This is a new venture for Shelley and Doug Gould commenced in 2015.
We have some exposure to the Kimberley waters and are very excited about being able to explore with you the wonders of this part of the world.
Shelley has 30 years experience in hospitality and food industry and is a Licensed Real Estate Agent. Doug has run his own businesses over a 40 year period. We are both passionate about good food and the Kimberley and are absolutely committed to giving you an experience you will never forget.
Our crew (Doug, Shelley,Rob, Bala, Scottie, Grant and Paul) have everything covered and are excited to explore this pristine wonderland with you and maximise your Kimberley adventure.
Our Captain Paul Milner’s mandate is to share the pristine remote locations, diverse wildlife and stunning scenery with all that want to witness this captivating coastline. Our Captain has a long history with the Kimberley and is keen to share his stories. This is what Paul has to say about his experience and passions:
“I’ve been involved in fishing and pearling industries in the Kimberly and owned and operated a barbecue boat in Kununurra. I have a great respect and love for this region and its people and various cultures.
When Paul is on a break Grant steps in as Captain. Here’s that Grant has to say.
““I grew up in a diverse cultural background in the highlands of Papua New Guinea until my teenage years, leaving high school (that established in the sail loft built for the America Cup Challenge boats of Alan Bond) I went onto and worked as a cray fisherman in Two Rocks where I gained my qualifications over 7 years as well as working in shearing sheds and later on shearing sheep during “off seasons”. Discovering Broome in 1986 I working as a Pearl Diver on one of the last sailing luggers in Broome, many years of my life in the pearling industry from Skippering to Management for companies throughout the Kimberley. I went onto spending some years Skippering extended charter vessels through the Kimberley using my establish knowledge of the region. I did spend some years in the offshore oil & gas industry as well as establishing my own business in providing training & examinations assisting maritime students in the Kimberley region gain qualifications. The love of this region has seen me coming back to Skipper the Oceanic.
“My upmost respect and admiration of this region and for the people from this remote and remarkable piece of Australia. I never tire of the sheer beauty of the Kimberley with always a surprise around the corner, the stories of the history, the mystery of the art, the harshness of the landscape and the true wilderness of this place plays a special part in my life and having the privilege of being able to share this unique place with likeminded people keeps me fascinated with this truly unique place we call “our back yard”.
More about the crew to come for 2018.
An Interview with Shelley and Doug Gould
In the following interview, Shelley and Doug talk about what made them set up Ahoy Buccaneers in the Kimberley as a family adventure sailing holiday. This discussion is on what they love about the Buccaneer and Bonaparte Archipelago and the attractions of the area.
Q: What do you find exciting about the Buccaneer Archipelago?
Doug: It’s one of the world’s last untouched frontiers. It’s a massive area. It runs from Broome right around to Darwin. There’s a huge area there that very few people see. It’s in pristine condition. That’s why it appeals to everyone. As we understand from talking to a marine biologist, there are 3 remaining pristine marine eco systems in the world, the Artic, the Antarctic and the Kimberley Coast.
Q: Why is your Kimberley cruise different?
Shelley: It’s an affordable adventure for couples, singles and families. All ages are welcome. Our demographics are predominantly 50 to 80 and we also have a splattering of varying ages on most cruises, lots of extended families and also lots of solo travellers…no matter what age you are…..if you can climb a boarding ladder then you can come on our cruise. I think affordability is a major draw card and that is not 5 star and its appealing to ordinary Joe’s and Joelene’s who are looking for a”True Blue” Aussie Adventure! There are plenty of people that want to go on a Kimberley cruise, that recognise whilst 5 star is nice and has its place, its not what everyone is looking for. MV Oceanic goes to all the same destinations as the $20,000 cruises, without the frills, but with crew that are passionate and knowledgeable and love to share and show people their backyard. Yes, it is a budget cruise, the Oceanic is basic, but functional and she’s the vehicle that gets our adventurers to the stunning Kimberley sights one of the worlds last frontiers, that has been on so many people’s bucket list for so long and price has precluded them. As one guest sums it up on Trip Advisor “As like most who dream of cruising the Kimberley’s, the prohibitive cost of the well know cruising companies, that travel though this wonderland makes this bucket list dream, just that, a dream.
However with the Ahoy Buccaneers adventure you get to see all the magnificent locations and experiences at a fraction of the cost. This trip brings together a collective of like minded people who all join in to make this a wonderful experience.”
We consider ourselves ordinary Joe’s, trying to make a living, launch our kids and “make a difference” in the world along the way. Our cruise is for real people, who want real old fashioned genuine hospitality, enjoy meeting characters, who will lend a hand when they can and have a cracker of a time doing it in the most remote and breathtaking setting. Ahoy Buccaneers other bonus is the MV Oceanic is a fully rigged sailing schooner so this adds to the adventure, whilst we always motor, its romantic to get a sail up. There’s exploring, leisurely walks, swimming, waterfalls, fresh water pools and fishing and collecting oysters off the rocks. Nature provided the breaktaking scenery and our mandate is to match that with good times, good company and buckets of fun and….. I forgot a part of this recipe, great food!
Doug: We’ve got five kids between us. We wouldn’t go on a trip through the Kimberley without our family. We looked at all the cruise options for our own holidays. Apart from the cost, the other options for Kimberley cruising didn’t appear to be particularly affordable, we thought that if we can maintain staff to guest ratio down and not attempt to go 5 star we could remain affordable. That’s how the idea for Ahoy Buccaneers came about. We bought our own boat and we thought, let’s share it with all ages, although they all have to be young at heart!
Q: How did you arrive at the pricing for this trip?
Doug: We were looking for a point of difference and decided firstly on guest numbers and secondly crew numbers, thinking to work backwards from a price and where we would consider taking our family.
Shelley: We came up with a concept of a hands-on approach for our guests, where we encourage them to get involved, for example try their hand at sailing or from another perspective when guests finish their meal they wash their own dishes and it’s done. We’ve been able to keep the cruise affordable by making little adjustments and we also find it’s a way for guests and crew to join in together and get to know each other quicker and take ownership of their cruise. At the end of the day, guests can do as little or as much as they want, but we wont be making their beds or washing their dishes; the intention is to keep the cruise affordable so this is one instance of how we manage to pull this off.
Q: Can you tell me something about the crew?
Doug: We’ve got some great guys working with us Anthony (Ant) and Sam in all our businesses. Whilst they are not always on board each cruise, they both have a long history with boats, Ant in the Kimberley Pearling Industry and Sam in the UK was a master boat builder for Sunseekers. As well as having fine boat skills, mechanical skills and craftman skills, their enthusiasm, dedication and skills are our strength behind our businesses. Along with Paul and Grant our skippers, Ant knows a lot of the history of this area. Paul, Grant and Ant have lived in Kimberley’s or Broome most of their working life, in the Pearling industry and tourism industries and all spent lot of hours on the waterways in Broome and the Kimberley. We’ve been inspired by listening to their stories of the area and of their boating expeditions. Paul made a living off fishing and Barbeque boat tours in the Kimberley and Ant and Grant has spent 20 years exploring up and down the coast for work and pleasure. In particular Grant has travelled extensively throughout the Kimberley and the Pilbara with his Maritime training company. They’ve done a lot of work on boats. They know the waters. They know the local stories. They know the local people and along with the local knowledge and local knowledge is essential with the tides and weather in the Kimberley.
Q: Let’s talk about your boat The Oceanic
Shelley: It’s a 24-meter schooner, a fully rigged charter yacht. It’s a spacious motor vessel with sails with lots of character. No photo really does the Oceanic’s size justice, but we are working on that. It’s got three levels, a top deck that is out of bounds. Then it’s got an upper lounge with seating and a great reading area. We have lots of history and factual books on the Kimberley and you can enter the wheelhouse from this lounge where you can have a yack with the captain and learn how to drive the boat and read charts if you want. It’s also got a forward deck with a 8 person spa which is covered in shade sail and a back deck which is undercover and generally the fishing spot on the boat. You can stand out on the point of the bow, have a drink, take in the breathtaking views. The lower deck is where the berths and the galley and a lounge area are which are spacious however we reckon the place to be will be out on deck mostly watching the world go by and keeping an eye out for the fishing line out the back.
Q: What’s the width of the boat and does it have the creature comforts of other cruise boats?
Doug: It’s just short of eight meters wide in the lounge so it’s quite a big area and just shy of 24 metres long.
Shelley: It’s living areas are air conditioned and the ensuite cabins, the others the air conditioning is fed from the main living room and hallway, all furnishings, beds and bedding, kitchen equipment are new and very comfortable. The cabins are predominantly triple; a double and a single, with a minimum of two people in each cabin. There’s three twin bunk rooms. There’s a couple of en-suited rooms and then the rest are shared bathrooms. Total 8 cabins. We are very excited about our new kitchen being built and also refurbishment of the Oceanic being completed over the wet season in 2017
Q:Tell us about the beach camping?
On our sailing adventures we do some beach camping if tides permit as well. We’ll have a handful out swagging under the stars and sometimes tides permitting, beach camping in dome swags with a crew member. We will have a camp fire where permitted, however most meals will still be taken on board the boat, tides permitting, sunset drinks and a barbecue night on the beach is also great fun. Swagging under the stars is always an early rise at dawn, but we reckon its the best spot to sleep, when we go with our kids we always swag, they love it and its makes the cruise a bit more adventurous. This year we had a 75 year old couple choose swagging over a cabin. Now they were a couple of characters, who have a zest for life, thats for sure.
Q: What do you think will be the highlights of the trip for people?
Doug: Just the pristine nature of the area. It’s just absolutely beautiful. The more Shelley and I see, the more we want to go back there. The more we go back there, the more stories we hear. It is a fascinating place and so much to explore, everytime we go, we find a new destination to add to our itinerary. The fishing’s just absolutely world class and black-lipped oysters are abundant. They’ll be plenty of that on the menu.
Shelley: I think the highlights are the fishing, whale watching and exploring. With over 800 islands to explore I doubt it could ever become repetitive. It’s a great place for an adventure. Its also about the people you meet on the boat and the social aspect of it. You get to know people in a 7-13 day cruise pretty well and we share stories and life’s lessons and the comraderie is evident at the end of each cruise when they come to our yard to share their highlights and photos; that’s a great aspect of the cruise as well.
Q: Can we talk a bit about food. People are always interested in the eating on the boat.
Shelley: We’re foodies, so the food will be good. It won’t be over the top 5 star, but we’ll certainly have an array of good food and fresh fish. All our food is freshly made, an assortment of fruit platters and good quality cheeses, home made muffins, brownies, desserts and morning and afternoon teas. Some nights we will have a barbecue or it might even be on the beach. Guests will have plenty of choice. All dietary requirements are catered for including, gluten free, vegetarians. There’ll be risottos, curries, stir-fries, local black lipped oysters if we are lucky! We’ll be grilling fish or steak, good chance there will be fresh fish! There will always be plenty of healthy options and variety and lots of interesting salads. We will always have vegetarian dishes also. Shelley tends to concentrate and cook the old fashioned comfort foods, like cheesecakes, apple crumble, bread and butter pudding, chocolate brownies and a mean caramel slice and there is always a good old roast dinner and Kimberley Rib Eye steak night on every cruise.
Q: Who will be doing the cooking on the ship, on the boat?
Doug: We have an experienced on-board cook, who will also form part of the crew. Shelley’s a qualified chef so she overseas all the food operations to ensure it is consistent with our mandate of crisp, clean, healthy, interesting with a dab of comfort food and sprinkle of sugar and spice always.
Q: What are you most excited about Ahoy Buccaneers?
Shelley: Exploring with our guests and crew really, exploring the whole Kimberley coast line. I think that it will be fantastic fun and the little we have seen of the Coastline words cannot describe the remoteness and beauty.
Doug: We opened up cruising in the Kimberley, we believe to ordinary Joe’s like us and its so exciting to share this experience with people. Its distant location has meant it has remained an unspoilt and remarkedly pristine location to explore and experience. Its the wild wild west at its best and no description can do it justice; distance and size are hard to measure as are the colours hard to comprehend. Shelley and I and our passionate crew enjoy sharing this with people.
Q: What is your schedule like?
Doug: Wet season cruising commences in late February and the cruising season ends in October. We start with Broome to Wyndham and the reverse cruises until May, then we commence 7 day Buccaneer cruises interspersed with Buccaneer and Bonaparte Cruises throughout the year.
Shelley: Six nights and seven days. It’s a great value trip I think. Leaves Mondays and we come back on a Sunday, the Buccaneer Archipelago is a bit of a taste tester and from this cruise we get a lot of guests re-booking for longer cruises. There are some guests that wont consider any other cruise as they have had the Broome to Wyndham cruise on their bucket list for so long and are set on that cruise. Interspersed between the Buccaneer cruises and gaining in popularity, is the 13 day Buccaneer and Bonaparte which is in more sheltered waters than the Broome to Wyndham and for those who are not so sure they are not going to get seasick, they often choose this option.
Doug: We’re running two tenders with the yacht, one tender is a a rib and holds 12, great for getting around and the other tender is a 5.3 quintrex set up for fishing, so we will be able to anchor up and then go off and do some exploring. We’ll be seeing Aboriginal art, going on walks and seeing some pretty special places. We love it up here and we can’t wait to show people around.
Shelley: Kimberley cruising has been in the past out of reach of the ordinary Joe’s and Joeline’s, so we are excited about offering it at affordable prices and also are beaming that we are attracting like minded people so we end up with a great bunch of people that have a cracker of a time. We think it is a “True Blue” Aussie Adventure without the frills.
Doug: Yeh, great to hear a lot of laughter and stories being told/shared on board. Some really great life stories……everyone has a story to tell if you listen to them.