Boat tours are often problematic for wheelchair users. Gangways are usually narrow and once on the boat the prime viewing areas are often inaccessible. On our recent trip to Jervis Bay we were told that Jervis Bay Wild offers an accessible dolphin watching tour on board their vessel the Port Venture. We decided to check it out before we booked and found it was indeed an accessible boat. Not only is the boat accessible for dolphin watching, but the boom netting experience is also made accessible with a hoist available on request. What a joy it is to discover these experiences on our adventures. I immediately think of all the people this will help enjoy their holidays more when visiting beautiful Jervis Bay.
JERViS BAY WILD – ACCESSIBLE DOLPHIN WATCHING CRUISE JERVIS BAY
On a lovely sunny summer’s day we boarded the Port Venture in Huskisson, Jervis Bay. BJ happily sat up front in the hope of spotting dolphins. We are told 100 Bottlenose Dolphins call the pristine waters of Jervis Bay home and are often spotted in their pods.
Nature isn’t on call so it’s always pot luck whether you spot anything on these tours but with such beautiful scenery I figured any wildlife spotting was a bonus. We were in luck though and it wasn’t long before we were joined by two dolphins who happily played hide and seek around the boat.
It’s such a privilege to watch dolphins up close while they swim in the wild. The two that visited the boat seemed to be on Jervis Bay time and in no hurry to leave. We had plenty of time to enjoy their company and in fact the boat left them rather than the other way around.
BJ absolutely loved the experience and laughed as they frolicked in the water.
We found this such a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the morning in Huskisson. Commentary is provided throughout the hour and half cruise, complimentary tea and coffee is available and the ride is really comfortable. For anyone with wobbly sea legs, this is the cruise for you. A lovely gentle cruise with stunning views.
AJ was visiting the area with school friends the week prior to our arrival and she did the cruise with her mates. When I asked her the highlight of her time in the region, she listed the cruise as the best activity they did while staying in Huskisson, so clearly it appeals to all ages.
ACCESSIBILITY ON PORT VENTURE, DOLPHIN WATCHING CRUISE
As with any experience, we recommend contacting the business to ensure the facilities will meet your needs. We found the Port Venture to be accessible for BJ using his manual chair but keep in mind the boat does have limitations regarding access. Ask questions if you’re unsure to avoid disappointment. We found the staff knowledgeable and keen to assist.
A wide and gentle slope on the gangway makes access on and off the Port Venture easy.
Step-free access is offered to the bow of the boat but it should be noted the ramp is steep. A bit of muscle power is required.
BJ was travelling with his off-road tyres which make his chair wider than usual and he still fitted through the door opening. His wheelchair width, with the fat tyres, is 64cm. This width is pretty much the limit for getting through the door which provides access to the bow.
AJ wasn’t with us for the dolphin watch trip so BJ wasn’t keen to do the boom netting experience but has done it on another cruises in the past and loved it. Getting him on to the boom net was a challenge so it’s wonderful to see Jervis Bay Wild providing a hoist for guests with disability to ensure everyone can participate.
A ramp leads down to the back of the boat to where the boom netting action happens.
An accessible bathroom is on board. It’s larger than the usual boat bathroom but not as big as standard accessible bathroom.
Prior to boarding the vessel an accessible bathroom is available to use at the ticket office which is inside the Portside cafe.
The Portside Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast before your cruise or lunch afterwards. Easy access is offered throughout and as mentioned before there’s an accessible bathroom (pictured above).
The food looked good but as many of you will already know, BJ isn’t one for lingering over meals. He prefers to be out exploring.
The ability to use Port Venture is tide dependent, so if you require wheelchair access, please contact Jervis Bay Wild.
The hoist is not kept on the vessel so please contact Jervis Bay Wild to book it if you’d like to use it for boom netting. They need a day’s notice.
Australian Companion Card is accepted.
Measure your wheelchair width to ensure your wheelchair will fit through the doorway if you wish to access the bow of the boat.
For more information and to chat about your needs please call Jervis Bay Wild.
COVID SAFETY ON BOARD PORT VENTURE
We were impressed by the Covid safety displayed by the staff at Jervis Bay Wild. Each guest was temperature checked before boarding, we were all required to use hand sanitiser dispensed by staff prior to boarding and we needed to sign in using a QR code.