Naturaliste Charters owners Paul and Alison Cross have always felt connected to their home ground in Western Australia's South West, and in 2009 they purchased Naturaliste Charters with the aim of offering guests an opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring whales of the region while maintaining a strong commitment to responsible and sustainable practices.
After dedicating many years to conducting whale research in Bremer Bay, Paul has transitioned to the role of skippering Bremer Killer Whale expeditions. "I've spent a lot of time in Bremer over the years with research and documentary filming, and now it's my time to shine in a customer-focused role," says Paul. "I have an extensive knowledge base when it comes to whales, and I'm excited about taking this experience to the next level.
Christmas Island in 19... Image: Naturaliste Charters.
The next level involves enhancing the whale watching experience for visitors, whales and the ocean itself. "My experience in dealing with animals is that you need to be passive and patient. The best interactions are the ones they initiate," Paul explains. "If you have to make them initiate behaviour, it's not the right way of working with wildlife."
Alison Maree, the refurbished vessel Paul named after his wife, has recently undergone an extensive refit which has transformed the expedition experience. "She's more stable, the extended deck levels provide more opportunity for interaction, we've added an adhesive floor that feels like walking on flush carpet and new high-mesh seating and lounges…," says Paul. "And we've kept to our same caps so guests can enjoy the new spaces."
Ma Chor Nui Nui Temple. Image: Naturaliste Charters.
Beyond the increased comfort of the revamped boat, Paul has also invested in changing Alison Maree's features so that she is more sustainable. "We've modified her with electric thrusters so we can now manoeuvre her without having to use the engine. As a result, we're burning less fuel overall, and I'm working on solar panels as the next big project," he says. "We're guests in the ocean, so we need to respect it and do our best to minimise our footprint."
Related Experience - Bremer Canyon Killer Whale Expedition
The Bremer Canyon has become one of the most sought-after whale watching expeditions across the globe, with over 100 Killer Whales (Orcas) returning to the submarine canyon each year from December to April; the only place in Australia where you can regularly encounter Killer Whales in the wild.