With the average Aussie holding down a job for just 3 years,
the thought of loving a career so much to stick with it for more than quarter
of a century is pretty much a pipedream.
For Ted Woolley and Vance Fahey it’s a blissful reality.
This month, both Ted and Vance are celebrating 27 years of
continuous employment with Sunlover Reef Cruises, an Australian owned,
award-winning reef experience that introduces guests to the incredible Outer
Great Barrier Reef.
Ted and Vance spend their days at one of the most beautiful
‘offices’ in the world, with Ted working as a marine biologist and Vance as a
senior dive instructor. The duo have spent the last 27 years introducing guests
from all over the world to the world’s largest living organism and it seems
that neither Ted nor Vance are willing to give up their sea legs any time soon.
“As long as I’m fit and able, I will be out there at sea. I
started diving when I was six years old”, reminisces Vance.
Having seen the Great Barrier Reef on a daily basis for the
last 27 years, both Ted and Vance are quick to blast down worldwide propaganda
that ‘the Great Barrier Reef is dying’.
Vance informs us that the Reef has ‘four distinct seasons
like the land’ and Ted is happy to note that the Great Barrier Reef is just as
beautiful and healthy as it was in the early 1990s.
He states: “Overall I haven’t seen too many changes on the
Reef. Some years we get damage from cyclones, I’ve seen bleaching twice and
once crown of thorns starfish outbreak. However, within a couple of years or so
the Reef seems to regrow to its best”.
Although the Federal Government has recently invested $500m
to preserve the reef, Ted believes that we all play a part in protecting this
natural wonder. “ We can all help not
littering, recycling correctly, not pouring detrimental chemicals down drains,
reporting any pollution to authorities, helping in beach and sea clean ups and
joining various conservation groups”, he states.
Moore Reef, which lies 47KM off Cairns on the Outer Great
Barrier Reef, is known for its abundance of colourful coral and is home to
Sunlover’s double-story activity Marine Base.
The Marine Base, which is like a second home to both Ted and
Vance, is home to hundreds of species of marine life, including green sea
turtles, clown fish and Maori wrasse. For Vance, it’s the sightings of rarer
marine species that really excite him. “My marine highlights are a 2.4m giant
Queensland groper that turns up for a couple of days each year and humpback
whales off the Sunlover Marine Base”.
Ted, on the other hand, has had a bizarre underwater
encounter that is reminiscent of a science fiction movie:
“The strangest thing I’ve seen was an animal drifting in the
water that looked like a white sock or sleeve several metres long, hollow in
the middle and open at both ends. It was a pyrosome which is like a long colony
of tiny sea squirts all joined together”.
With 27 years of working on an Australian icon under their
belts, what lies in the future for this inspiring duo?
When asked what he wants to do after his reef career with
Sunlover, ted admitted ‘actually I‘ve never really thought much about what I
would do after my reef career”.
Watch this space: there may be a 40 year Sunlover work
anniversary coming soon!