Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mucking around in boats, again

A couple of months ago my children and I were lucky enough to be kidnapped by a friend and taken out for a day on his boat.  On a scorching hot and sparkling blue day we explored the beautiful Peel Inlet then cruised out into the Indian Ocean through the Dawesville Cut, negotiated swells up the coast to Falcon and waved at our host's wife as she sat outside their house overlooking the ocean.  Seeing Mandurah from the water gave me a totally new perspective on this place; it was an absolutely wonderful, "this is why we moved here" day.

So I wanted our recent visitors to also experience Mandurah from the water.  Their visit gave us the perfect excuse to try out the second of the three local boat hire options I'm interested in. (The first was kayaking.  We loved that so much we ended up buying kayaks.) This time we hired a pontoon boat and took ourselves on a self-drive tour of the estuary.  There are two companies in Mandurah who hire out this sort of boat to day-trippers.  We chose the company below.

As there we six of us I had intended to hire a six-seater boat but these were all booked up for the day.  Instead my sister and I negotiated an excellent deal on a far swankier and more spacious 10-seater boat - then my partner arrived, realised he and the proprietor had met and the deal got even better. There below, like a shiny floating patio, is the boat we hired for four hours.

We loaded our picnic, snorkeling gear, four cameras and a million other things on board.  We were given maps and various route suggestions, driving instructions and a safety briefing and then we were off!  We decided to go down the Peel Inlet towards the Dawesville Cut; we went via the canals as there really are some things about this place that you just have to see to believe.

We all had turns taking photos of each other,

and driving (and sneakily tucking into the picnic).

We cruised around spotting dolphins, fish and birds and admiring the stunning scenery.
At the south end of the Peel Estuary near where it joins the Harvey Estuary, we parked the boat, ate our picnic and two of our party snorkeled.

We had a tiring

but glorious day and hopefully showed our visitors one of those "this is why we holidayed here" days.  But much as I enjoyed this outing I wasn't tempted to rush out and buy my own boat this time - hiring a boat occasionally seems a far more sensible option. 

On the way back an example of boat hire option three cruised past us.

Yes, there are companies here who hire out houseboats - and other companies who sell them.  Given the lack of success I'm having on the house-hunting front, I suspect I'm going to be sorely tempted to do some major shopping the day after we try out that option.  I wonder if they come with trailers...

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