Master Reef Guide Abby Seymour has worked for Reef Teach for over six years and at no time has her passion waived. She has this incredible desire to share accurate information about the Great Barrier Reef and realises the importance of doing so. Abby hosts presentations daily with visitors and children to share her knowledge in an accurate and informative way through stories and interpretation.
Abby’s favourite thing about the Great Barrier Reef is understanding behavioural adaptations of marine animals and corals. She believes behaviours are overlooked and once you understand why, or how an animal or coral acts a certain way you can relate to them, and that helps bring that connection between people and the Great Barrier Reef.
‘I’m honoured to be a Master Reef Guide as it means being part of a great network of people who are all so driven and passionate about providing the best information possible’
Master Reef Guide Justin Bovery Spencer is a Senior Marine Biologist with Experience Co. Throughout their fleet of vessels Justin provides interpretation on the Great Barrier Reef to guests visiting various islands and outer reef sites in the Cairns region.
From his very first introductory dive Justin has been fascinated by coral reefs. After completing a Bachelor and then Honours in Marine Biology at Deakin University he was drawn to the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of the Great Barrier Reef Biology team in Experience Co Justin prides himself on the high-quality interpretation provided to visitors. To support this Justin is also involved with many of the research and management projects including Crown of Thorns Starfish control and research, as well as reef restoration. He is also heavily involved with monitoring including the Eye on the Reef program with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
He is strongly involved in the reef education program, working extensively with local schools and visiting education groups to discover and foster an appreciation for the Great Barrier Reef.
Master Reef Guide Michelle Jansen is a Marine Biologist at Experience Co, working on a variety of boats taking day trips from Cairns to the outer Great Barrier Reef, Fitzroy Island, and Green Island. She has been with the company for over two years and in addition to daily guided snorkel tours and marine biology presentations, Michelle is also involved in the Crown-of-thorns Starfish Research and Control Program at Moore Reef.
“As a Master Reef Guide I am now a role model and ambassador for the industry and the Marine Park Authority. I have access to high-level training and a network of like-minded individuals and can share knowledge with guests as well as co-workers to improve the overall standard of interpretation on the Great Barrier Reef.”
Master Reef Guide Kristy O’Neill has been a Dive Instructor working on the Great Barrier Reef for years. She has taken all her years of knowledge, humour, positive and pleasant vibes with her to the team on luxury dive liveaboard vessel, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. As Trip Director, her smile and captive briefings will give you an experience of a lifetime. Prepare to be informed and amazed with all you need to know about the best and safest way to visit the northern reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and out in the Coral Sea.
“Being a Master Reef Guide is being a part of a whole other family (and not your average family). This family has been built from a huge amount of enthusiasm, love and expertise for very special common interests; the World Heritage sites of The Great Barrier Reef. The beauty and wonders shared between these symbiotic heritage areas are simply mind blowing. I love sharing these “wow” moments I’ve felt, learning each bit of new information within our family and passing it on to our excited guests. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is opening people’s minds and hearts to preserve the future of these sites and I feel very privileged to be recognised as a Master Reef Guide!”
Master Reef Guide Lourace Trebble, otherwise known as ‘Lou’ works at Ocean Freedom which is based out of Cairns. With a bubbly and vibrant personality, you won’t miss her onboard! Lou brings to each guest her extensive knowledge of the marine life, and her ability to make first time visitors to the Great Barrier Reef at home in the ocean. She shares her knowledge freely and is always seeking the opportunity to share a story.
Lou feels deeply fortunate for the opportunity to spend time in the water while inspiring others to respect, protect and appreciate our marine environment. Lou looks forward to passing that preservation on to you, your family, and for generations to come.
“I feel like I am part of an elite team well equipped with all of the latest information and it is my duty to share it! I feel incredibly honoured to be a Master Reef Guide”
Master Reef Guide Nick Leigh was taught to swim at an early age by his mother. From those early days through to school and University he always loved being in, near or on water. It was no surprise that when he discovered the ability to see, breathe and swim underwater through the use of SCUBA that Nick’s life would soon change. He found a love and passion for the ocean and working in and around the ocean he found a path that allowed him to push his boundaries and continually practice, perfect and develop new skills.
This led Nick to want to share his experience and skills with others and becoming a Dive Instructor nurtured the teacher in Nick and allowed him to guide others through the simple processes required to experience something truly incredible; the underwater world.
Moving to Australia and experiencing one of nature's wonders, the Great Barrier Reef, sparked something inside him and drove him to become the Trip Director of one of Australia’s premier liveaboard dive vessels TUSA-Spirit of Freedom visiting the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea reef systems.
Nick specialises in exploration of the remote Far North regions of the Great Barrier Reef having spent eight years exploring and discovering new dive sites. He has now visited places with his guests that no one else has ever visited, delivering unique experiences and sharing his passion of exploring the incredible ecosystem that is the Great Barrier Reef. Being privileged to experience so much of this World Heritage Area has reinforced for the Nick the role and responsibility that those that live, breathe and understand the environment have to do everything in their power to educate and protect such a valuable resource. This is amplified since becoming a Master Reef Guide.
“I am honoured and privileged to call myself a Master Reef Guide, being part of an inspiring and empowering collection of unique individuals that combine their extensive skills, knowledge and experiences to create the world’s leading Reef experiences. The goal of the Master Reef Guides is to enhance visitors understanding and experiences of the Great Barrier Reef. Being part of this small group has the potential to make a big difference in protecting the World Heritage Area that is of huge significance to humanity as a whole and has been the centre of my life for the last ten years. It is incredible to be working together with like-minded people from industry and being involved with passionate people in the government that are dedicated to protecting the place that we all call home”.
Master Reef Guide Marysia Pawlikowska decided to pursue her love for the ocean by studying Marine Biology at James Cook University in Townsville. She was involved in various research projects with CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science designed to understand how climate change will affect corals.
Marysia now works as Trip Director onboard Coral Expeditions, where she is responsible for guest education and safety. Marysia loves to share her knowledge with guests. Marysia uses her time onboard the vessel to ensure the knowledge transferred both to guests and crew is everlasting. She believes everyone who works in the tourism industry should have the same high expectation of the product and services they deliver.
“Master Reef Guides are connecting people back to Mother Earth and showing them why it is worth protecting. Not only do we want to take people out to the Great Barrier Reef and give them the best experience, we want to create a feeling that lasts a lifetime”.
Master Reef Guide Peta Campbell started working on the Great Barrier Reef in 2012 after completing her degree. She was drawn to Wavelength Reef Cruises in Port Douglas and was very keen on environmental communication.
When Peta isn’t working at Wavelength you will find her spending her time volunteering, past work has included the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Fitzroy Island, Tangaroa Blue where she coordinates clean-ups, collects data and gives presentations, Manta Trust in the Maldives and at the Centre for Whale Research in Hawaii. Peta believes her job is to make people fall in love with the Great Barrier Reef and want to protect it.
“It is no secret that the Great Barrier Reef, and a great many other ecosystems on Earth, are facing unprecedented challenges. The choices we make as a species in the coming years will undoubtedly determine the future of these magnificent and irreplaceable places”.
“The Master Reef Guide program has given myself and other selected guides on the Great Barrier Reef the knowledge and tools to be the most effective story-tellers we can be. It is my hope that through our stories we will be able to inspire the action that is needed to ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to endure for generations to come.”
Master Reef Guide Sam Herridge has a love for the water that goes back to his childhood days, and was supercharged when he first visited the Great Barrier Reef for the first time in 2015.
Since then he has developed as a dive professional, travelling around the Indo- Pacific region in Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand before returning to his roots on the Great Barrier Reef to stay!
Sam is now working in Port Douglas as a Snorkel guide and Dive Instructor for a High Standard Operator - ABC Dive and Snorkel.
“This is the first time in a long time that I have finally felt as though I have met people who really care about the same things as I do and that I am no longer alone in trying to put forward my beliefs about the world and particularly the ocean. I am proud to represent something that I believe in so strongly and am more motivated to do so.”
Master Reef Guide Maddison Jones (Maddi) grew up in Taree, NSW. Her mother knew before she did that Maddi would grow up to love the sea. Whenever she was upset as a baby her mother would put her in front of the fish tank, which would calm her down and make her smile.
Growing up Maddi then went on to study and holds a double bachelor’s in Marine Science and Management, and Environmental Science.
Nowadays you will find Master Reef Guide Maddi at Sailaway in Port Douglas where she has worked for several years. With a positive attitude and cheerful smile she loves every single day she gets to show visitors her special backyard, the Great Barrier Reef.
“As a Master Reef Guide I have a group of amazing people supporting me and helping me achieve our shared goal. With constant training and shared knowledge I can continue to improve my skills as a guide. I will continue to educate and inspire everyone about the importance of our reef”
Master Reef Guide Azri Saparwan started his career in the biomedical science field, he wanted to help the sick and injured. For over 2 years he was a combat medic for the Singapore Armed Forces. He went through various rescue and first aid missions around the world. Azri suffered with PTSD until a diving experience changed his life. “We came across a sea turtle who was entangled in a net who I was able to free, it felt good and I realised I still wanted to save lives but in the natural world; the marine world”
At 24 Azri went to Adelaide to study Marine Biology and this is where his journey began. During his studies Azri started a volunteer program to assist a sea turtle rookery in Indonesia. After growing up in Indonesia, he witnessed that Indonesia still has a high poaching rate of sea turtles and the rangers are overworked and underpaid. So using his reach, he created a volunteer program to get volunteers to assist in the centre. Azri has volunteered in Ngarloo, Malaysia and several other sea turtle nesting sites, sharing his knowledge and passion for sea turtles.
Today, Azri is the Conservation Officer at Fitzroy Island Resort. His role involves reef management of the island and giving educational tours to guests. He also maintains the wellbeing of sea turtles seeking treatment in the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and giving educational tours to raise awareness on the threats to sea turtles. Azri remains dedicated to conservation and citizen science, including as the Volunteer Coordinator for Reef Restoration Foundation, who nurture and grow coral fragments on a nursery and transplant back onto the reef at Fitzroy Island.
“I am honoured to be a Master Reef Guide because it gives me greater power to achieve my objectives. I have the power of knowledge to raise awareness to conserve these iconic wonders. The sea turtle completely changed my life and I am doing my best to save theirs.”
Master Reef Guide Stephanie Hinks grew up on Magnetic Island, Steph has been influenced by the beauty and magic of the Great Barrier Reef from a young age.
Steph has a background in the Great Barrier Reef Tourism Industry in the Whitsunday region for over 35 years and together with her husband, owns and operates their successful tour business on Magnetic Island, Aquascene Charters, for the past 15 years.
Steph also has a passion for creativity and education, it has always been important to her on many levels and is at the heart of everything she does. One of her artistic passions is to paint with wax. “I love being creative and to be able to create beautiful pieces of artwork that tell a story. I have always found the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef a true inspiration for my art and find great happiness in being able to express through art, it is the greatest feeling to share that. I wake up each day to the absolute privilege of living on a beautiful Island I call my home, “Magnetic Island, part of the Great Barrier Reef. It is here that I am also mum to our four amazing children who teach me the important message of “being present in every moment”. They are everyday reminders of why it is so important to tell the stories”
“As a Master Reef Guide, I wish to weave a tapestry of amazing experiences and stories together so that others will feel a sense of connection to the incredibly diverse beauty of the Great Barrier Reef”. “I absolutely love where I live, and hope through my stories about my love for the Great Barrier Reef and all the living creatures that call it home, that I can help create a beautiful wave of change and inspire others to continue to tell the stories. We can all tell a story, but a story told from the heart is one that will connect with the soul and create change.”
Addicted to scuba diving and the underwater world is the best way to describe Brent. He was so keen to learn diving at the age of 15 that he searched Brisbane for an instructor. Fast forward 31 years and 7500 dives later Brent has not lost his love for being underwater and on the water. Brent is now the Ships Captain on Kiana Sail & Dive. Coming up to 25 years here you still won’t find Brent without a smile on his face! His passion and love for the Great Barrier Reef is infectious. Renowned for his patience, friendliness and good sense of humour you’ll want to visit the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef with this Master Reef Guide! He also tells a great story, as his nickname suggests ‘Chatts'
"By becoming a Master Reef Guide, I have acquired the ability through training and recognition to share my enthusiasm, stories and knowledge to all the reef visitors I meet. I feel privileged and humbled to be selected as a Master Reef Guide and will put 200% in to help make the difference!"
Master Reef Guide Cameron Butler is known throughout the industry for his energetic and passionate personality you’ll find Cameron delivering memorable experiences at Red Cat Adventures in the Whitsundays.
Cameron believes the best part of his job is sharing his knowledge of coral reefs and local marine life with his passengers, every single day. He is excited by providing people with context and knowledge on how everything works, connects and lives under the water.
He prides himself on delivering the ultimate guest experience and ensures every single guest onboard walks away with memories that will last a lifetime. Cameron’s zest for life and the Great Barrier Reef is contagious.
Master Reef Guide Georgia Dayman will connect you to the Reef in a unique way, she will make you laugh, cry and be captivated all at once. As a natural storyteller, Georgia loves opening people’s eyes, connecting with people and sharing her enthusiasm, especially for the most inconspicuous reef critters!
As a Master Reef Guide she is on a platform from which she can give guests a life changing experience in a way that encourages guests to care and hopefully change their way of thinking and actions towards impact on the environment.
“I have undertaken a life changing experience by becoming a Master Reef Guide. A priceless fire that’s burning inside me, that I couldn’t get anywhere else but from this.”
Master Reef Guide James Unsworth grew up in a coastal town in the UK and has always had a passion for the ocean. In 2016, he graduated Plymouth University with a Geography and Ocean Science degree and was fortunate enough to be able to travel through South America, Asia and eventually Australia.
He arrived in the Whitsunday Region and very quickly realised he didn’t want to be anywhere else. The Whitsundays has a combination of everything that makes the Marine Park globally significant. From Whitehaven beach, 74 spectacular islands and beautiful fringing reef.
James works as a Skipper and Guide on Ocean Rafting. He gets to appreciate amazing ecosystems daily. It is his belief that education is at the heart of managing the stresses seen on the Great Barrier Reef. With access to over 200 tourists a day Ocean Rafting is the perfect platform to educate people from all over the globe on the fringing reefs throughout the Whitsundays.
“The Master Reef Guide network amplifies that notion to ensure that guests across the whole of the Great Barrier Reef leave having had an incredible experience, but also sharing the same vision that the Great Barrier Reef is worth protecting. That we all have the potential to have a positive influence on not just here but all the beautiful natural environments the world has to offer”
Master Reef Guide Jemma Simpson has worked at Cruise Whitsundays for over five years. She regularly trains the crew to help ensure the message we send about the Great Barrier Reef is factual, educational and engaging.
“It is an honour to be part of a group that values the importance of the World Heritage Areas that we visit, and the wildlife that inhabits it. Being a Master Reef Guide will help me to deliver my messages more effectively and hopefully drive positive change and inspire my visitors to become reef ambassadors’ themselves”.
Master Reef Guide Josh Linton sails the Ngaro waters of the Whitsundays aboard the Portland Roads fleet. Immersing guests in the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef through guided snorkelling, reef interpretation, and bush walks, often to ancient and historical Ngaro meeting grounds.
Portland Roads, through Josh was one of the first charter businesses to drop plastic water bottles (2015), disallow plastic bags (2016), move to non-toxic cleaning products, allow the guests the option to recycle, reuse left over produce, installed 'sea clean up tubs' to each boat encouraging guests to bring back more than what they take ashore.
Josh's entire world focuses on the ocean. Exploring the Whitsundays since he was a child, he is able to share a lifetime of stories and knowledge with his guests, who he spends six days with at a time. You will leave feeling a deep connection to the interconnected life of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday islands and our traditional First Nations People.
Master Reef Guide Kellie Leonard’s love of the water and the environment started at a young age. Kellie has been diving for over 20 years and working as a Dive Instructor in the Whitsunday Islands since 2008, her passion for the Great Barrier Reef is contagious.
Today she permanently lives on Hamilton Island and works with Explore Group who visit Bait Reef daily, where she knows every inch of her Reef backyard and where the small as well as the big critters hang out. She can introduce you to the local fish and tell you their background stories, as well as lots of fun and educational facts about anything you would like to know about the Reef habitat and its occupants.
Kellie’s aim is to have guests leave after a trip, feeling like they to have a special connection with the Reef, which will hopefully encourage them to want to protect the reef habitat. If Kellie’s not diving or snorkelling, she’s likely to be rehabilitating sick or injured wildlife.
“I want visitors to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef to not only see its beauty but to leave having a better understanding of the animals and plants that live in it and the important role they play in the ecosystem, by giving information in a fun way. By creating a beautiful connection with the Reef, then they are more likely to make small changes in their everyday lives, which will help protect this part of the world for future generations.”
Master Reef Guide Lynne Boyce, together with her husband John, designed and coordinated the construction of their luxury 60ft charter yacht Sydney Sundancer, which is now one of Australia’s most awarded charter vessels.
Since 1986 from June to October each year, they have welcomed explorers for live aboard “expedition voyages” departing from Hamilton Island showcasing the very best secrets the Whitsunday Islands and the outer Great Barrier Reef have to offer.
Lynne takes pleasure in imparting her knowledge and experience of the marine world. She has been exploring the Reefs of the world since 1973. Lynne & John offer a variety of cruise options where their goal has always been to give their guests the best possible Total Reef Experience through personal knowledgeable guiding, very small numbers, warm welcoming hospitality and mouth-watering meals accompanied by fine wines. In her cookbook entitled “Gourmet Sailing… delicious dining on the Great Barrier Reef & other delights” Lynne has recorded the meals and experiences guests enjoy under her stewardship.
“Such a great privilege to have been chosen to join an elite group of ambassadors for this World Heritage spectacular creation! What a difference we can all make together with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure the Great Barrier Reef, has the very best guides and to announce to the entire world what a miracle is the Great Barrier Reef. We must tell the world our stories”