'The more I learned, the more I realised this was an Australia I hardly knew. This was stormy weather Australia, an Australia of shipwrecks and sealers; of brutality and extermination; of folly and heroism; of wild weather and explorers in flimsy boats; of thousand-foot cliffs and amazing birds and strange vegetation; of places well-trodden and others believed never to have felt the impact of a human foot. This was a truly gothic Australia, as real and as valid as the gold and the drovers and the deserts, yet known to almost no one.'Michael Veitch has long been fascinated by the islands of Bass Strait, between mainland Australia and Tasmania - a multitude of cold, dark isles, regularly pounded by atrocious weather and hardly visited, but rich in atypical Australian history. This is the story of his personal odyssey among them (plagued at times by appalling seasickness, airsickness and stinging nettles).