned about three weeks later)
So yeah, while looking for the platypus I found my favourite camping place in the entire country so far, and it is also where I finished the final episode of the Balance arc of The Adventure Zone (the greatest podcast ever) and wept through the entire second half of it. Me and that campsite have history now!
One more shot at the devil…
The Tasmanian Devils have very quickly become quite endangered as a contagious, cancerous face tumour has afflicted huge swaths of their population. Luckily, there is an island – Maria Island, just off of the coast of Tasmania that has a fairly large contingent population of healthy devils – if we were gonna see one, it was gonna be there. Soooooo we went!
Goes without saying (because I spoiled it already) that we did NOT find any devils… what did we find instead?
We found a herd of kangaroo, more wombats than I could count, and all sorts of new and unique bird life.
I found some new friends – Gabe and Mel! And the 5 of us hiked up to Bishop and Clerk together!
I found some more awesome experiences hiking on an island I will never forget.
I heard a devil outside my tent… twice! Tried to find it but to no avail.
In all, I guess that the hunt for the devil and the platypus was more about finding everything else along the way. It was a driver.
Obviously, it would be great if I could have seen either of the animals, but at the same time, I really don’t feel like my experience in Tasmania was reduced in any way at all. I thoroughly immersed myself in nature, made some new friends, saw some of the most beautiful places ever, and pushed myself physically on fun new hikes and adventures I never saw myself getting into.
The journey truly was what mattered. I think that if we had seen the devil or platypus, it would be like “oh there’s one” take a picture and the magic is almost gone after….
Instead of a devil picture I ended up in dozens of awesome places adventuring, on nature lookout, and feeling the magic and mystery of the place and for that I am very glad!
As always, a few more songs are below the pic.