Without question, the single-most important key to Passions of Paradise’s success is our staff. We pride ourselves on having some of the most dedicated, outgoing, knowledgeable, passionate people in the marine tourism industry. Recently, five of our staff members underwent the process to become Eco-Guides, certified through EcoTourism Australia, in an effort to further provide our passengers with the greatest level of interactive and eco-friendly customer service found on any reef trip. Our new guides Craig, Alex, Joe, Mossy, and Jas were all assessed after an extensive application process, and can now interact with our guests as qualified experts on the reef.
So what exactly is an Eco-Guide? The EcoGuide program provides individuals with a credential, endorsing the recipient as a guide who will deliver an authentic, environmentally responsible and professional experience. Guides are awarded this recognition based on their ability to display Generic Guiding skills, including knowledge of the tourism industry, knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of a guide and in particular an EcoGuide, communication skills, safety, OH&S and risk management, group management, developing and delivering tour activities and knowledge of subject matter. They are also assessed on a variety of EcoGuide specific skills, which include planning and implementing minimal impact principles, commitment to ongoing professional development, and ensuring activities respect Aboriginal culture and follow appropriate protocols regarding sharing of information on Aboriginal culture.
So, a bit about each of our new guides:
Craig Decourcy started with Passions in 2007 as a chef, and quickly worked his way up the ranks, from Dive Master to Dive Instructor; he is now a qualified First Mate with a Master V ticket and Marine Engineering Degree Class II. He conducts the glass bottom boat tour 4-5 days a week, and also helps our skippers look after the general maintenance on the boat.
Alex Kane joined Passions in 2012, and has also worked her way up from chef and kitchen hand to Dive Master, Dive Instructor, and is currently also a qualified First Mate with her Coxswain certificate and Marine Engineering Degree Class II. She conducts glass bottom boat tours 2-3 days per week, and also helps present our marine biology presentation in her capacity as an instructor.
Joe Balls (yes, that is his real name) joined Passions in 2014 as a Dive Instructor, and has quickly become a favourite both among our passengers and our crew. Originally on a working- holiday visa which would have only seen him working with us for 6 months, Joe has proved himself such an asset that we decided to sponsor his migration to Australia in 2015. In addition to taking divers, Joe regularly conducts the marine presentation, and has started assisting in the maintenance of our Scuba equipment.
David Moss (better known as Mossy) joined Passions in early 2015, and quickly became a semi-celebrity, known for his big personality and eagerness to make people happy. Mossy has worked for a number of other operators in Cairns, and his experience as a tour guide includes stints in Canada and the United States. As one of our top instructors, he regularly performs the marine biology presentation, and his interactive engaging Q&A time afterward has become a staple of the trip home.
Jasmina Uusitalo (better known as Jaz) joined Passions in early 2015, and has become our go-to for all things related to the marine eco-system. Jas has worked for a number of other operators in Cairns, and has a degree in Marine Biology. As a qualified marine biologist, she brings a great level of scientific knowledge and expertise to the afternoon marine biology presentation. She has recently returned to work at Passions after spending a few weeks tagging large sharks with a research project.
And so, it is with our congratulations to our crew that we look forward to continue offering our passengers the best in customer service, now with an added “eco” boost!