New boat nets more tour fun
In their second year running whale shark tours off the Exmouth coast, Ningaloo Discovery has added a 55ft sailing catamaran to their fleet.
Ningaloo Discovery conducts whale shark swims and sails off the new vessel named “Windcheetah”.
Company owner Matt Oakley said he thought the catamaran was a great platform for tourism.
The Windcheetah featured in the 2016 International Tourism campaign narrated by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
Ningaloo Discovery also operates whale shark tours off their 60ft power boat.
Mr Oakley said the two boats provided different tour experiences.
“(The catamaran) provides (a) stable platform with 360-degree viewing — people can go right up to the front on to the bow nets and it’s just a bit more of a relaxing vibe than your general converted fishing boat.
“The one thing that we can do on the sailing boat that we can’t do on the other boat is we’ve got a cargo net or a drag net that we can put behind the boat and we extend that out between the hulls and that’s particularly popular with the kids.”
This year’s Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival gave both boats a busy week out on the water.
“The whale shark weekend was great, particularly the Sunday — the big day on the reef,” Mr Oakley said.
“We had two full boats and I think most of the other boats were pretty full as well.”
Mr Oakley started his business Charter One with partner Sarah Ellis in Fremantle in 2010.
They moved up to Exmouth almost two years ago after their application to conduct whale shark tours was successful and rebranded as Ningaloo Discovery this year.
For more information or to book a tour, head to ningaloodiscovery.com.au.
Julia Wisby and Hanna Anderson enjoy riding on the drag net on the back of the Windcheetah.