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The Big Duck Sightseeing Tour – Victor Harbor

Big Duck Boat ToursWe joined Dan Irvine on the causeway at Victor Harbor with some trepidation. The weather had not been kind to us during the previous 48 hours with heavy rain, flooding together with lightening storms.

It was a good job we were in safe hands given the fact that Dan has the Australian commercial marine qualification of Master V, an International Master of Yachts up to 200 tonnes qualification and a Marine Engine Driver certification grade 3.

Dan has been working in the marine tourism industry for the last 10 years in Cairns, North America, Sydney and Victor Harbor whilst his wife Katie(BSc, PhD) is a research ecologist and has studied and worked at the University of Adelaide, University of Denver and James Cook University, Cairns.

For this extended 1 hour tour, The Big Duck departed from the Granite Island Causeway and cruised slowly between the mainland and the northern side of Granite Island, affording breathtaking views of both the Victor Harbor shoreline and the island.

The Big Duck Map
The Big Duck Boat Tour

Once past the breakwater The Big Duck picked up its pace towards Seal Rock which was the first stop. We were entertained by New Zealand Fur Seals and Australian Sea Lions basking on the boulders in between fishing forays.

We then headed across Encounter Bay and past the huge granite boulders of Wright Island and the Bluff, with Shark Alley in between where Dan talked about the whaling history of the area.

We observed many seabirds diving into the turbulent waters 200 metres away, Dan thought that there was a shoal of fish close to the surface; where there are fish there are also Dolphins. To our amazement we were soon in the middle of a large pod of Green Bottlenose Dolphins chasing and feeding on the fish in the shallow waters around.

Many visitors to Victor Harbor never venture past Petrel Cove on the western side of the Bluff, but this is where we were in for another treat!

Dan navigated The Big Duck out to sea towards West Island Conservation Park which is complete with a research hut used by the universities and park rangers. The Big Duck headed further west past the darkly spectacular cliffs of Kings Beach and Waitpinga

It was in this area in 1802, a British vessel named the ‘Investigator’, captained by Commander Matthew Flinders, and the French ‘Geographe’, were assigned the task of charting the large stretches of Australia’s southern coastline by their respective governments.

The cliffs soared 200 metres above us brightly decorated with orange lichen and fresh green grass, this, coupled with the dark stormy clouds above and the crashing of the waves on the rocky coastline below was indeed the experience we had been searching for.

Alas, our hour was almost up and Dan turned the bow of  The Big Duck back towards Granite Island to set us safely back on the causeway albeit with slightly wobbly legs!

Thanks Dan, your expertise provided us with a fantastic insight into the marine environment around Victor Harbor. It really was a huge amount to see in one hour.

We felt completely safe and at ease in your capable hands.