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**Searles Sea Tours**
Searles Holiday Village in Hunstanton, Norfolk not only provide a holiday village but a service called Sea Tours. There is 5 tours made by them along the coastline of Hunstanton and out to sea on one of their 3 vessels.
~The Fleet~ Searles owns 3 vessels, two amphibious ones and an ex-diving boat moored near the beach at Sunny Hunny.
THE WASH MONSTER (Wiley the Wash Monster) This is the main vessel used in the tours. It has 2 300bhp engines making it capable of 13mph on sand and 8knots at sea. It can carry 60 people in one go and has some rather attractive paintwork, i.e. a huge shark face on the front with blood dripping out of its mouth. The type of vessel is a L.A.R.C- XV and was the first ever commercially used L.A.R.C. It cost $1.000.000 to build.
THE D.U.K.W (Dervina the Duck) The D.U.K.W is not used that much at Sea Tours anymore but it is occasionally used and normally on display. It was used in WWII and had influence on the success of D-DAY. (Not this exact one, the D.U.K.W in general!) The D.U.K.W only runs Tours 2 and 4.
THE M.F.V SEALION CATAMARAN (Salty the Sealion)
The Sealion is Sea Tours only Vessel that is not amphibious. It's also fully MSA Approved and capable of carrying 60 people. To get to it you will need to board the Wash Monster, which transfers passengers to the boat before setting off on the tour. The Sealion was originally used as a diving and fishing boat but sold to Searles.
TOUR 1. This is the main tour. It lasts approximately 2 hours and covers a total distance of 14 miles. It starts off on the Wash Monster ferrying 60 people out to the Sealion, which will complete the journey. I've not actually done this trip so I don't have much to say about it unfortunately! The main point of this trip is that it takes you out to 'Seal Island', which is located off the coast of Lincolnshire. There are around 3000 common seals in the Wash so you will 100% see some seals. The best time to take this trip is late summer so, if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some seal pups being born. The cost of this trip is £6.00 for a child and around £11-12 for an adult. The trip only goes once a day though and can be cancelled if the sea is too rough.
TOUR 2. This tour is 30 minutes long and is a sightseeing trip along the coast of Hunstanton with many facts about the seaside resort being mentioned along the way. You will be taken along the shore and down to the cliffs and up to the lighthouse. Some of the things mentioned include why the cliffs are multicoloured, where the old smugglers cove was and the secret of the green rocks underneath the cliffs. The trip will be done on the Wash Monster but also the D.U.K.W occasionally. It will cost a child £3.50 and an adult £7.00. This tour goes about 6 times a day.
TOUR 3. Tour 3 is pretty much the same as number 2 except the vessel goes on the beach to the wreck of the Sheraton near the cliffs. Also viewing the lighthouse and cliffs. It lasts for 30mins and is usually on the D.U.K.W but also done by the Wash Monster. This tour only operates about once a day. It will cost £3.50 and £7.00, which is the usual fee for cliff viewing tours.
TOUR 4. This tour is kind of a back-up tour and only operates when the sea is too rough to do any other tours. It's basically a chance to get a panoramic view of Hunstanton by simply going straight out about a mile then coming back in again. The sea is normally very rough on this tour and can make you quite nauseous. It lasts approximately 20 minutes, will cost the normal price for a tour and is done by the Wash Monster.
TOUR 5. Again this tour is rarely done, the tide has to be at a certain point as well. What happens is, you will board the Wash Monster and it will take you out about a mile to a large sandbank in the sea. The vessel will park up and the ramp where you get on will be fully folded down and you can get off the boat and walk around the sand bank. There is no set time for this as it purely depends on the tides. The cost is again £3.50 and £7.
The full timetable of the Sea Tours is available at http://www.seatours.co.uk/pages/info.html Each tour boards 30 minutes prior to its departure time.
~A Bit Of Company Background~ Searles were established in 1929 when they first opened the Sea Tours using their original vessels which are long gone. Since then they have opened their own Holiday Village (which is massive!) and operate the Hunstanton Road Train.
~How To Find The Kiosk~ The kiosk where you can purchase a ticket and board the tour is located on Hunstanton promenade near the funfair, its quite hard to miss really, it's a little yellow box and one of the vessels will be there boarding. A range of souvenirs are also available from the kiosk such as cuddly seal toys and keyrings with the Wash Monster on.
~Recommended Then?~ Yes they are 100% recommended. So if you are ever in or around Hunstanton, they are defiantly worth the look, you can't get the experiences they give much cheaper than that! They provide excellent family trips and the little kids that are normally on the trips always seem to be enjoying it and are even given the opportunity to sit on the very front on the ramp if they are lucky!