Darryl Henderson has one of the best jobs in the Bundaberg Region — skipper of the Reef Empress for Lady Musgrave Experience.
The Reef Empress is a 35-metre luxury high-speed catamaran, surveyed for 220 people over three levels.
She has a service speed of 25 knots and a top speed of 32 knots.
The main deck seats up to 172 passengers in air-conditioned comfort with flat screen TVs, a coffee machine, cold water station and a bar/kiosk for any merchandise and ice cream.
Darryl is a former professional fishermen who now takes visitors across to Lady Musgrave Island from Bundaberg Port Marina on day trips three times a week.
His office is the high-tech bridge of the big cat and his view looks out over the Pacific Ocean.
Darryl said the owners have refurbished the vessel since it joined their fleet in December last year.
He said passengers can expect to see whales at this time of year in addition to the sights of Lady Musgrave Island.
“After Christmas and into the New Year, then you start getting all the hatchlings,” he said.
“There's definitely more whales out there. They seem to be a little bit later this year but they're in big numbers now.”
Passengers aboard the Reef Empress come from across the world including China, Japan, the United States and Europe.
“We are probably the furthest eco-tour group that runs out on the entire Great Barrier Reef (52 nautical miles) because a lot of the reef further up is closer to land,” he said.
That makes it a full-day experience from 7am to 5pm.
Asked to describe the best part of his job, Darryl replies: “The whole thing!”
“It's a fantastic job and every day is different.”
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