Here at Passions of Paradise we pride ourselves on having the friendliest crew on the Great Barrier Reef. We have the highest crew retention rate on the reef! Our team are hand selected by the managing director and CEO and they are trained by our senior staff members who have been working with us for at least 6 years; a rarity in this industry! Our staff are lifeblood and backbone of the company and they love being a part of your Great Barrier reef holiday!
The man behind the Passion Alan Wallish has been the Managing Director since the commencement of the company in 1987. Originally from Melbourne, and having had most of his schooling and 3rd level education in Canada, Alan settled in Cairns 30 years ago. He had a dream to take tourists out to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. This dream started with his very first old steel catamaran and has continued until this day with our current vessel. Alan is still very much involved with the day to day running of the company; 30 years on and no less passionate.
Originally from Victoria, Scotty spent his later teenage years growing up in Cairns. His career initially started as a joiner/carpenter before hanging up the tools to join Passions in 2003. Commencing Passions as a sales rep Scotty’s skills and passion for the company saw him progress from sales and marketing to operations manager, general manager and finally to CEO/Partner prior to the commencement of his MBA. Scotty oversees the daily running of the business and works closely with Alan to ensure the long term sustainability of the business and our back yard.
Originally from a small town in Central Queensland called Moura. Jeff moved to Cairns 10 years ago after a stint on Lady Elliott Island. Here Jeff learned to drive his first boat – a bright yellow glass bottom boat offering tours around the Island. Jeff then moved to Cairns where he completed his Master 4 skipper’s ticket driving various other dive boats in Cairns before joining Passions 2 years ago. Jeff is a keen karate student in his free time and is working his way towards his black belt.
Locally born and raised Kieran has been working with Passions for the last two years. Kieran originally did his dive master traineeship with us before taking a 5 month break to explore the cray fishing industry. As soon as he came back to shore he keen was keen to get back on board Passions and complete his Dive Instructor certification. Coming from a tourism and fishing family Kieran has always had a keen interest in meeting international travellers. Kieran’s ambition is to eventually leave Cairns for a break to travel the world.
Born in Cairns but having grown up in Brisbane our chef Rueben returned to the sunny tropics 15 years ago. Rueben fell in love with scuba diving after his very first intro dive on the Great Barrier Reef when he was 21. He has since then completed his advanced diving course and is a keen underwater photographer in his spare time. Rueben is a passionate chef and loves having the opportunity to mix work with pleasure cooking on the Great Barrier Reef every day. Rueben’s long term goal is to run his own business in the Cairns region.
Russell is our Environmental Sustainability Manager and an Open Water Scuba Instructor, and has been with us since 2009. He is originally from Denver, Colorado and immigrated to Australia in 2006. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Relations and Sustainable Tourism from Murdoch University in Perth, and is responsible for all of our environmental management, educational materials on-board, and also oversees our eco-groups. He is an avid traveller, and has visited 23 countries in the last 10 years. His top bucket-list item is to dive with great white sharks in South Australia.
Simon has been with Passions since 2005. Most famous for his magician skills on board, Simon is one of our senior PADI instructors. He is originally from Opotiki in New Zealand. He spent 5 years in the New Zealand military before immigrating to Australia in 2004. In addition to dreaming of swimming with whale sharks, Simon’s biggest dream is to circumnavigate Australia on his Harley Davidson.
Nick joined Passions in 2015 after completing his PADI diver instructors course here locally in Cairns. Originally born in Birmingham in the UK, Nick spent most of his younger years in Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean before studying for a bachelor’s degree in Business and Entrepreneurship in Scotland. Nick arrived in Cairns two years ago where he discovered his passion for scuba diving, and frequently conducts our marine life presentation on the vessel.
Alex has been with Passions since 2010 and began by scrubbing dishes in the galley. Originally from Canada, Alex came to Australia on a backpacking adventure and decided to stay when she met her now husband 6 years ago. Since joining the team Alex has moved from washing dishes, to stand-in chef, dive instructor and now she has completed her Marine Engineer Driver Ticket and is now a first mate. Alex is working towards completing her Master 5 Captains ticket later this year!
Craig is our first mate and instructor and has been with us since 2008. Originally from Redcliffe in Brisbane, Craig began his employment at Passions as a chef and over the years has completed his PADI dive instructor’s course, his coxswain certificate, a Master 5 and most recently his MED 2. A keen indoor footy player and supporter, Craig also spends his weekends teaching his infant daughter to kick a ball around the park! He is most looking forward to teaching his daughter to swim so she’s ready to snorkel when she she’s big enough.
Originally from the UK, Joe has been with Passions since 2014. His diving career started in Kenya, where he completed his open water course before advancing his PADI skills in Greece where he completed his Dive Instructor certification. After spending time in the United Arab Emirates and teaching diving across UK universities, Joe embarked on a backpacking trip to Australia where he quickly found a second home in tropical Cairns. Joe’s next holiday home to the UK will be when he attempts his dream of swimming across the English Channel.
Originally from Dublin Ireland Laura is our Sales and Marketing manager. After university Laura began her career in event management in Dublin before a backpacking trip brought her to her new home away from home here in Cairns. After 6 years of working in the Tourism industry in Cairns, Laura joined Passions of Paradise initially as our reservations manager before being promoted to sales and marketing in July 2015.