The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT -

The an­nual eight-night South­ern Safari cruise aboard True North, Jan­uary 13-21, 2018, costs from $8895 a per­son. True North Ad­ven­ture Cruises also of­fers Kim­ber­ley and Aus­tralian coastal itin­er­ar­ies and sail­ings to Pa­pua New Guinea and West Pa­pua, in­clud­ing the 10-night Raja Am­pat Ex­plorer ex Dar­win. More: (08) 9192 1829; part, but now pull on a mask, wet suit and weight belt, clamp a reg­u­la­tor in my mouth and step down the lad­der. I feel the cage rat­tle as the shark shoots past, but, pre­oc­cu­pied with try­ing to breathe nor­mally and avoid float­ing off the floor of the cage, I don’t get more than a flash.

Back on deck, I have a much bet­ter view of an­other shark (three in all are sighted) speed­ing along the star­board side, its great head all but break­ing the sur­face. The crew es­ti­mates it’s more than 4m long.

There are also qui­eter, less ar­ti­fi­cial en­coun­ters with na­ture. One of our best is on Pearson Is­land, where there are sea-lions on the fore­shore, and cu­ri­ous rock wal­la­bies amid the weath­ered or­ange-lich­ened gran­ite out­crops. We hike for 90 min­utes to the peak, some­thing we are told only a few dozen visi­tors do each year.

Our fi­nal day opens at Streaky Bay, at the west­ern side of the penin­sula, where vol­un­teers run a Na­tional Trust mu­seum, a won­der­ful at­tic of lo­cal his­tory with ev­ery­thing from a lino­type print­ing ma­chine to an iron lung. Some of us visit the mu­seum, oth­ers go crab­bing.

Then we have a fi­nal fish­ing ses­sion in driv­ing rain. Peter, our ace fish­er­man, says he’s “as wet as a shag” and de­clares he hasn’t caught even a King Ge­orge whit­ing. “But I’ve caught enough. I’m happy with what I’ve got.” A sen­ti­ment I must echo, in ev­ery way.

Michael Kerr was a guest of True North Ad­ven­ture Cruises.


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