Our Expert Team
If the Southwest’s stunning landscapes are the hero of this experience, Escape to Port Davey’s staff come a close second. Meet the team whose knowledge, passion and experience will complete this expedition as a comprehensive (and entertaining!) wilderness experience. Odalisque’s skipper has extensive seafaring experience and your expert local guide has a deep knowledge of the landforms, geology, animals, birds and cultural history of the region.
Pieter van der Woude, Odalisque’s owner-skipper, has decades of experience as the master of vessels working off the coast of southern Tasmania. An abalone diver who spent his time resupplying bases in the Southern Ocean for the Australian Antarctic Division in the off season before he founded Tasmanian Boat Charters, Pieter knows the waters of the Southwest like few others, and never fails to find a sheltered mooring spot to watch the sunset and spend the night, whatever the weather.
Pieter, the mastermind behind this cruise experience, will be the vessel’s skipper on most expeditions. His ethos is to provide a floating base for a genuine wilderness experience. “I wanted to create an experience that would allow people to witness Tasmania’s remote and pristine Southwest, an area inaccessible to many, and this inspired the current Odalisque build. We want to share what is a unique and special place.’’
“If the legendary Deny King was the human soul of the south-west, Pieter is close in line behind him. His love of the area is as vast, and as infectious, as his knowledge.”
– Lucinda Sharp, 40 Degrees South Magazine
Our Expert Guides
Nick Mooney, a Tasmanian conservationist biologist, writer, wildlife expert, and ecological educator, joins the Odalisque crew in Port Davey as a guide on rotation. In 2009 Nick left 32 years full time work as a wildlife biologist with the Tasmanian government, a period preceded by studies at the University of Tasmania. In that period there were few wildlife conservation issues Nick hasn’t progressed, including many surveys in the Port Davey area – diving for fish and marine invertebrates, seabird counts, assessing mammals such as Tasmanian devils and spotted-tailed quolls and land birds including the orange-bellied parrot and raptors. In 2006 Nick received a Local Hero award as part of the Australian of the Year program, for his work with initiating the response to devil disease and advocating feral animal control. Nick is enthusiastic about high grade nature tourism as a way of value-adding to wildlife to make it more appreciated. He regularly visits Antarctica and many areas of Tasmania, including the Port Davey area, as a guide to continue this process. Nick’s knowledge and ability to make nature more easily understood will contribute to an upmost educational experience for guests embarking on an expedition into this magnificent, wild, World Heritage Area.
The remainder of the crew are on rotation and vary depending on the needs and interests of the guests. The crew have a direct impact on the overall guest experience and therefore have the skills they need to meet and exceed the highest possible standards of performance expected by you.
Peter Marmion has a great love for the South West wilderness. A favourite corner of this area is the magnificent Port Davey / Bathurst Harbour waterway. Peter has been a frequent visitor to the region since the early 1970s. He has a deep understanding of its rich history and diverse natural heritage.
He has been a guide in Tasmania’s wild country for 25 years. Much of this guiding work has been in the far southwest. He has also worked for TAFETAS training adventure guides. Peter has been a volunteer with the Orange Bellied Parrot recovery team for over 20 years. He has been an assistant on a wide range of conservation projects including raptor research, feral cat management and bird surveying. He is a keen yachtsman who has sailed to Port Davey many times. He has spent his life bushwalking in the South West wilderness and knows the Port Davey area intimately.
Peter is an active member of the Wildcare Friends of Melaleuca group whose aim is to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the area. Peter has worked on fishing boats around the southwest coast of Tasmania. When not guiding, Peter devotes time to ecological education, adventuring both at home and overseas, local history research and tending his large native garden. Peter’s familiarity with Tasmania’s wilderness areas will ensure a rich experience for those joining Tasmanian Boat Charters voyages.
“Guide Peter Marmion’s regular visits to the southwest since the early 70s have fostered genuine passion and comprehensive knowledge.”
– Matthew Denholm, The Australian
Peter has dedicated his working life to the conservation, management and presentation of Tasmania’s globally renowned National Parks and World Heritage Areas.
Starting as a Trainee Ranger working in many locations in Tasmania and being the General Manager of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service for the past 12 years has enabled Peter to oversee a number of major initiatives for conservation and tourism that have resulted in remarkable outcomes. Notably the successful eradication of rabbits, rats and mice from the sub Antarctic Island Macquarie Island. This is the largest eradication program ever attempted for these three feral species. The development of the outstanding Three Capes Track which began operating late 2015.
Tasmania is now recognised as a leader in nature based tourism experiences. Peter was recently awarded the “Tourism Champion for 2016” by the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania. Since retirement Peter continues to share his passion for the special places within Tasmania’s wilderness areas. Peter has a particular interest in the South West that has involved many journeys of discovery both underwater and above. His willingness to share his intimate knowledge of these wild places is a great benefit for Tasmanian Boat Charters.
Mark Holdsworth was employed by the Tasmanian government conservation agency as a Park Ranger and wildlife biologist. For much of his 36-year career, he managed the Tasmanian recovery program for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, including captive management and undertaking fundamental research into the species’ reproductive success. The Port Davey area has been a second home to Mark and there are few who know more about the region’s wildlife than him. He also managed the Tasmanian Devil captive breeding program which has successfully established an insurance population against extinction. Throughout his career, Mark mentored many people in careers natural sciences and developed long-term volunteer conservation programs across a wide range of species. In recognition of these efforts he was one of the 31 finalists for the 2014 Australian of the Year.
Mark also works on a wide range of other conservation projects in New Zealand and Australia, including seabird surveys in the Auckland Islands and Coral Sea, Christmas Island Goshawk population monitoring, Swift Parrot breeding surveys, Dirk Hartog Island restoration and conservation dog operations.
Mark has a passion for sharing his knowledge of wildlife and he enjoys showing visitors some of the special creatures that can be found in Tasmania’s magnificent South West wilderness area.
Our itineraries are fluid, moulded by wind and weather, time and tide and the interests of our individual guests.
Your boutique floating hotel, custom-built by Tasmanian owner and operator for this Southwest experience.