The first Seastar, a timber vessel, commenced operations in 1956. She was based in Cairns. She worked for a few years mainly taking passengers on fishing expeditions.
In addition to this, she also visited islands and, to a lesser extent, the reef. Snorkelling and diving were not popular back then. Snorkel equipment was almost non-existent.
She was replaced with a steel vessel in the 1960’s. This was a more modern and reliable vessel. The new boat was able to range further but continued the same services as before. In the mid 1970’s, this vessel was upgraded to a larger vessel, the renowned Seastar II.
Able to stay at sea for weeks without the need to return to land. This vessel became the vessel of choice for fishing, island visits, and now, reef exploration. Eventually, in the late eighties, she ceased the overnight trips. This was in favour of the now more popular day trips.
This began the now famous Michaelmas Cay and Hastings reef combination, destinations she had visited many times previously.
She continued this run for nearly 30 years. Then in 2003, Cairns locals, Peter and Bernadette Edwards, bought her from the original family. They then commenced making improvements. One problem identified was the old design. It was slow compared to more recent vessels and dated in appearance.
In 2007 they replaced her with the fast and modern Seastar 1. This made the Michaelmas Cay and Hastings reef tour more enjoyable. Over 50% of the tour day spent their time snorkelling or diving at the island or reef.
Seastar II left Australia and travelled to Indonesia. She was then converted back into an overnight vessel. Its conversion took travellers on special surfing tours of the islands.
Peter and Bernadette are locals. They have lived and worked in Cairns a combined 101 years. They have extensive experience within the tourism industry and a unique perspective on the history of Cairns. Both have worked almost exclusively the local tourism industry.
Bernadette began her apprenticeship at a local restaurant. After qualifying as a Chef, she worked at several local restaurants. She then moved into management and eventually tour sales. Peter began his marine career as a boy on his father’s fishing boat.
Upon moving to Cairns, there was a brief period spent in the hotel and restaurant industry. Then, Peter ran his own car hire business. After this small hospitality adventure, he then moved back into the marine industry. At a young age, he obtained his Masters certificate and commenced taking passengers to the reef.