The first Seastar, a timber vessel commenced operations in 1956, based in Cairns she worked for a few years mainly taking passengers on fishing expeditions. But also visiting islands and to a lesser extent the reef. Snorkelling and diving was not so popular back then and snorkel equipment almost non-existent.
She was replaced with a steel vessel in the 1960’s, more modern and reliable this vessel was able to range further but essentially continued the same service as before. In the mid 1970’s this vessel was upgraded to a considerably larger vessel, the renowned Seastar II.
Able to stay at sea for weeks without the need to return to land she became the vessel of choice for fishing, island visits and now with the advent of superior snorkel equipment, reef exploration. Eventually in the late eighties she ceased the overnight trips, in favour of the now more popular day trips and began the now famous Michaelmas Cay and Hastings reef combination, destinations she had visited many times previous.
She continued this run for nearly 30 years when in 2003 Cairns locals Peter and Bernadette Edwards bought her from the original family and commenced making improvements. One of the most obvious problems identified was that she was an old design, slow compared to more recent vessels and dated in appearance.
So, in 2007 they replaced her with the fast, modern Seastar 1. This made the Michaelmas Cay and Hastings reef tour much more enjoyable. Most of the tour, over 50%, spent snorkelling or diving at the island or reef.
Seastar II left Australia and travelled to Indonesia where she was converted back into an overnight vessel to take travellers on special surfing tours of the islands.
Peter and Bernadette are locals having 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 nearly exclusively the local tourism industry.
Bernadette began her apprenticeship at a local restaurant and after qualifying as a Chef, worked at several local restaurants catering to local tourists. After which she moved into management and eventually into tour sales. Peter began his marine career as a boy on his father’s fishing boat. On moving to Cairns, after a brief period in the hotel and restaurant industry, then running his own hire car business, he moved back into the marine industry. At a young age he obtained his Masters certificate and commenced taking passengers to the reef.