Memories of the reef are all in the bag.

While Douglas Shire gets stuck into Plastic Free July, local business owner Steve Edmondson of Sailaway has been running his own campaign on environmental issues. Beginning this month, all guests with Sailaway have been given a locally sourced calico bag, which is reusable and washable.

The bags, adorned with a design created by Low Isles caretaker Jenni Fox are part of a bigger picture push by Mr Edmondson and Sailaway to increase awareness of the reef.

“It’s a small thing – our visitors are our most important environmental ambassadors,” said Mr Edmondson. Over 500 bags have already been given away in the few weeks since they were introduced as a complimentary part of travelling with Sailaway.

“We ask if they would like a bag and would be interested to reuse when home to strengthen our environmental message with our Sailaway guests participation.” Mr Edmondson explained that as an environmentally conscious operator, giving away reusable bags helped Sailaway’s environmental credentials, and helped tourists do their bit for the environment while taking home good memories.

The team at Sailaway also send former guests a present in the form of a Low Isles recipe book to anywhere in the world, if they send them a photo of the reusable bag in use in an interesting location – interstate and internationally.

Mr Edmondson said it was a great way to take home memories, and stay aware of the Reef, “rather than a stubbie holder and a hat.”

Aussie Tours Johan and Bo Discover Both Worlds

Mossman Gorge Tour

We have long hesitated to today yet again to another part of the GBR visit, because there’s still much to do. And tour operators are not lacking in Port Douglas … 😉 But there much more in Tropical North Queensland to experience than just the reef. So today, the plan is to travel a little more northward 20km from Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge. Since the first guided ‘Dreamtime GorgeWalk’ is only at 10am we can get some more sleep. Ideal … there are certainly no complaints from Bo. 😉


By 8am we will eventually liven and after a quick breakfast we get some hiking-gear and drive into the Kuku Yalanji country. We park our car at the modern Mossman Gorge Centre.

We are still a bit too early for the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk, so we settle our planning in the adjoining Café Mayi. We are still puzzling and shuffle some dates so that we might have an extra dive to the wreck of the SS Yongala can plan. 😉

20150916_port_douglas_054By 10am it is time for an authentic Dreamtime Gorge walk in the Daintree National Park. And we are lucky because our guide Roy Gibson, the older of the Kuku Yalanji community will take us through the rainforest.

We take a van to the Mossman Gorge. Here we will be welcomed and evil spirits stripped in a traditional smoking ceremony.

Then we walk along with Roy, or ‘Dingo’ if you want to use his totem name, through the lush rainforest. We regularly stop and we are instructed in the ancient flora and fauna knowledge of the rainforest of the Aborigines.

Thus we are introduced to the highly toxic “Tar Tree’ (Semecarpus Australia Ensis) which, in contact alone can cause death. Or the “Stinging Tree of Gympie Gympie-(Dendrocnide Moroides) which for months or even years can cause severe pain when touching the nettle on the leaves.

Or how about the long vine full of razor-sharp barbs of the applicable ‘Wait-a-While (Calamus muelleri).

But also their own culture, traditions and stories of the dream Kuku Yalanji are reviewed.

20150916_port_douglas_120When we arrive at the Mossman River, we also get a demonstration of the ocher paintings and more explanation about the medicinal benefits of the unique tropical plants can be found here in the rainforest.

Let it set us, you had to have a disease that modern medicine can not help them, then you might still sometimes seek the help of one of the older Aboriginal people of this region, because their knowledge about the plants and trees exceptional.

We walk leisurely back to our departure and en route Roy points some ‘Boyd’s forest dragons’ on – that are impossible to spot for an untrained eye – hanging on a tree trunk in the dense rainforest.

We enjoy a delicious Daintree bush tea and fresh damper before we say goodbye to this charismatic figure.

Then we walk to the Rex Creek Suspension Bridge and we stop at the Baral Marrjanga, track of the elderly, several lookouts on the Mossman River.

What more is almost queuing to take pictures of the river, so busy it has become here in the meantime. We hold, however, viewed it, because we have the pool at the Meridian in mind for some cooling this afternoon. 😉


20150916_port_douglas_460After one last stop in Woolworths Mossman, we return to Port Douglas, where we enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the pool of the Meridian.

Many of the furnished apartments at the Meridian have a private terrace (with or without private Jacuzzi) which opens onto the pool. We note the advance for the next ‘overwinter’-holiday destination.;-)

By 4pm we be ready again for a trip, because sitting still is not really our best trait.


Since it was a beautiful sunny day, there is no devise better ending to the day than a cruise with sunset. We go again on board the Sail Away  and sail to the open sea.

20150916_port_douglas_447After half an hour of sailing maneuvers Syd, the skipper, the luxury catamaran skillful with the bow toward the horizon, so we can enjoy a beautiful sunset. This all with a sundowner and a mountain of delicious snacks. 😉

The glow of the Coral Sea while the sun sets behind the mountains Daintree provides a quiet moment on the boat.

Eventually turns the catamaran and we set course back to the marina of Port Douglas. We stroll back to Meridian. And since it is still too early for the ‘Cane Toad’ race we decided to leave it for what it is.Maybe next time we are in Port Douglas …

Aussie Tours Johan the Nemo and Bo Go Sailaway

great barrier reef tours

Read the following article posted by Johan and Bo from Aussie Tours!

Click here to view the article on Aussie Tours

20150915_port_douglas_034“After a short yoghurt breakfast we walk from Meridian to the Reef Marina Port Douglas. Today we have an appointment with a friend of AussieTours, named Steve, the owner of Sailaway. A striking figure is told. And when we arrive in the marina there is perched a whole film crew. At first we thought it was all about Steve is running, but it soon becomes apparent that they are here in a TV series on ABC, The Code, filming his.

With a take-away coffee in hand we see the movie action until a good-humored man with a fluorescent pink clownvismuts is dismounting. Steve so! The cap is the mascot of his business and he asks Johan to also take the honor upon himself to wear this headgear themselves for the sailing trip. To the amusement of Bo and the other tourists … :-))))))

Today we have achieved a relaxing sailing tour to the Low Isles with one of the two luxury catamarans sister of Sailaway.

The Low Isles Group consists of Low Island, an atoll, and Woody Island, a mangrove island. A unique and any combination in the GBR which “a low wooded island ‘as a specific name inherits. They are a short 25km north-east of Port Douglas in Trinity Bay.

With the sun on your face and the wind in our sails, we head for the Coral Sea. There is coffee and cake to make us all feel at home.

20150915_port_douglas_073All snorkel comfortable on board, and distributed to those who do not have their own gear. Not much later we see the two islands gradually emerge on the horizon. The small lighthouse with red roof on Low Isles is already distinguishable from afar.

The Sailaway IV docks in the sheltered blue lagoon at Low Isles, and we get ready to go with the glass-bottom boat ashore. Along the way, we already get some fish and coral to see through the windows of the boat while the captain gives some explanation here and there.

Once on the beach is the ‘Island Time’! Low Isles is an idyllic paradise island of less than 55 acres. A group of volunteer ‘caretakers’ staying on the island to maintain and they do a fine job, because everything there is very cared for and there are even wooden benches and umbrellas on the beach to get your stuff back.

While Bo opted for exploring the island, Johan goes with the rest of the group on a guided snorkel tour.

Walking around the island does not amount to much, but there is so much going on. Bo has the immediate feeling that there is a lot of wildlife. The crystal clear waters teeming with sea turtles emerge alternately for air.

Furthermore, the island is clearly a good breeding and nesting place for many birds. Unfortunately we did not bring our telephoto lens, but we already distinguish white-breasted wood swallows, white bellied sea eagles, ruddy turnstones, crested terns, reef egrets and a whole gang pied imperial pigeons and bridled terns. And then some Australian pelicans were almost forgotten. 😉

Additionally, you can see the bright white lighthouse with red top face in 1878. The lighthouse was manned until 1993 (!). Furthermore, weather data also kept since 1887. Also nice to know that here at Low Isles in 1928 the first detailed scientific study of the world’s coral reef has occurred. This study is today still relevant and still lies at the basis of many theories about the coral reef.

And then you also have the reef around Low Isles, where according to the directories more than 150 species of hard coral and more than 15 species of soft corals can be found.


Between this coral can be found in the blue lagoon a large variety of reef fish. But what was particularly noticed the abundance of ‘green’ and ‘hawksbill’ sea turtles. After 15 we stopped counting.

At every 5 meters you snorkeled could you walk a turtle bump. So much we have never been on such a small place known to each other. Too bad the visibility in the water gradually subsided with the rising wind.

Eventually the time goes too fast here, and it’s time to leave. We load all our stuff in the glass-bottom boat and swim but himself back to the catamaran, where we enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch.Demonstrates just in time, because a little later the sky turns completely dark and it starts to rain.

We seek shelter in the spacious interior of the catamaran, while the skipper again heads off to Port Douglas. Fortunately, the rain was short-lived. The rest of the trip is spent lounging on the deck (or sleeping in the living room) while the wind propels us.

And before we realize we again sail into the marina of Port Douglas.

We have the opportunity to go along on ‘Sunset Sailing’, but we love it a day for today. We are gritty and covered in salt and look forward to a hot shower in our studio.

Again beckons the “Cane Toad race ‘in the Iron Bar … but for the second time, we prefer the comfort of a real bed. ;-)”

Sailaway Coral Reef Management Fellowship

Australia serving as global center for training in coral reef management in June

Ecologic Eco Shamba Tree FarmTwelve coral reef managers from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian oceans are spending three weeks in North Queensland to exchange knowledge and learn about innovative coral reef science, management and leadership. The fellows will travel between Townsville and Port Douglas, visiting government departments, research stations, farms, schools and other reef-associated operations. They will meet the people and visit the habitats that make the Great Barrier Reef so special.

The Caribbean and Pacific fellows are part of an Australia Awards Fellowship program funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade titled Improving coral reef management for sustainable development in the Caribbean and Pacific. Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships and Fellowships funded by the Australian Government to build capacity and strengthen partnerships. The program supports short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia for mid-career professionals and emerging leaders. Reef Ecologic, an environmental consulting agency focused on coral reef management, is hosting the unique international fellowship program in Townsville and North Queensland.

Ecologic Low IslesFor many of the Fellows, this will be their first time snorkeling on the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Fellowship also includes home-stays with local marine scientists as part of a cultural exchange. This is a rare and valuable experience as it brings together coral reef managers from such a variety of locations to gain and share expertise.

This week the Fellows has a unique experience to meet Steve Edmondson a leader and innovator in the Great Reef tourism industry. We met Steve at his tree farm “Eco Shamba” and heard about the importance of habitat, carbon storage and biofuel. In the afternoon we boarded Sailaway for a trip to Low Isles offshore from Port Douglas. We were given a guided tour by Steve and the Low Isles caretaker of the island and learnt about the management of renewable energy, weather station, coral reefs, heritage and were impressed by the beauty of the island and the passion and expertise of the people who care for it.

Reef Ecologic is founded and directed by former GBRMPA employees Dr Adam Smith and Dr Paul Marshall. “We have observed the global decline of coral reefs and see that training of future leaders is essential for turning the tide towards a more sustainable future. Australia is the world leader in coral reef conservation and marine resource management. This Fellowship is a chance to share Australia’s expertise with the world” said Dr Marshall.

Picture and interview opportunities

More Information: (for detailed brochure)

Media inquiries to:

Dr Paul Marshall 0428 889 812

The Panama to Port Douglas Plan

Great Barrier Reef Islands

panama-to-port-logoMay 26th 2015: News Update 1

Exciting Innovative New Product – Luxury Diving & Sailing Expeditions!

Australian family sail home…Panama to Port Douglas 2015 -16 new experience coming to GBR because “There’s nothing like Australia”.


Steve & Katrina Edmondson of Aristos Port Douglas Pty Ltd are based in Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland, own and operate their family business. Sailaway Port Douglas has two beautiful luxury sailing catamarans, offering premium day trips to Low Isles, an iconic part of the Great Barrier Reef. Steve & Katrina are known for innovative product development and successful leaders in the Australian marine tourism industry.

Sailaway IV & V visit idyllic Low Isles and include Sunset Sailing to promote the local destination and also cater for luxury private charters. They have successfully launched two NEW products being scheduled sunset sailing in 2007 and in 2014 scheduled a later departure, Afternoon Cruise for adults only; sailing, snorkeling, island and sunset sailing.

Aristos-logoInnovative destination promotion plan and New Product development:

Steve & Katrina plan to bring their third fantastic and innovative New Product to Great Barrier Reef, Australia very soon. They have just purchased a suitable luxury “Lagoon 560” vessel to offer live-aboard sailing, diving & snorkelling Expeditions for a maximum of 8 VIP guests with 1st Class accommodation and service.

Steve Edmondson successfully operated similar high-end expeditions in East Africa for 11 years prior to purchasing Sailaway with Katrina in 2002. “Aristos” offered tailor made itineraries for 6 guests to Pemba & Zanzibar Islands East African coast for 1 – 2 week diving and sailing.  “Aristos” meaning “the finest and the best of all things considered” which continues with their own philosophy with daily operations of Sailaway and will bring a wonderful new style of nature experience to the Great Barrier Reef not already catered for.

This new expedition vessel “ARISTOS” will sail from Panama City starting with passage through the Panama Canal on 31st May 2015 sailing to Curacao (ABC islands north of Venezuela) for safe keeping through Hurricane season.  They will return to Australia to participate in ATE15, continue to manage Sailaway and prepare for the voyage back to Port Douglas.

Steve & Katrina will return to Curacao in October with their two young children to sail through the Windward and Leeward Islands of the Caribbean sea, including Antigua, Sint Maarten, St Lucia, Virgin Islands and Bahamas. Due to season changes this journey will then take them back to Panama, into the Pacific sailing to Port Douglas visiting, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji based on seasonal weather, where the wind blows and traditional global voyage plans.

Australian registered new expedition yacht “ARISTOS” starting with Australian family sailing home, will experience a one off family adventure, people/ travel and eco cruising adventure story, promoting Australia, Queensland, Port Douglas with a commitment to sustainability, investment and future planning in the Great Barrier Reef.

Thank you to all partners, including Tourism Australia, Tourism & Events Queensland, GBRMPA and Eco Tourism Australia for their continued work and commitment to promoting appreciation and awareness of our unique and fragile natural environment. Public awareness is the only positive way to safeguard our biggest natural asset. Without sustainability there is no future…

Thank you for following our story “Aristos” Panama To Port Expedition 2015 – 16.  Access all updates and images through  “There’s northing like Australia…”

For further details contact:

Steve Edmondson

#nothinglikeaustralia, #tourismaustralia

TTNQ Winner for New Tourism Development and Business Award

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef… Sailaway Team are absolutely delighted to be the TTNQ WINNER for New Tourism Development and Business Award. The initiative of the additional sister vessel Sailaway V Afternoon Low Isles Tour, 1.00 to 6.30pm, Snorkelling, Turtles, Coral Viewing and Sunset Sailing back to Port (Adults Only) is successfully established and known as “The most relaxing experience on our GBR” This award complements being an Eco Tourism Climate Action Leader and National Sustainability Award Winner 2013. We see this industry recognition supporting our destination promotion to our valued agents and visitors.


Press Release

We are extremely pleased to announce Sailaway V is the winner of the TNQ New Tourism Development Award! This category recognises excellence in the planning of tourism infrastructure and services with a focus on entrepreneurial vision, harmonious integration with the environment, design and functionality and uniqueness of the service.

Sailaway V commenced operation on the 1st April 2014 and is an innovative new product offering “The Most Relaxing Experience on the Great Barrier Reef”.

Seeing the need for an adults only, late departure tour to Low Isles, Steve and Katrina Edmondson had a desire to grow the already successful Sailaway brand offering first class service with a luxury sailing and snorkelling experience to Low Isles, a Coral Cay Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Sailaway V has been very successful since it was launched this year, a sister vessel to Sailaway IV, this new Sailaway V is also a proven Lagoon 500 sailing catamaran, and fills a gap in the marketplace offering a 1.00pm departure with a late return at 6.30pm, to incorporate the highly popular Sailaway Sunset Sail on the homeward journey.

The cruise is for adults only and offers 3 hours at idyllic Low Isles to snorkel with turtles on the guided snorkel tour, enjoy a glass bottom boat tour and explore the island with an island heritage walk, or simply relax on the beach. Once returning to the vessel, guests are treated to a spectacular afternoon tea, followed by a complimentary beverage and a delicious selection of canapés. Add a relaxed friendly atmosphere, ambient music and first class service from Sailaway’s experienced crew, this is a recipe for a memorable experience.

We would like to extend a very big thank you to our team of dedicated crew who have been fully committed to ensuring this new tour is a success. Also to the many local suppliers who have contributed to this new venture. The many 5 star ratings on Trip Advisor is a testament to the success of this great new innovative product. We look forward to a busy year ahead. Go Sailaway!” says owner Steve Edmondson.

Sailaway featured by Travelling in Australia Magazine

Great Barrier Reef Tours

Snorkelling Port Douglas… Sailaway owner/operator Steve Edmondson’s relentless commitment for environmental sustainability and eco tourism caught the attention of journalists at one of Australia’s leading travel magazines; Travelling in Australia.

Read the Article

Protectors of the Reef: GBRMPA

Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling

Reef Management

Sailing Great Barrier Reef… The Great Barrier Marine Park Authority’s GOAL is to provide for the long-term protection, ecologically sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

We all need to help

The marine tourism industry, recreational users, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and other government agencies all have a role to play in keeping the Reef ‘GREAT’. The GBRMPA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA – historically referred to as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) have developed management tools and processes to provide a range of tourism and other opportunities throughout the Marine Park, and to minimise the impacts of tourism activities on the marine environment so the diversity, integrity and productivity of the Reef is maintained.

Keeping everyone informed

Consultation on tourism management issues are undertaken at all levels including operators, sector associations and through the peak marine tourism body the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators.

The GBRMPA works closely with community groups, recreational users, Local Marine Advisory Committees (LMACs), and Tourism and Recreation Reef Advisory Committees (TRRAC) on key issues related to tourism and recreation in the Marine Park.

Working with the tourism industry and stakeholders, GBRMPA educates Marine Park visitors by promoting appreciation through interpretation and best practice information.


The Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling Great Barrier Reef

Sailing Port Douglas…

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 and is the world’s largest marine protected area.


Natural Wonder
It is made up of nearly 2900 individual reefs very close together which include 760 fringing reefs and 300 coral cays.

Low Isles
Sailaway takes you to Low Isles, a network of islands and a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef where you can sail & snorkel with the turtles.

Marine Wildlife
The fish are nothing short of spectacular. Turtles, eels, reef sharks, clams, sponges, rainbow fish, butterfly fish and sea cucumbers are just a few – snorkelling on the reef creates lifetime memories.