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Cruisin’ in super decadence

THERE are few images as romantic or decadent as those of sunning yourself on the deck of a luxury 30m cruiser, surrounded by a pristine ocean of blue, filled with colourful delicate coral and interrupted only by the splashing of dolphins.

Can’t you just feel the sunshine on your face and the crisp, cold perspiration dripping from the side of your glass onto your tanned hand? Mmmm.

Sound like your cup of sea? Well you’re in luck, because there’s a fairly decent range of cruises and trips to choose from in WA, ranging from the super decadent, luxury staterooms aboard the 34m True North (which was built by WA’s Image Marine and comes complete with its very own helicopter) to casual day trips on a local yacht like the 16m Dreamtime.

The newest addition to the West Coast cruise club is the 14m Slack Water.

Once upon a time the Slack Water was a part of a WA fishing fleet, but over the past 18 months owners Fred and Juliet Coats have lovingly transformed her into a safari cruiser.

“Our approach is fairly service oriented,” said Mr Coats.

“Juliet and I have travelled fairly extensively around the world and we always think of how we’d like things to be when we go to places.

“So in setting this business up, we thought, the best bet is work on the principle of guests arriving with nothing, and we have to be in a position to cater for their needs.”

So if you’d like a holiday where all you have to do is, well, nothing, then Slack Water Safaris may well be your boat.

For example, fancy a trip to the Abrolhos Islands?

“We would get a party of six people, assemble them at Perth headquarters and then fly them up and actually land out on the island,” explained Mr Coats.

“Then the boat would be positioned to pick up people from the airstrip, and then we would go and seek out either the best diving or the best surfing or the best fishing location we thought appropriate for the time.

“We provide food and alcohol on the boat, the boat is fully equipped – it’s got dive gear, dive compressor, snorkelling gear, a windsurfer. It’s fully set up.

“The great thing about the Abrolhos is that it’s only an hour and a half in a light plane to get there, so you can virtually do it in a weekend.”

The Slack Water sleeps six people and in case you can’t be bothered lugging your board with you to catch a few waves, it also has one on board.

A weekend up to Abrolhos will set you back about $3000, but it does include absolutely everything you could possibly want.

The Slack Water also cruises other destinations, and if you can get a group of six mates together, chances are you could probably talk the Coats into the destination of your choice along the West Coast – within reason of course.

If you have a few more bucks to spend, and really enjoy the old decadent experience, perhaps you should check out the True North with North Star Charters.

As captain and owner Craig Howson explained, “True North is the best charter boat of its type in Australia.”

The True North was purpose designed and built for exploring Australia’s remote coastal waters, has a crew of 10 (including a chef) and can accommodate up to 28 people.

The vessel does two tours; a 6-day Classic Coral Atoll Diving tour and a 12-day, 2000km Wilderness Explorer Cruise through the Kimberley (everywhere from Broome to Barkely River).

A luxury stateroom on the Wilderness tour will set you back almost $15,000, so it’s not exactly a budget holiday, but it certainly would be a hell of a trip.

“A lot of people comment it’s the best trip they’ve ever had in their lives,” said Mr Howson.

So what makes True North so grand?

Well it’s not just the luxurious accommodation (and the fact that almost all the cabins have their own ensuites) or the spectacular sights along the way, it’s also the variety and individuality of the cruise for each passenger.

“What’s great about our trip is that we’ve got the helicopter and five attendants on board, so basically everyone can choose to do what they want to do,” Mr Howson said.

“So we can have people out in the helicopter, at the same time we’ve got people fishing, we might have some exploring some rock art, some going hiking...it’s basically up to you.

“We will suggest about 10 different activities you can do in the day time and then it’s up to you to choose what you want to do. I think that’s pretty unique and of course cruising is great.

“You move into your room on the first day and your scenery changes every day, so you don’t have to move.”

So if you’ve been saving up for a rainy day and would like to purchase a sunny one instead, just take a look over the horizon, your boat may be waiting.

If you’re just looking for a day trip or even a couple of hours on the water, you can head to less expensive shores by venturing out on a local yacht like Dreamtime.

As Mike Doyle, Dreamtime’s owner points out, it takes a lot less fuel to run a yacht than it does a boat.

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