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  • Product spotlight

    Posted by Will

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    tasmania, geoff murray, tent

    Review: The New Moondance 2FN Tent by Geoff Murray

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    Product spotlight

    "Last week I received a new tent from Mont, the full nylon version of the Moondance II. This tent has had a number of updates, the most obvious one being that the inner is now full nylon rather than mesh making it more suitable for use in less clement and colder weather. It also has a longer centre ridge pole and cross pole giving more internal room as well as now being symmetrical so pitching is simplified. It was very good to pitch before but is even easier now.The poles are also redesigned so that connecting the poles to the tent is simpler. All in all a really nice tent to use.
    So overall it has a bit more space inside and still only weighs a fraction over 2kgs.

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

    I walked up to one of my favourite Tasmanian highland areas and found a spot for the tent. Conditions were cool but the walking was much easier than my previous trip to this location a month or two ago when the snow was a metre deep.

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

    Towards evening the temperature started dropping so that by the time I was cooking my dinner it was a bit below zero degrees. Through most of the night it hovered around -3 but at some stage it took a dive and my little temperature sensor hanging off a tent guy outside shivered its way down to -8 :) I didn’t notice the temperature nicely snuggled into my Spindrift sleeping bag.
    In the morning it was good to see minimal condensation in the tent. It has some nicely placed ventilation points that seem to work really well.

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    I was awake at 4.45 and shortly after I was walking across to a suitable vantage point for sunrise. Conditions were clear and cold and the grass and bushes were white with frost. After finding a couple of images there I worked my way up through a stand of Pencil Pines to a south facing cliff that still harboured a mini frozen waterfall. After a couple of hours I wandered back to my tent to cook breakfast and have a snooze before packing up and walking out.

    The location was sensational, the weather perfect and the tent performed superbly.

    Gear used Mojo shorts, Odyssey jacket, Icicle jacket, Slinx top, Spindrift XL sleeping bag and Moondance II FN tent."

    By adventure photographer and Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray

    Moondance 2FN Lemongrass Tent in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania by Geoff Murray

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    moondance 2 tent, tarkine, camping, tasmania, geoff murray

    Geoff Murray: Rupert Point in Tasmania

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    I have for a long time intended to visit Rupert Point in Tasmania's west coast Tarkine. I finally managed to organise driving up to Corinna, board the majestic old Arcadia II and chug the 17kms down to Pieman Heads where the skipper took me across to the northern side of the river in an inflatable dinghy.

    Pieman River, Tasmania

    I had been warned that water would be scarce and that proved to be the case. Setting up camp a couple of kilometres north of the river I had to return to a fisherman's shack at Pieman Heads and fill my water bag from the tank. The rest of the day was spent lying in my tent with the doors tied back to escape the incredibly persistent March flies that were present by the score. Fortunately my Mont Moondance II tent has excellent ventilation and allowed me to keep semi cool in the 30+ degree heat.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Come late afternoon I packed my camera gear and wandered the couple of kilometres up to Rupert Point. This was the first time I had visited this place so I had one evening and one morning to find good viewpoints. Fortunately the light was kind to me and I found a couple of nice spots to photograph. I have seen quite a few shots of Rupert and most photographers seem to take the same image but I was keen on finding something new. The March flies hadn't gone yet so I resorted to wearing my waterproofs, Mont Latitude trousers and a Mont Lightspeed jacket so I could concentrate on taking photographs and ignore the flies. Hot, but successful :) Eventually, the March flies went. Then the mosquitoes arrived....

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    I was back at my tent at 9.20pm, quickly grabbed a bit of food then hopped into my tent to escape the mosquitoes. It rained a little overnight and conditions were really nice the next morning so I walked back to Rupert Point and found another couple of nice images. Then it was back to the tent, pack everything up and walk back to Pieman Heads to wait to be picked up by the Arcadia's skipper for the return to Corinna.

    Overall, a brilliant 2 days on the west coast.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    epoch, seal, penguin, antarctica, spindrift, kayak, geoff murray

    BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Our expedition was called the BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. BGLE stands for British Graham Land Expedition. This expedition took place in 1934-37 and was led by Australian John Rymill. The expedition performed valuable scientific and exploratory work in this relatively unknown region with the northern base being on Argentine Island which was our expedition’s final destination.

    Rymill was also the surrogate leader of a previous expedition in East Greenland in 1932 whose aim was to investigate the possibility of establishing a transcontinental air route between England and Canada. They were sponsored for this expedition by PanAm airlines. 
    The Greenland expedition was based in Tugtilik (also known as Lake Fjord) which is 100kms north of the nearest tiny settlement of Sermiligaq pop. 230. Sermiligaq is in itself a very remote location and Tugtilik is extremely remote. Rymill had to take control of the expedition after its leader, Gino Watkins, died in a hunting accident very shortly after reaching Tugtilik.

    Camp at Wordie House, Winter Island, Antarctica, 2017 by Geoff Murray

    I paddled to Tugtilik with a small group in 2016 and we became only the 4th kayaking expedition to reach this location in the last 84 years. Hence, there was a tangible link between my East Greenland expedition and this latest Antarctic expedition.

    Humpback Whale, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

     

    "... a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between."

    The distance between the start point, Enterprise Island, and Argentine Island was 300km and this involved paddling a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between. Icebergs are an ever present threat as they can capsize without warning and glacier faces can be equally unstable, calving spontaneously. Likewise the weather was a serious consideration, with the possibility of violent katabatic winds always in the background (as we found out one day!)

    But the rewards were immense, as we sighted whales, seals and penguins in one of Earth’s most spectacular locations as we paddled the Antarctic coastline.

    Fur Seal, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    I took a new Mont Epoch tent with me, slept in a Mont Spindrift sleeping bag and kept warm during the day wearing Mont Polartec Power Stretch Pro fleece under my Icicle jacket. This stuff works and I was not once cold.

    A wonderful trip to an awesome location!

    Geoff Murray
    Mont Ambassador, wilderness and landscape photographer, explorer

    Goeff Murray, Antarctica 2017

    Emma Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    Winter Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    walls of jerusalem, tasmania, geoff murray, bushwalking

    Walls of Jerusalem, Tasmania. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Tucked away in Tasmania’s Central Highlands is a jewel. Compact, photogenically outstanding and an easy place to travel, it is The the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. I have visited The Walls many times over the years, and in all seasons.

    I saw my coldest Tasmanian temperature here one chilly Winter’s night, -13ºC. But the next day was sensational; Deep, firm snow, a crystal clear atmosphere and scenery that filled the soul with joy.

    I decided it was time to pay another visit. Packing all of the necessary items into my Mont Backcountry pack (plus a few luxuries) I left home early one morning for the 4 hour drive to the Walls carpark.

    The carpark is deep within the Mersey Valley, at the end of a rough, dusty road. Isolated, you would say. I turned into the carpark, and was greeted with 24, yes 24 cars! This island and its superb bushwalking is becoming more popular.

    Anyway, hoist the pack on and up the hill. The ground alongside the track was dry, bone dry. Creeks that never fail, dry. Tassie is in the midst of a desperately dry period, clear testament to the awful effects of climate change.

    A couple of hours later, I was in the Walls, a superb amphitheatre of mountains with a scattering of alpine tarns within. Bright green cushion plants sat in between the Scoparia. Alpine grasses made walking easy and I made good time across to the far side. Finding a quiet spot for my tent, I set up camp. I had brought my Mont Epoch tent with me, a mountain tent as tough as they come, and a genuine pleasure to use. I value it very highly.

    Mont Epoch Tent in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park Tasmania

    Time for a wander through this alpine wonderland. Up over Damascus Gate, a quick scamper up onto The Temple for a superb view, then a slow walk down through the ancient Pencil Pine forest in the general direction of Dixon’s Kingdom Hut. Some of the pines here are over 1,000 years old, craggy and ancient, beautiful and haunting and they watched silently as I walked amongst them. Like walking through a living cathedral.

    macro photo of flower in Tasmania

    A quick yarn to some walkers camped at the Hut then it was time to return to my tent for a meal and a deep sleep.

    Up at 4am the next morning to allow time to walk across to the Pool of Siloam for sunrise. The silence was absolute, the stillness complete as I arrived at the Pool. I waited for the light to grow, the sun’s rays slowly fingering down the mountainsides as the day was born.

    lake at walls of jerusalem

    Images appeared before me, to be captured through the lens. A good start to the day. The rest of the day was spent almost aimlessly wandering around, searching for images that please.

    Late afternoon and back at the tent, a meal, then sleep. A simple existence in the wild.

    The third day was the last. Time to go back to civilisation but recharged and refreshed.

    I packed up, and tramped off in the direction of the carpark. Another good trip.

    Geoff Murray

    December 2015

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