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


Scott Whitcombe was born in Auckland, New Zealand but grew up in Hervey Bay. He’s the Skipper on Ocean Defender, and has been working for seven years on whalewatching vessels all over Australia. Scott holds certificates in tourism and marine studies, as well as his Master 5 and Master Engine Driver 2. Scott loves sharing his knowledge about the region and is looking forward to a great whale season. 

Green Living Tip

Recycle Reuse Reduce!


Sarah Bonneson is from a small town in Southern Maine, Sarah grew up close to the ocean and formed an immense passion for the environment. She has worked for Pacific Whale Foundation since 2016 as a Naturalist, then First Mate and is now focusing on attaining a Captain’s License. Her favorite thing about working for PWF is the platform it provides to educate the public and to empower passengers to be advocates for the ocean and the environment.

 Green Living Tip 

You do not have to be a scientist to make a difference. It can be as simple as eliminating one plastic item off of your shopping list, remembering to bring your reusable bags or forgoing that plastic straw at the bar. You will soon find that these small changes begin to bleed into your everyday choices and now you are creating a ripple effect. Your friends, family, your children see you taking the extra time to be environmentally conscience and it will empower them to do the same. Start today; let your actions speak volumes for the ocean



Lauren Fritz  grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the USA, spending days berry picking, skiing down snowy slopes, and exploring the mountains and coasts. Since graduating from university, she has spent time along various coastlines around the world working in marine conservation and ecotourism. Orcas led her to the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest; dolphins led her to Kaikoura, New Zealand; and humpback whales led her to work with Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui and now at Hervey Bay. “I’m extremely fortunate to call such beautiful places home, and I try not to take it for granted – I spend my time raising awareness about marine conservation and teaching others about the beautiful creatures that call the ocean home.”

 Green Living Tip

Pay attention to the where your food comes from. A lot of folks don’t realize how big of an impact eating habits have on the environment. Head to your local farmer’s market and see what’s in season and meet who’s growing your food! It’s empowering to know it’s been grown humanely and safely. I truly believe taking ownership of our diets, and saying goodbye to industrialized food production, can change our environmental future.


Erin Hord Hailing from Ohio, Erin has been a Naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation since 2017 and is “enjoying every moment of it.” Her favorite experience to date was seeing a whale spyhop right next to the boat and exposing its beautiful eye. “There have been so many breathtaking experiences though, and I am excited to experience another population of humpback whales in Australia.”

Green Living Tip

Use Tupperware in packed lunches instead of individual bags for all of your lunch items. Happy whale season!


Natalie Guier Is from Deary, Idaho, a town so small there are no stoplights Natalie began her career with PWF as a senior sales associate in its Ocean Store, eventually moving up to assistant manager. “One of my favorite things about working for PWF is how much I learn each day from both staff and guests.  I enjoy the ripple effect, as I take what I learn and pass it to my family and friends back in Idaho.”

Green Living Tip

Make small changes to start, and invest in what you will actually use. I have a durable, shark patterned reusable bag that has cut down drastically on my use of paper bags. I love it, therefore I actually use it.