On Board guide, Peter Marmion, recently made an appearance on ABC’s “Ocean Odyssey”—a wildlife documentary series detailing the magnificent journey from the Great Barrier Reef down to Antarctica. The series focuses on educating the public on the importance of sustaining our planet through protecting the waters of the East Australian Current and associated marine life. Peter features in episode 3, where viewers follow the current—mirroring the path of the migrating whales—to its end, our pristine Port Davey. We were lucky enough to be able to chat with Peter about his experience, and are excited to be sharing it with you.
Peter was asked to accompany the ABC crew to Port Davey due to his familiarity with the area, having visited frequently since the early 1970s. However, when Peter was invited to accompany them to the Southwest, he did not anticipate being in the documentary itself. Rather he imagined showing them the key locations, acting more as a guide—a role to which he has become very accustomed. The modest man that he is, he was not overly keen on appearing on camera. However, he accepted the role, saying that he “had to get over my not wanting to be on screen and think about the amazing opportunity to spread awareness of the beauty and fragility of our pristine Southwest”.
Peter thoroughly enjoyed the experience, with one of the highlights being working alongside leading Australian palaeontologist, and 2007 Australian of the year, Tim Flannery. Tim is well known for his countless novels on climate change, and it seems that Peter is one of his biggest fans, having read “nearly everything he’s written”. Peter appreciated hearing the perspective of someone who views Port Davey as a small, integral part of a whole, putting the place in perspective in the bigger picture of the world’s climate. In Peter’s words,
“It was a chance to talk to people about where Port Davey fits within the broader picture of global warming, how fragile and unique the environment is, and the role we have as custodians to protect it. They wanted it not just to be a tale of woe, but a tale of hope—an educative tool for the public and in schools.” – Peter Marmion
Peter has always had a passion for the outdoors; however, he only became a guide to help support his son’s ventures as an Australian representative in canoeing. Although his motives for delving into his now career were out of the ordinary, in his over 30-years as a guide, he has grown an enormous passion for the industry and an impressive résumé to complement it. Since its establishment in 2009, Peter has acted as the social secretary for Friends of Melaleuca—a Wildcare conservation group focused on maintaining, preserving, and educating the public on Melaleuca. He is also acting treasurer for Friends of Fisher Island where he has been involved in one of the world’s longest-running migratory bird monitoring programs—the short-tailed shearwater banding project—which began in 1947. Peter has worked for TasTAFE training adventure guides, volunteered with the Orange-bellied Parrot recovery team for over 25 years, and has been an assistant on a wide range of conservation projects including raptor research, feral cat management, and bird surveying.
As a guide, Peter believes that good guiding is good storytelling. For it is through storytelling, of course, that we came to be civilised. He values the little quirks in each story, believing it should be fun, not like a lecture. As much as storytelling, Peter believes listening to the stories of the guests he has the pleasure of leading to be extremely valuable. To illustrate his 50 years of visits to Port Davey, Peter will soon be releasing a novel, Close Encounters, describing his experiences in and learnings of the area, as well as reflecting on the people he has met along the way. We are extremely excited to add his publication to our Odalisque’s library.
To learn more about Peter and the rest of our team of expert guides, read their bios here. If you’d like to watch episode 3 of Ocean Odyssey and see Peter in action, you can access this via the ABC iview website.