‘Kaiala’ (which means welcome to the Gold Coast in the local aboriginal language), is an 18m Whale Watcher, custom designed for Anthony and Keith Ahdern of “Whales in Paradise.” This design is based on one of the previously proven hulls “Seacat 18” and adapted to suit the client’s special operational requirements such as low air-draft of 4.3Metre (max) for passing under low bridges in “Surfers Paradise” and low draft of 1.4Metres with mini-keels for the shallow water operations of the Gold Coast broad-water. She is also able to ply in coastal operations with up to 130 passengers, viewing whales off the Gold Coast of Australia, where she will do three hour trips per day during the whale watch season (which is around 5 months of the year). During the rest of the year she will do day trips to Morton and Stradbroke Island and special charter functions during the evenings.
The versatile nature of the operations called for a custom layout and special features:
- Underwater viewing windows. Below deck in the forward voids are four under water viewing windows with watertight deadlights allowing for special viewing of the whales under the water.
- Davit’s for tender. Custom designed twin 250 Kg SWL davit arrangement for use with the 10man tender during the day trip function.
- Dive Platforms. Twin fold down dive platforms for the ease of water entry and getting on board for swimming and snorkeling.
- Functional lay-out. Passenger seating for 145 persons in four separate areas. Main Deck, Upper deck, Foredeck and Forward cabin.
- Island Servery/Bar. Fabricated aluminium server/bar fitted with one of three doors, three x stainless steel below bench fridge and one of two doors, steel below bench fridge. Hot and cold water insinkerator and sink arrangement, two large ice buckets built into the benches and plenty of storage built in.
Powered by twin 510 H.p. Cat C9 engines, the top steed at sea trials was 24-25 knots burning a total of 196Ltres per hour, with a comfortable cruise speed of 20 knots burning around 130Ltrs per hour @ 70% load. The first design was built by an Australian Thai Team to Australian NSCV code. The design was approved in Australia and a surveyor inspected the vessel four times during the build, with a seperate electrical surveyor signing off on the electrical installation and suppling components.