Little Miss Explorer Goes Swimming With Great White Sharks


Only few animals on our planet get such bad publicity as the Great White Shark do, but thanks to Adventure Bay Charters, I was able to see first hand that it was far from the truth.

It’s safe to say, being in the water, yet in the safety of the cage, with a Great White shark is simply one of the most life changing adventures you can possibly have. It’s only when you see them up close and personal, that you can finally judge them for yourself. Everything the media has once told you about these creatures will be changed forever. Calm, curious, gentle; didn’t think you’d ever hear those words being associated with a Great White? Well, you’re finally hearing the truth.

It took approximately two and a half hours to get to the beautiful Neptune Islands from Port Lincoln, South Australia. On the journey there, I couldn’t help but think, “what the hell am I doing?”, and it wasn’t because of the sharks, it was because of my intense fear of water, but hey, you’ve got to conquer your fears one day, right?

Once we arrived, within minutes, we saw our first shark circling around the boat. “Quick, everybody get your suits on and get in!”, the skipper instructed us. We were all eager to get in and finally start swimming with these majestic creatures. On a side note, the reason why I decided to travel with Adventure Bay Charters was because, in order to protect the natural environment, they use audio sound vibrations to attract the sharks to the boat rather than berley. For me, it seemed like a perfect fit for an #ecoexplorer (keep a track of this hashtag on my social media).

It was by this time that I’d actually lost count of how many sharks we’d seen from the boat. I hadn’t made my way into the cage yet, I was too busy gobbling away on the delicious cupcakes they had on board. If anyone knows me well enough, a good cupcake is the way to win my heart.

Alas, it was time. I was all suited up and ready to conquer my fear of water. In all honestly, I don’t even remember being scared. It was probably because I was either to preoccupied with the cupcakes, or due to the fact that I was just too bloody excited! The skipper got me equipped and all ready to go, and in a matter of minutes I was swimming with the kings of the ocean. At first, it took me a few attempts to be able to breathe through the regulators properly. With a fear of water, I was feeling the pressure to be able to breathe calmly. After closing my eyes and really focusing on all my efforts to calm down,  I reopened them and there it was, a giant four metre Great White Shark swimming gracefully past me. BAM! All my anxiety vanished. I remember thinking:


“Wow. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.”

That was the moment I fell in love with sharks. It was the complete opposite from what people had told me. I wasn’t scared. My heart didn’t start racing out of fear, it was far from that! I was in a complete trance.  From my quick examination, I was swimming face to face with a beautiful female Great White Shark. Her eyes were staring right at me. She was so curious to see some of the friendly guests who were swimming in her home. I remember feeling just so spiritual and at one with the ocean. I wasn’t there to harm her, and she wasn’t there to harm me. We were simultaneously coexisting. This is one of the positive eco-friendly experiences you can have if you decided to swim berley-free.

Throughout the day, I believe we saw about five sharks that were friendly enough to come and say hello. My whole experience with Adventure Bay Charters has definitely turned a once in a lifetime activity, into a ‘I’m going to do this all the time adventure’. It’s a bit like the tattoo, once you get one, you crave for more.

Little Miss Explorer is brought to you by a young Australian travel enthusiast, Frances Smith. Having traveled to fourteen countries; you can definitely say that she has caught the travel bug. With her knowledge and experiences, Frances dedicates her time and effort to Little Miss Explorer as she aims to inspire, educate and help share her passion for the tourism industry both nationwide and internationally. Join Frances on her adventures as she explores all the beautiful things the world has to offer.


Great White Shark 3D, IMAX Melbourne

Review by: Stuart Kortekaas

As you’d expect, the IMAX film Great White Shark 3D features stunning footage of these magnificent and graceful animals up close – both in and out of the water!

Great White Shark 3D contains some interesting pieces of information, and unexpected insights into the world of the sharks. I think you’ll be very surprised to discover just how far into the ocean’s depths it’s now known they dive to! New Zealand isn’t a place most people associate with great whites, so it was interesting also to see footage taken in those waters also.

The film does address several contentious issues head on, including how great whites have been portrayed in popular culture. John Williams distinctive score from the movie Jaws is played while the impact of the book and movie is discussed, lending a real sense of occasion to the documentary. I think it’d be fair to say that as much as we fear sharks, we’re also equally fascinated by them!

The film also addresses the popularity of cage diving in South Africa. Unfortunately the examples of cage diving shown were of the ‘old fashioned’ way of attracting sharks, by throwing bait into the water and essentially teasing them with it. At this point I couldn’t help but thinking this was one of the few areas in which the film wasn’t keeping up with the latest contemporary practises. In Australia, where shark cages were first developed, it’s been proven that great white sharks can be attracting by doing nothing more than playing rock music underwater! This is something I’ve observed first hand, during a tour by Adventure Bay Charters last year at the Neptune Islands, a remote location several hours off the coast of Port Lincoln in South Australia. The sharks are more curious than anything else to check out the music being played (They particularly like AC/DC!), resulting in a more natural and relaxed environment, which benefits all involved, including the great whites!

From a practical perspective, the IMAX film also provides some useful advice for anyone that finds themselves in the water with a great white. Two record-breaking free divers, Frederic Buyle and William Winram, who follow great whites by simply holding their breath and free diving with them, talk about their observations and experiences.

This film is definitely a must-see! It opens at IMAX Melbourne on January 1:

(Photo courtesy IMAX Melbourne, used with permission)IMAX


Adventure Bay Charters Takes Home WINNER of Best Major Tourist Attraction in South Australia

Matt_portraitThe South Australian Tourism Awards were held on Friday, November 8th, 2013 to recognise and promote business excellence in tourism. Managed by the South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC), winners from the South Australian Tourism Awards then represent the state at the Australian Tourism Awards level.  A decision for the top winner is based on product, business plans, marketing, customer service, professional development, and sustainability. The business also goes through a rigorous site inspection as a major portion of the judging process. It is a regional and national recognition of elite status.


Adventure Bay Charters has been awarded the top award in the Major Tourist Attraction division. Major Tourist Attraction embodies all attractions that are considered a hallmark destination in their own right. In addition to the Winner of Major Tourist Attraction, we also received Gold in Adventure Tourism as well as Silver in Tour Operator. We are pleased to accept the awards and will continue to build a strong and worthwhile tourism business. Thank you to our business partners, guests and crew for all of your continued support and fresh ideas. We couldn’t have earned it without you.

Cage Diving: Great White Wine With Great White Sharks

The first ever wine tasting whilst cage diving with great white sharks. Winemaker Tom Barry and travelling Wineram presenter and sommelier Colin West tasted Clare Valley Riesling while cage diving with Adventure Bay Charters last week!  The novel idea worked and found these wine professionals performing a wine tasting with the great white sharks of South Australia.



“The sharks just kind of cruise and come by, it’s a better experience [than using blood] because you see them how they really are. It was cool being down there – we were really excited. We were dancing to the music” Mr. West reported.


WineTasting2Mr. West was extremely impressed with the acoustic attraction and said he wanted to go with Adventure Bay Charters because “it’s a better experience [than using blood] because you see them how they really are.”

For a first ever, this idea tops the charts!

“Adventure Bay Charters gave me a once in a lifetime experience to be face to face with the oceans most feared and beautiful creature, the great white shark. And without chumming! How do they do it you may ask? With music hehe you may laugh, I did a little at first but this does provide two major differences to your experience. First the wait, when hanging out in the cage looking into the vast blue abyss you’re mind can play tricks and the nerves kick in. But when you have some classic Aussie rock pumping (ACDC) into the ocean it’s a totally different sense, not fear but excitement! Secondly and most importantly, there is no chumming so the sharks are as they would be in the wild (Peaceful and curious) and not these freaked out killing machines that we all know from JAWS which has harmed the species far worse then even Steven Spielberg ever would have thought. The crew were very friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do which makes it all that more encompassing and created a great vibe. I did this trip as a filmmaker on a wine production (wineram) to shoot the first ever wine taste / shark cage dive, which was a success by the way, a massive thank you to Jim Barry wines for making that possible too. As an adventure filmmaker I spend a lot of my time hanging out of helicopters and snowboarding down the faces of mountains around the world and with this I can safely say this was on the bucket list for many years and would put this in my top 10 lifetime experiences! That’s a big shout out if ever I’ve given it. So once again thank you very much guys it was a 10/10 experience and I hope to do it again sometime in the future.” Rupert & Crew

We would like to thank WINERAM Australia for coming out wine tasting with us here at Adventure Bay Charters!


Sea lions, Dolphins, and Sharks! Oh My!

On the 21st of June, two excited explorers set out with Adventure Bay Charters for the experience of a lifetime. An overnight marine safari in search of Sea lions, Dolphins and Sharks.

The day began dreary and grey, as the good ol’wintery weather was a upon us, but nonetheless our explorers were keen! Cruising past Memory Cove we reminisced of the hardships of the early explorers as they struggled to navigate around the peninsula. Don’t be deceived this beautifully weathered landscape led an ill fate for many sailors.

Our first stop was Hopkins Island to swim with the Australian Sea lion. Despite the cold weather they were in fine form. Curious and playful as ever.

On the way to the gorgeous Thistle Island, a pod of dolphins joined in playing it the wake of the boat and escorting us into Wilderness Cove. Where Matt the skipper loaded up the luggage and rowed our explorers ashore, where the chef was waiting with sparkling wine and oysters.

After a nice warm shower and a delicious seafood dinner with local delicacies. It was time for a good night rest, before the next days expeditions.

A casual morning with hearty breakfast and soon enough it was time to don the wetsuit again. Although this time, it was to face the most feared marine predator. The Great White Shark! The great thing about our audio methods for attracting sharks, is you truly get to see their natural and inquisitive behaviour.  As you can see in the video clip below.

One last piping hot cup of tea to warm the sole and a relaxing cruise back to Lincoln Cove. It was now time to bid farewell to our newly found friends!

There’s no competition for ‘The Best Job in the World’, we’ve already won!

At the start of 2013 Tourism Australia started The Best Jobs in the World campaign. Each state created their own unique best job in the world, and for South Australia this was The Wildlife Caretaker.

The lucky winner of this 6month $100,000 position was announced today!! Adventure Bay Charters would like to congratulate Greg Snell, and give a hearty slap on the back to the runners up- Nick Tilley and Hsin-Hsuan Hseih.

Sunrise view from the Port Lincoln Hotel

Sunrise view from the Port Lincoln Hotel

As the sun was rising on Sunday 16th of June, some sleepy competitors ventured from their comfy warm beds at Port Lincoln Hotel to the Lincoln Cove Marina, oblivious to the wildlife encounter that was awaiting them! Swimming with the Australian Sealions!

Nick Tilley could not describe it better – ‘the reality of actually doing it was more than I could have imagined. It was INCREDIBLE- easily the most interactive wildlife encounter I have ever had- and that’s saying something.’

Happy Competitors Swimming with the Sealions - Adventure Bay Charters

Swimming with the Sealions – Adventure Bay Charters

The three luck compeitors, left to right - Nick Tilley, Hsin-Hsuan Hseih, Greg Snell

The three lucky competitors, left to right – Nick Tilley, Hsin-Hsuan Hseih, Greg Snell

And once again let’s leave with some thoughtful words from Nick Tilley in his blog The Backpack Professor- ‘Most importantly, I was reminded that it’s not only the raw, powerful beauty, nor the extremely unique wildlife, but it’s also the people that make this country so special- people like Craig Wickham, Dr. Peggy Rismiller, and Captain Matt from Adventure Bay- people who love their jobs, and love sharing their passion for Australia with others. Somehow, these people have already found their own versions of ‘The Best Job in the World’, right here in Australia.’

Hear-hear Nick, so very true!

Adventure Bay Charters, the Best in SA!

On Friday 23 November, Adventure Bay Charters were named winners in three categories at the South Australian Tourism Awards including Best Major Tourist Attraction, Best New Tourism Development for the Ultimate Ocean Safari and the Best Adventure Tour for the third year in a row, entering them into the Hall of Fame. It is with great pleasure and appreciation Matt Waller accepted these awards thanking his staff, family and friends.

He also made a special mention of all the business and promoters of the Eyre Peninsula who work so hard to bring this region into the same regard as Kangaroo Island and the Barossa Valley.

Matt admits he wouldn’t be where his is today if it wasn’t for the support of these people and the un-relentless determination of his competitors pushing him to be better than he was last year.

Adventure Bay Charters plan to make the most of this recognition for the company and region alike by continuing to bring amazing experiences to their visitors, particularly with the Sea Lion and Great White Shark tours and by focusing on environmentally sustainable tourism practices and expanding the Great Whites taste in music!

The Original Super Trawler

There has been a lot of media coverage of late of the infamous “Super Trawler” which is docked in Port Lincoln. With it came a whole lot of mixed feelings in the community and it wasn’t until recently I was told of the first super trawler to ever come to Port Lincoln; the Tacoma which had the exact same effect on the locals all those years ago.

The construction of the Tacoma started in 1944 by the Haldane brothers who weren’t afraid of a bit of hard work. 7 years of hard work to be exact. With cranes unavailable they chopped, carved and carried huge logs of wood, the longest measuring at 70ft and all of them weighing up to 25 tones in total. The brothers had different ideas of what they were going to use the ship for but alas, life happens and plans changed. It was destined to revolutionise the South Australian fishing industry with nets capable of catching up to 1000 tones, it was a super trawler in every sense of the word in those days.

After moving their families from Port Fairy in Victoria to Port Lincoln the brothers had an unsuccessful start but eventually they went on catch the first Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australian waters using a net.

That was just the beginning of  what was to be a long and remarkable adventure which you can now hear all about from a select few that were there from the start. The Tacoma still sits proudly in Port Lincoln waters as a testimony to good old fashioned hard work and persistence  Tours of this magnificent boat are available every Friday at the modest cost of $12 per person. Whether it be the original skipper, crew members or children of the Haldane brothers you will be taken on an adventure, learning how to catch Tuna with long fishing poles and what the crew’s favourite pass times were, not to mention a tasting of the delicious famous scones made in the old wood oven.

For those of you who want the real experience the Tacoma runs an annual Tuna trip where you can fish for Tuna just like they did back in the day, with the overalls, hard hats, poles and all. Be warned it’s not for the fainthearted. Eleven days out at sea living in each others pockets but trust me when I say it’ll be a trip of a life time that you’ll be proud of. For more information call on 08 8682 1124 or visit their website at

Now I bet you didn’t know that!


The New and Improve Ultimate Ocean Safari!

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard of our Ultimate Ocean Safari, only the best marine Adventure on the Eyre Peninusla! When this tour was first released it was to be all onboard an expidition ship that sleeps a maximum of 9 people but having an idea’s man like, Matt running this business there was sure to be a better way. As a result anyone booking to come on our Ultimate Ocean Safari will now be staying on the private, secluded land that is Thistle Island! The dubbed, Thistle Island Safari Camp is perched high on the sand hills over looking a private beach complementing the surrounding cliffs and clear blue water. Here guests can relax and reflect on the days adventures in this motion-free hide away whislt enjoying a beautifully prepared seafood dinner.

Now don’t you think this makes the adventure even better? We certainly do! Not only will you experience the wonders of the underwater creatures that call this part

of the world home, you will also have a chance to get upclose and personal with the inhabitants of this land such as the Black Footed Rock Wallaby, a breed of Wallabies that are very rare! Possums and Bilbies are also a common sight on this island so keep your eyes peeled and camera ready!

This is truley the way to see the Australian outback with the aim of seeing the “Big 5″ as the main objective combined with the breath taking scenery of Thistle Island you couldn’t ask for a more memorable trip! If you can’t wait any longer enquire now! Our next trip is going on the 17th and 18th of November and it is sure to book out quick.



Weekend Notes

Hi All!

This is early warning that Father’s Day is just around the corner! Sunday September 2nd to be precise. You don’t need to spend agonising days or even weeks to decide what to get him this year. Just read this article below, it has plenty of great ideas! In particular our Swim with the Great White tour and there is a special offer included in this as well so check it out now!