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Vessel: Ocean Defender

Type: Rigid Inflatable Boat (“RIB”)

Length: 12 meters

Power: 4 x 300hp 4 stroke Yamaha outboard engines

Top Speed: 43 knots

Facilities: Full size walk in toilet

Seating: Water level, forward facing, covered seating with panoramic views

Capacity: 40 passengers maximum

a man sitting in front of a blue car

Andrew Ellis
Operations Director and Captain

With a life spent on the water, and a thirty year history with whale watching in Hervey Bay, Andrew brings incredible experience to the team. “Nothing is more exciting than to watch the expectations of our guests fulfilled each day on Ocean Defender. The excitement and passion shown by all aboard when they experience humpback whales up close and personal is a very special moment for me each and every day.”

Andrew’s passion for our marine environment is shown by his love of joining school students for discussions on how we can all make a difference, and ensuring harmony with our increasingly pressured natural environments.

Green Living Tip: Rethink the need for single use products, the many alternatives are so very much available and so much better for ourselves and our environment.

a person sitting on a boat

Millie Stell

At a young age, Millie is already a veteran in whale watching eco-tours. With amazing travels afloat around the globe, Millie loves the opportunity to showcase the marine environment wherever possible.

Qualified in both deck and engineering mediums, Millie also gives the ultimate attention to her passengers. “Hervey Bay has beckoned as the ultimate in viewing amazing wildlife in a natural and unique environment, and to share that with others is the best ever!”

Green Living Tip: Experience wildlife as it exists, natural behaviours in a natural environment.

a woman standing in front of a body of water

Sara Perrott

I am a passionate ocean lover with a degree in marine ecology and an honours in marine science. My area of study focused on the majestic manta rays through scientific scuba diving. I am returning for a 3rd whale watching season after spending time working as a skipper and gaining further boating skills to incorporate with my marine degree and scuba diving.”

Green Living Tip: Simplify your life as much as possible, reduce purchases, make your own, buy used, and always aim for reuse.

a man wearing a hat standing in front of a mountain

Darcy Stirling

Growing up in Western Australia, I spent my childhood camping, boating, and exploring the outdoors. This quickly stemmed into a passion for conservation of our natural environments, ultimately leading to my completion of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology and Marine Science at the University of Western Australia. Throughout University I spent my time volunteering in differing research projects focussing on species such as sea turtles, black cockatoos, and whales. I am also a passionate scuba diver, having spent the last year working as a dive master on the Great Barrier Reef. I love sharing my knowledge of animals and conservation with customers and find myself continually inspired to action by the unique wildlife that call Australia home.

Green Living Tip: Live life to the full but leave no footprints.

a person wearing a purple shirt standing in front of a building

Felicity Holder
Office Manager

As an advocate of sustainable tourism, Felicity has used her degree in Business in roles with Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, Mackay Tourism and Flight Centre to prepare for her time with PWFEAA. A Qld government Young Tourism Leader, Felicity loves working with others that hold the same values and passion, “being a voice for those who do not have one”

Managing our diverse and busy office and Ocean Store, Felicity ensures unparalleled customer experience from start to finish, making all parts of your experience with us are “the best ever”

Green Living Tip: Its easy if you think how you can make an impact, reuse as much as possible and think of the adverse impact you will make when everything you use is at some time discarded into the environment.

a person standing next to a body of water

Carla Patulny
Research Assistant

Always passionate about the ocean and its life, Carla has advocated for ocean conservation for many years. Carla started her working career as an Early Childhood Teacher but her passion for the marine world led her to study a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management later in life.

Carla joined Pacific Whale Foundation in 2021 and previously completed an internship at our Hawaii office. She previously worked as a team leader for ELI-Scientific in Nicaragua and completed her B.Sc. Honours project on the social structure of Australian humpback dolphins in the Capricorn-Curtis Coast of Queensland.

Green Living Tip: Many people say “I’m only one small person, I can’t make a difference. But many small people, making small changes, can change the world. Just think of one small thing you can do in your life to reduce your impact. I personally love using bar shampoo and conditioner 🙂

a person wearing a hat

Tine Haslam Nielsen
Research Assistant

The ocean has always been one of my happy places. It has always had a calming effect on me. My passion for the ocean and animals made me persue Master’s by research degree in animal physiology from Aarhus University, Denmark. Previously, I have been fortunate to be working with turtle conservation at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and as a research assistant with dolphin conservation at the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL) at Flinders University. This is my second year as a research assistant with Pacific Whale Foundation, and I love being able to combine my love for the ocean and research and share that passion with our passengers.

Green Living Tip: Try to identify where your lifestyle has the biggest impact(s) on our environment and see how you can change that. Perhaps swap the car ride for a bike ride, reduce single use plastic etc. 

a man wearing sunglasses driving a boat in the water

Dr. Barry McGovern
Research Associate

Growing up on Ireland’s west coast and spending all his spare time on, in, or near the water, it was inevitable that Barry would end up working in the marine field! He joined PWF Australia in 2021, having finished his PhD at the University of Queensland where he studied the social behaviour of bottlenose dolphins. He leads the research team in Hervey Bay using drones to monitor the health of the humpback whale population. Barry has worked with whales and dolphins all over the world covering a range of areas so brings a lot of experience to the team.

Green Living Tip: Don’t waste anything – don’t waste water, don’t waste food, don’t waste electricity and most importantly, don’t waste your vote!