Glenelg’s Temptation Sailing offers private cruises and dolphin expeditions along South Australia's stunning coastline.
BY SAM SMITH
What’s the best thing you could do with $25 on a weeknight? Consume an exorbitant amount of takeaway food? Buy a bottle of wine?
How about heading to South Australia’s most popular beachside precinct – Glenelg – strolling alongside Holdfast Marina and casually boarding a 58 ft x 32 ft high-performance sailing catamaran? Glide out to sea at sunset, cocktail in one hand, cheese and/or cracker in the other.
Glenelg’s Temptation Sailing has run public cruises, private cruises and dolphin expeditions since 2002. Their catamaran, Temptation, accommodates up to 50 people, complete with bar, undercover seating area and sound system.
A friend and I were recently “tempted” by a sunset cruise, and eagerly boarded the catamaran on a hot summer night after work. The sunset cruise is open to the public, and we quickly began chatting to fellow seafarers, before securing a place to sit at the front of the boat. Owner and captain, Steve, was at the helm, while second in charge, Trent, gave us directions to the bar and cabin area.
If you’ve lived in South Australia for many years, it’s easy to take the city's beaches for granted. But as we glided away from the marina and along the coast, it was as if I was seeing the illuminated hotels, buzzing restaurants and bars for the first time.
Looking out at Henley Square and jetty from the Temptation catamaran.
As daylight faded and we sailed further from the shore, Trent turned on the sound system and opened the bar. This was enough to get a lot of the crew excited, myself included, though standing up proved to be a harder task than I first expected. Half squatting, half walking, a huddle of us made our way to the cabin, scuttling in a crab-like manner. Trent steadily poured two glasses of white wine while I watched in awe, still holding onto a rail on the side of the boat. “Is it always this bumpy?” I asked. “It doesn’t even seem that choppy out there!” Trent laughed and continued pouring.
Thankful my drink was not carbonated, I carefully made my way back to the front of the boat. By now it was around 8:30pm and the sky had turned a magnificent peach colour. Following the lead of a friendly German couple sitting near us, we dangled our legs off the side of the boat, relishing the cooling sea spray as the catamaran cut through the choppy water beneath us.
Sitting right up the front of the boat, I watched as the Henley Beach shoreline passed us by, bathed in golden light. All our 30 or so sailing companions looked completely content. Some had brought their own cheese platters, while others were enjoying pre-prepared dinners (you can bring your own food on the sunset cruise).
Just after we passed Grange, we made a gentle u-turn and began heading back to Glenelg. Music played over the boat's sound system, and we watched as the sky slowly faded from orange, to pink, to dark blue. At this point, the sea became choppier, with a considerable amount of water splashing onto those of us adventurous enough to be sitting right at the front. Being a 38℃ day, we welcomed the cooling spray and held on to the railing (and our drinks) as we braved the catamaran’s dipping bow.
Before we knew it, the sun had completely set, with the catamaran’s impressive lighting casting a blue glow on the now jet black water. As we watched the sprawling Glenelg shoreline approach, I couldn’t believe we’d been out for one-and-a-half hours already. I could easily have spent two, even three hours sailing up and down the coastline.
Temptation Sailing offers 1.5 hour day or twilight cruises and 3.5 hour dolphin swim cruises. There are various packages which include platters, drinks or afternoon tea, or you can privately hire the boat for up to 50 people. For more information and to buy tickets, head to Temptation Sailing’s website.