New boat nets more tour fun

Pilbara News - - News - Louise Alling­ham

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 ninga­lood­is­cov­

Pic­ture: Louise Alling­ham

Ju­lia Wisby and Hanna An­der­son en­joy rid­ing on the drag net on the back of the Wind­chee­tah.

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