What is the tawe nunnugah Raid all about?

Since 2007 the Living Boat Trust, a community organisation in the township of Franklin, has been organising small-boat expeditions (Raids) allowing participants to experience the outstanding coastal scenery of southern Tasmania by open boat. The expeditions are called tawe nunnugah, meaning ‘travelling’ by ‘canoe’ in the language of the Melukerdee people, the original owners of the region who for millennia traversed these waterways by bark canoe. 

The expeditions start at the edge of Tasmania’s southwest wilderness looking out over the great Southern Ocean and arrive 10-days later in Hobart in time for the start of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Held every two years in late January/early February the experience is unique in the southern hemisphere and attracts people from throughout Australia and from overseas. Many people return again and again, knowing that each expedition will be different but all will provide open boat adventure, spectacular scenery and collegiality. 

The tawe nunnugah Raids are not competitive – beyond the natural inclination to ‘pace each other’ that most crews feel when on the same heading as another vessel. The spirit of tawe nunnugah is all about good seamanship in small open craft, whether under sail or oar. Participants either bring their own boats (the Privateers) or sign up as crew under an experienced skipper on one of the Living Boat Trust’s fleet of capable wooden boats including whaleboats and St Ayles skiffs. 

The main ten-day tn19 expedition is fully catered with a chef and land-based support crew setting up the site to welcome the fleet after their day on the water. Tents, sleeping gear and spare clothes are carried by truck so even if hit by a southerly squall everyone can get warm and dry in the evening. Each night the shared experiences on the water are exaggerated over a hot meal and a convivial glass. On the water the fleet is supported by accompanying yachts and fast-response safety boats ready to stand-by, tow or assist if any of the fleet is in trouble.

For the first few days the expedition is usually alone on the water but as we come up the d’Entrecasteaux Channel between Bruny Island and the mainland more and more craft are around us as boats of all descriptions make their passage to the largest wooden boat festival in the southern hemisphere. The transition from our own little world on the expedition to the hustle and bustle of the festival couldn’t be more stark but the festival makes a fitting end to the journey.

Although for some this is not the end - for those who don’t want it to finish we organise a 4-day semi-supported small boat expedition (the Return Raid) after the festival to bring the LBT’s fleet and some privateer boats from Hobart to our home port of Franklin. If we are over-subscribed for the Return Raid, preference will go to people and boats that participated in the 10-day tn21 Raid.

If you want to join the 2021 Raid, either in your own boat or on one of ours, go to our web-site and submit an Expression of Interest now.