The Wildsights Story
Our story begins in the mid-sixties of last century, with the founder of our business, Harvey Raven.
Harvey began sailing and discovering marine animals in his early teens. He first learnt about dugong (sea-cows) as a 15 year old circumnavigating an island in a small sailing dinghy in Moreton Bay (Brisbane - Queensland).
Progressing to larger boats, he spent a lot of time cruising the shallow areas of Moreton Bay, and watching wildlife. He eventually learnt where, when and which animals were to be found. This knowledge ultimately became the foundation of the world's only daily, scheduled dugong watching cruise at Monkey Mia.
In his early twenties and with a background of sales, marketing and multihull yacht racing, Harvey established Australia's first specialist yacht brokerage dealing in the sale of large catamarans and trimarans.
Scientists looking for suitable research vessels consulted Harvey and, as a result of the assistance he gave, offered to reciprocate if possible. So when he acquired the 60 foot (18 metre) catamaran Shotover, specifically for wildlife cruises in Brisbane, he had renowned scientists as advisers to help create great wildlife cruises.
In 1990 he began specialising in wildlife cruises primarily under sail (and today we are still the only operator in Australia to do that).
In 1992 the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort undertook an exhaustive, 6 month, nationwide search for the highest quality ecotourism operator for their guests. Our business, then based in Brisbane was their choice.
Co-incidentally the dolphin and dugong scientists who were his advisers in Brisbane had also done research work at Monkey Mia so he had a readymade Monkey Mia connection.
Having learnt the commitment it takes to professionally service the tourism industry in Queensland's Gold Coast and Whitsunday Islands, when Shotover began operating at Monkey Mia it quickly established a level of professional quality, dependability and reliability not seen before in Shark Bay.
Our Customers Are Really Everything (CARE) Story
Our CARE policy requires that "A guest must leave us with a smile" and this is what stands behind it:
"Love it, or it’s free!"
A totally unconditional, no-questions-asked, 100% money-back guarantee on your tours and cruises.
$100 Warranty of Seawellness
Any fare paying passenger who gets physically sick on a cruise gets $100 in soft warm cash (the only proviso is no fingers in the throat).
Unconditional, free repeat cruises, forever. With wild animals there is naturally the possibility of occasionally not finding many of them, or (gulp) not finding them at all! So on our cruises we'll carry that risk for you! You are welcome to come back on any cruise again, as our guest (yes, for free), as often as you like (yes forever, if that's what it takes) until you've seen the animals to your satisfaction.
Money-Back Guarantee on Products
The quality of any product bought from us, from T-shirts to tickets, from magazines to drinks, are all totally covered by our no-questions-asked, unconditional, 100% money-back guarantee.
Your Satisfaction is our Absolute Priority
We know of no other operator in the world that makes those commitments.
Our Short Story
Wildsights, reflects the nature of the business - observing nature in the wild.
Create an entertaining, inspirational insight into Nature.
Conduct a professional, ecotourism business, in a truly natural and unobtrusive and sustainable manner.
"Do it in the wild, naturally, love it or it's free!"
It expresses the three components of our product philosophy:
That wildlife and nature is what you'll get
That we promise to provide it in a natural way
Naturally, it's 100% money-back guaranteed
The hibiscus flower a native of Western Australia represents the natural, relaxed atmosphere of our business.
Most of the petals are in fact images of animals commonly found here.
The top petal represents the type of business.
Over the years the cruise business evolved to include other activities, so that now you can choose from: Award winning Wildlife Cruises, Driving you wild 4WD Tours, Tourist Info Service and two great accommodation properties for your holiday base.
The businesses each have their own top petal variation of the logo and are identified as follows:
Cruises are represented by the boat under spinnaker;
The accommodation, a house;
The 4WD uses a bobtail lizard,
The stamen is a comet with the Southern Cross at the tail, to represent our Awestronomy (currently on hold).
The Shotover Story
Shotover is huge, 60' (18m) long and 31' (9m) wide. Originally built as an ocean racer, she established her reputation as the fastest ocean racer in the southern hemisphere on her maiden voyage! Several of her subsequent ocean racing and passage records remain unbroken. You’ll be sailing a famous champion, still the fastest sailing cruise boat in the country and is probably still one of the fastest ocean racing cats in the southern hemisphere.
The Advantages of a Thoroughbred
Naturally your cruises are very leisurely, but if the animals aren’t nearby, our unmatched sailing ability will get you around faster than any other sailing cruise boat in Australia. You’ll certainly be impressed by the size, power and effortless speed but you’ll be amazed at the smooth ride, the stability and the secure feeling of the big cat.
The Tahitian Connection
For a year she worked with the 10 Network. A seasoned ocean voyager, she's sailed all over the Pacific. For 3 years she worked in romantic French Polynesia, carrying guests from Papeete, Tahiti, to legendary Moorea and to Marlon Brando’s Polynesian atoll - Tetiaroa.
The Rich and Famous
Her previous owner, Sir Douglas Myers, was one of New Zealand’s wealthiest men. The only double bunk on board was built especially for singer Diana Ross.
Our Good Luck Charms
Equipment from Australia 2, the yacht that won the America’s Cup for Australia.
Shotover is unique - she’s the only one of her design in the world! This is a fabulous opportunity to do some fair-dinkum sailing, aboard a part of Australia’s ocean racing history. The sailing is an experience in itself, plus you’ll enjoy the superb experience of seeing animals in the wild, at close quarters, in an environmentally unobtrusive way. A rare opportunity for a truly unique blend of experiences.
See the video of Shotover here.
Our Environmental Action Story
Our environmental aim is:
“Preserve tomorrow's environment, today, by proactively developing environmental Best Practice procedures throughout our business”.
We set benchmarks for wildlife cruise operators worldwide through our dedication to preserve tomorrow today, using role-model Environmental Best Practices. Ours is the only operation in the world to have been scientifically shown not to have an effect on the dolphins we work with.
The environmental calibre of our business has been acknowledged by:
British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award - Special Australia Award
Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are aimed at recognising best practice in sustainable tourism within the industry globally.
Honoree for Australia - ETC’s Inaugural Responsible Tourism Showcase, Washington DC
The Educational Travel Consortium has focused on Community-based tourism initiatives through its annual Responsible Tourism Showcase whereby businesses are chosen from a global selection of nominees submitted by their peers. The nominee must offer a strong program demonstrating admirable environmental, cultural, educational, and/or volunteerism principles.
Finalists Western Australia’s Environmental Tourism Award.
This category recognises ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.
Medallists in the FACET Golden Guide awards
The aim of the Award is to recognise individual excellence in tour guiding and raise the profile of this important profession. It acknowledges the significant contribution quality tour guides make to enriching the experience of visitors through interpreting the natural and cultural environment.
We provide infrastructure support for Shark Bay's dolphin and dugong research teams.
We funded the entire inaugural field season of tiger shark research for the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project.
We also record and report significant events for the research teams e.g:
- female dolphins with a new-born calf
- dolphins with new shark bites
- We were the first to alert the Parks & Wildlife Service and the research scientists of the 2012 Algal Bloom and to collect and store water samples for testing
- Our mammal sightings are logged and provided to the WA Parks and Wildlife Service
- We funded the the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project’s entire inaugural field season of tiger shark research (see scene stealers story below)
The Ecotourism Story
Our cruises are Best Practice operations. We were awarded Advanced Ecotourism accreditation, the highest level of accreditation achievable.
There is no provision for acknowledging operators whose practices exceed the highest level of accreditation.
Our competitor, which cannot match our practices, was given the same level of accreditation as us.
Because they unknowingly aren’t able to compare apples with apples, the discerning public therefore could not differentiate between a Best Practice and a lesser standard operator The public sees us as equal quality.
This was frustrating enough, but the final straw that caused us to end our relationship with the Ecotourism Accreditation, was when an accreditation inspector familiar with our operation and that of a competitor, claimed there was little difference between the operations.