Cairns Great Barrier Reef

The Tusa Dive Crew

Our crew are on hand throughout the day to help make your day extra special. A typical day will have 10 -12 crew on board, so you can expect lots of friendly and professional service, whether you’re an experienced diver or first time snorkeller. The T6 team have all completed their ADVANCED REEF TEACH certification courses (endorsed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority), and are keen to share their love and knowledge of the reef with you.

Phillip Hobbs

Phillip Hobbs
  • Director/Owner
  • Tusa Est. 1986
  • When all is running smoothly
  • Osprey Reef
  • Italian
  • Camping, Diving, Hunting

Originally from New Zealand and lived in Cairns since 1979. This is our home and we enjoy having friends & family around us, as well as easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and Australian Outback. Life doesn’t get much better.

Louise Wilkins

Louise Wilkins
  • Skipper
  • August 2016
  • Being on the reef & working with an AWESOME crew
  • Charlie 12
  • Thai food with an ice cold beer
  • Sailing & Traveling

A born and bred local, Louise has travelled and sailed all over the world. Louise’s love of the sea has her living onboard her own catamaran with her young family and a castaway kitten. Her ultimate goal is to live the dream and circumnavigate, exploring as many exotic locations as possible.

Gareth Phillips

Gareth Phillips
  • Skipper
  • May 2011
  • Great Boat and great team, Love the Reef and meeting different people!
  • No Favourite - Loves them all!
  • Steak & Apple Sauce
  • Salt Water Flyfishing & Diving

I have a Masters degree in Marine Science and also own a Local Marine Education Centre in town called Reef Teach! I really enjoy the link between Marine Tourism and Marine Science. I’ve lived in Australia for 5 years, making the voyage from South Africa where I worked at the Centre for Dolphin Studies.

Adam Montgomery

Adam Montgomery
  • Trip Director
  • December 2014
  • Meeting interesting customers
  • Plate Top
  • Beer
  • Boating, camping, fishing

The reef has been part of Adam’s life for over a decade now. Nowadays, besides for being on board, Adam loves spending time with his kids and wife at home.

Michelle Barry

Michelle Barry
  • Dive Instructor / Hostess / Sales / Relief Trip Director
  • 2010
  • My introductory divers expression after their first dive - Pure delight
  • Flynn - Tennis Courts
  • "Buffalo" Chicken Wings - USA Favorite
  • Underwater Photography

Michelle was first certified in San Diego, California in 2009, continuing through the PADI training program and became an Open Water Scuba Instructor right here in Cairns, Australia in February of 2010. Since then she has been working full time as a dive instructor certifying Open Water divers, introducing first time divers to the Great Barrier Reef, and guiding certified divers and snorkelers on T5 and now the brand new vessel T6! Currently, Michelle is also helping out with sales and marketing for Tusa Dive and Spirit of Freedom sharing her passion for diving with the world. In addition to diving, Michelle is learning to skipper boats and expand her knowledge of underwater photography and videography.

Vilimone Baleilevuka

Vilimone Baleilevuka
  • Dive Instructor
  • 2012 (second time around)
  • To share my dive experience
  • Any reef with my camera, but mostly Thetford Reef
  • Fish, Ice Cream, water & Kava
  • Photography

I’m a black but sweet Fijiian born Australian. I love photography and have recently won a few photo competitions.


  • Dive Instructor
  • November 2009
  • Intro Divers & Cert Divers - DIVING!
  • 3 Sisters - Milln Reef
  • Japanese SUSHI & Coke
  • Underwater Exploration

I moved to Australia from Japan about 10 years ago but ended up in Cairns and now call it home!

Kaito Okohira (Toe)

Kaito Okohira (Toe)
  • Dive Master
  • January 2016
  • Meeting people from all over the world
  • Fishbowl because I'm a rookie
  • Fried Rice & Peach Ice Tea
  • Basketball and Travelling

He might not look it, but Toe is as Aussie as it gets! His parents have worked for Tusa in the past and now he is following in their footsteps. He is a great (and hilarious) asset to our team.


  • Dive Instructor
  • December 2015
  • Seeing the smile of first time divers
  • 3 Sisters and Thetford Canyons
  • Bourbon & coke and ceviche
  • Paragliding

German dive instructor Matthias has been living and working on the Great Barrier Reef for almost 2 years now. He has explored numerous reefs out here and loves to share the passion.

Kris Spence

Kris Spence
  • Dive Instructor
  • 2012
  • Being underwater
  • Steve's bommie & 3 Sisters
  • Beer & Pizza
  • Surfing

Multi-talented Kris has been in the hospitality industry around the world his whole life and has found in Cairns a home to settle down.

Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett
  • Dive Instructor
  • June
  • The best part of my job is sharing the reef with others
  • 3 Sisters
  • Steak and beer & Rum & coke
  • Camping, motorbiking and going out

Silly youngster Jon is full of energy and loves to laugh with everyone.

Ryan Doherty

Ryan Doherty
  • Dive Instructor
  • September 2016
  • The Great Barrier Reef is my office
  • 3 Sisters on Milln
  • Steak and beer
  • playing guitar

Started diving with my open water course in Thailand last year and became an instructor 6 months later.

Yumi Macrae

Yumi Macrae
  • Hostie
  • 2005
  • Going out to the reef
  • Jorgeys Patch
  • Sukiyaki and peaches
  • Gardening, swimming and shopping

Yumi has been with Tusa for so many years and has done everything from Hostie to Trip Director. Mum to a beautiful little girl, she now works part-time with us.

Tina Wilm

Tina Wilm
  • Underwater Photographer
  • February 2012
  • Solo Diving
  • Flynn Reef
  • Pasta a la "Miracoli"
  • Shopping

Every time I dive, I hope to see something new. Sometimes the ocean gives me a gift, sometimes it doesn’t. The best thing about it is, that I carry a camera with me all the time. I can take awesome Selfies with all the beautiful things I get in front of my lens.

Cindy Stevenson

Cindy Stevenson
  • Sales Executive
  • 2004
  • Is when I go diving
  • North Horn Osprey Reef
  • Laksa
  • Traveling

The dive industry has been my life for the past 20 years! After backpacking my way up the East Coast of Australia in 1994, I stumbled into becoming a Dive Master trainee and completed my Instructor training in 1998. It was the best decision I ever made! After years of working on boats I had to get a real job, so I began working in the sales team for Tusa Dive & Spirit Of Freedom. 10 years later I’m still here, loving my job and working for an awesome company that involves travelling and spreading the word about our fantastic dive trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and I still get to go diving!

Paula Syer

Paula Syer
  • Reservations Manager
  • 2001
  • Hearing back from our passengers they've had a wonderful time
  • Osprey Reef
  • Roast Lamb
  • Too many to choose from

I’ve been with the company now for over 10 years. I love taking holidays every year to somewhere different. I also love animals and volunteer every month to work with native animals.

Natalie Hammer

Natalie Hammer
  • HR, Marketing, reservations, Website 'Dogs Body'
  • 2009
  • The variety
  • Milln
  • Sashimi & 5 Seeds Cloudy Apple Cider
  • NOT renovating

Mum to two great girls and enjoy spending quality time with family, but also appreciate the flexibility Tusa Dive offers in a great working environment.

Tania Rivet-Mintchev

Tania Rivet-Mintchev
  • Sales Executive, Dive Instructor, Trip Director & Shop
  • May 2012
  • meeting people, the variety of the work and of course, diving 🙂
  • The Fishbowl
  • Seafood & apple cider
  • travelling & diving

Originally from Canada, I’ve moved to Australia to be closer to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. I love it as I get the chance to dive on a regular basis, there’s no better office 🙂

Casimah Khalik

Casimah Khalik
  • Reservations
  • December 2014
  • Receiving thank you notes from clientele who ended up being friends and yes !! .. Diving of course !!
  • Three Sisters - Milln Reef , wait a minute so many !!
  • ohhhh definitely Malaysian authentic Laksa anything Malaysian will do .. Guess where I am originally from !!! / Virgin Mojito is my favourite poison If Crystal Roederer is not available .
  • When on land my tail and fins turn into Tango legs, and yes I can Salsa as well love my latin music as well as Classical music not a punk rock chic unless I am playing a role movies, dinner anything social is within my interest !

Mark Earney

Mark Earney
  • Retail Manager
  • November 2015
  • Meeting people and enhancing their dive experience
  • Miln and Flynn Reef
  • Middle eastern, Oriental and a good old Aussie steak
  • Technical and cave diving

I moved to Cairns from New Zealand 33 years ago and fell in love with diving the GBR, having worked and dived extensively in the Coral Sea and the length of the GBR.

Minoru Maekawa - Michael

Minoru Maekawa - Michael
  • Bus driver
  • June 2014
  • meeting people
  • none - i get seasick!
  • Beer & Mcdonalds
  • Watching movies

At Tusa diving the reef is our passion, sharing it is our obsession.

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