Showing posts from April, 2007

Corporate Affairs: Chartering for a corporate cruise

Char tering a multimillion dollar sports cruiser or motor yacht for your corporation or executives can be a daunting affair, but with a little prior knowledge, it can be easier than you think. Roderick Eime spoke to the experts for their advice. Imagine this: the call comes through from head office in Geneva. The global CEO and chairman are arriving for a lightning visit and you have two days to organise something. Three hours on the harbour should keep them occupied and out of the office. A nightmare scenario? Perhaps? But one you can deal with. Chartering a luxury vessel need not be a make-or-break ordeal. Follow our advice and you’ll enjoy a trouble-free experience and keep your job as well. Locating a Boat Flip open the yellow pages and you are presented with a bewildering array of vessels: small and large, fast and slow, cheap and nasty. But which is which? The result of our investigations turned up something that may not surprise you, but even boat owners and skippers recomm

A Little Luxury Afloat

for SIA Priority Magazine – Small Packages, Great Things! Bigger is better, right? Not necessarily so. As the major players in the cruise industry seem obsessed with building overwhelming mega-vessels, this fixation has driven many to seek an alternative. Roderick Eime examines the growing luxury boutique cruising market. As I stand watching the thousands of passengers disembark from Cunard’s enormous QE2 and disperse into the shopping and dining districts of Sydney’s The Rocks, I imagine troops disembarking from some distant conflict. Her much larger sibling, the QM2 , is too big for the berth in Circular Quay. Instead she’s docked in the naval base normally reserved for visiting aircraft carriers and her passengers are transported by every available bus in Sydney. Despite my unkind comparisons, this form of cruising is growing rapidly. Folks still love these enormous queens of the sea. But just as committed cruisers are flocking to the new breed of floating city blocks, there

Whitsunday Dreaming

Article from: “I see her as a sort of floating beach house, “ says Hume Campbell of his latest vessel, the sleep-aboard MV Ammari, “somewhere where guests can slow down quickly and relax.” Campbell, the current patriarch of the 80-year-old Brisbane-based family company Riverside Marine Pty Ltd, has seen the firm grow from humble coal barges and tugs to this: luxury leisure cruising. The laid-back side of this good ol’ fashioned maritime concern is Fantasea Adventure Cruising, purchased mid-2006 by Riverside for a reported $25 million. The 26-year-old company’s current activities include a fleet of air-conditioned, high speed catamaran ferries plying the waters of the Whitsundays and the award-winning tourist attraction, Reefworld, where visitors can actually overnight on the reef. Novel underwater accommodation is also planned. This latest acquisition, the catamaran MV Ammari began life in the Freemantle yards of Austal Ships in 2000 as “Rivage St Martin”, destined for boutique c

West ‘n’ Wild

from Bleak and bereft to the untrained eye, the wonders of Western Australia’s Coral Coast are now front-and-centre on the world eco-tourism stage. Ocean’s Roderick Eime sails aboard True North for an intimate look at our extraordinary Western shore. “There she is!” cried Greg our champion fisherman. His trained eyes, aided by Polaroid sunglasses, spotted the telltale wake on the shimmering sea. It was just a ripple at first, but soon looked like a midget submarine just beneath the surface. “She” was a magnificent whale shark, the world’s largest fish, and she was coming straight for us. This beautiful and serene creature is at least partly responsible for the surge in interest in Western Australia’s Coral Coast. The other significant and established attraction is the wild dolphin viewing at Monkey Mia, but the bounty of activities and sightseeing opportunities on the Coral Coast just begins there. The Coral Coast starts about 100 kilometres north of Perth and continues its u

The Massacre on the Abrolhus

It was the middle of a moonlit night on 4 June 1629 when the brand new Dutch East Indiaman, Batavia , struck Morning Reef in the Abrolhus Islands. This event was the beginning of one of the most horrific tales of human savagery ever. About half of the 268 survivors, including women and children, were systematically slaughtered by the mutinous and psychopathic Jeronimus Cornelisz who was plotting a career in piracy with the corrupt captain, Ariaen Jacobsz. Relics of this spine chilling chapter of Australia’s maritime history can still be found on the Abrolhus Islands. Several graves were excavated on Beacon Island and their mutilated remains examined. A cannon still lies in shallow waters were treasure hunters tried in vain to get the heavy souvenir ashore. The hero of the Batavia , Wiebbe Hayes's ‘fort’ still stands on Wallabi Island: Australia’s oldest known European structures. In 1963 the wreck was located and the fable reignited. Many recovered items are on display in the

The Search for HMAS Sydney

STOP PRESS: HMAS Sydney Found ! About 4pm on 19 November 1941, the lookout on HMAS Sydney reported an unidentified merchant ship near Shark Bay. An exchange of signals aroused the suspicions of Captain Burnett RAN, and he closed in for a closer look at the mysterious 8500 tonne vessel. When the two ships were less than a kilometre apart, the disguised German raider, Kormoran , dropped its camouflage and let loose with a slavo from six 150mm guns and torpedoes. HMAS Sydney was caught unawares, took the full brunt of the German guns and was immediately set ablaze. In a desperate act of reply, HMAS Sydney unleashed a return salvo from her remaining gun and struck the raider in the engine room, a blow that would prove fatal for the Germans. After the short, bloody battle, both ships’ crews were busy fighting their respective fires. HMAS Sydney and her 645 men drifted off to the horizon never to be seen again. Kormoran ’s survivors abandoned ship and scuttled her near the site of

Dirk Wos Heere

In October 1616, after a long and arduous traverse of the Indian Ocean, a 700 tonne trading ship, Eendracht , of the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) came “unexpectedly” upon some islands. It was not completely unusual for the Dutch to sight Australia if they had been blown off course or had become lost on their crossing of the vast Indian Ocean. Skipper of the vessel, Theodoric Hertoge (Dirk Hartog) however, came ashore. It has since been established that this was actually the second European landing on the Australian mainland after his countryman, Willem Janszoon, landed near Cape York ten years prior. Unimpressed and behind schedule, Hartog nailed a pewter plate to a post and set off to his destination of Batavia (now Jakarta). That plate was later rediscovered and replaced and the original transported back to Amsterdam by another Dutch mariner in 1696. It is now a coveted artefact in the Rijksmuseum. The island that now bears his name forms a natural, 15 kilometre long sea w

Holy Skyscrapers Batman, This Isn’t the Mardi Gras!

Image: Adrian Warren Everyone loves Melbourne. Everyone in Melbourne anyway. Give me Sydney any day, says Roderick Eime. In 1996 Melbourne was still under the temporary spell of Jeff Kennett when a motley bunch of liberal powerbrokers and commercial heavyweights wrested the phenomenally popular Australian Formula One Grand Prix from Adelaide. The city of churches had for ten years been the darling of the Formula One circuit when the South Australian capital pulled out all the stops to entertain and impress the world. Like stealing candy from a contented baby, bully-boy Melbourne snatched just about the only thing Adelaide had going for it on the world sport stage. Smug and satisfied, Kennett and his marauding cronies were busy admiring their prize when F1 team Williams and major sponsor Rothmans decided they would make a television commercial to celebrate the new venue. Location scouts scoured the austere landscape of Melbourne in search of an iconic setting for their blockbuster

Buccaneer and Succour There

Article from: Roderick Eime braves pirates and cyclones for a glimpse of the romantic South Seas life on Vanuatu Where: Iririki Island Resort and Spa, Port Vila , Vanuatu “Pull that halyard! Put yer back into it, lad!” hollers Captain Harry, as I heave and sweat on the fat rope that hoists the mainsail. “Now sweat it off like this,” he curses, pulling heavily on the rope and fixing it to the cleat. I’d made the mistake of voicing a passing interest in sailing and Harry, eager to immerse me in the experience, soon has my flabby arms aching and sore from the exertion. We’re aboard his classic gaff rigged schooner, Cassiopeia , full rig flying and heading out of Port Vila harbour for an evening sunset cruise. Rum-laden punch is poured generously in true seagoing style and soon the tall tales are flowing. Harry is what you’d call a corporate refugee. A US-born architect, he was about to sign the biggest deal of his life, then backed out at the last minute, choosing