A 23 metre, 130 seat catamaran has been purchased by 1770 Reef Tours to take visitors to Lady Musgrave Island. Picture: Rodney Stevens
A 23 metre, 130 seat catamaran has been purchased by 1770 Reef Tours to take visitors to Lady Musgrave Island. Picture: Rodney Stevens

New catamaran to take tours to Lady Musgrave

A CATAMARAN previously used to take tourists to the world famous Whitehaven Beach will begin ferrying passengers from 1770 marina to Lady Musgrave Island within days.

Purchased by 1770 Reef Tours owners Mark and Katrina Mergard, the 23-metre aluminium vessel will be able to seat up to 130 passengers in comfort once COVID restrictions are lifted.

1770 Reef manager Katrina Mergard said the catamaran, Orca, arrived safely after travelling from the Whitsundays on November 12.

“Our 130 passenger vessel catamaran will be ready for passengers by the 20th of November

to start taking over from our current 41 passenger Reef Jet, taking passengers to Lady Musgrave Island,” she said.

“This means that we have the capacity if the demand increases to take 170 passengers to Lady

Musgrave Island.

“The new vessel will operate the same as the Reef Jet by departing daily and changing times with the tides.”

Mrs Mergard said tours to Lady Musgrave Island were located a 5.5 hour drive north of Brisbane, 1.5 hours north of Bundaberg, and 1.5 hours south of Gladstone.

“We are the closest access to Lady Musgrave Island departing daily from the Town of 1770,” she said.

“Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea is fully provided for a full day of snorkelling, glass bottom boat viewing and a guided island walk.”

Mrs Mergard said the Reef Jet would still be put to work taking passengers to snorkel out at

Fitzroy Island.

“These tours will also be available at the beginning of school holidays, or possibly sooner,” she said.

“We are in the process of recruiting a new crew.”

Trips on the Orca to Lady Musgrave Island are estimated to take one hour and forty minutes, depending on the tides.

Designed by BSC Marine Designs and built by Brisbane Ship Constructions in 2000, the Orca was originally based in Airlie Beach and did tours to Whitehaven Beach and resort transfers.

It then went to Fiji for several years where it was renamed the MV Cougar, before returning to Cruise Whitsunday’s where it was named the Orca.

Capable of cruising at 21 to 22 knots, the catamaran is powered by two six-cylinder turbo diesel CAT C18 engines, producing a total of 1460 horsepower.

For more information on tours to Lady Musgrave Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef visit the 1770 Reef Tours website.

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