Who’s Who in 2022, tourism: Kerry Lopez

Published 12:30am 13 December 2022

Who’s Who in 2022, tourism: Kerry Lopez
Words by Moreton Daily

Brisbane Whale Watching owner Captain Kerry Lopez was crowned the Moreton Bay Businesswoman of the Year at the 2022 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards on October 21.

For 26 years, Kerry Lopez has been taking tourists and locals out to the humpback highway in Moreton Bay to see these gentle giants up close in their natural environment.

About Kerry Lopez

Kerry Lopez was crowned the Moreton Bay Businesswoman of the Year at the 2022 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards.

The Businesswoman of the Year award recognises an individual woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the Moreton Bay business landscape.

Speaking on the night of the awards ceremony, Kerry thanked her team, particularly her personal assistant Dessray Colledge, who has been by her side for 20 years, and also Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT).

Through her business Brisbane Whale Watching, Captain Kerry takes visitors out to the waters of Moreton Bay to see the humpback whales frolicking during their yearly migration.

Captain Kerry launched her business 26 years ago when she obtained a whale watching permit in 1996.

The business was first called Moreton Bay Whale Watching, but now operates as Brisbane Whale Watching.

Captain Kerry is recognised as the only female captain who owns and operates a whale watching venture in the South Pacific Rim and holds one of only two commercial whale watching cruise permits for Moreton Bay.

Captain Kerry’s high-speed, airconditioned luxury catamaran Eye Spy ferries more than 12,000 people from the Redcliffe Jetty out to the open waters of Moreton Bay every whale watching season, which traditionally runs from June to November.

Eye Spy was built in Brisbane and features the latest in environmentally friendly technology, including low-noise skewback propellers, a specialised hull design that creates less wash, and V16 diesel engines – all of which reduce underwater noise and vibration to not disturb the whales in their natural environment.

To help create a memorable and exciting day out for her guests, Captain Kerry ensures she knows the exact locations of the whales by using the aeroplane Sky Spy. It makes it easier to pinpoint their exact location, so passengers can see the humpbacks up close, and maybe even snap a picture or two of them breaching out of the water, slapping their tails or fins, or simply swimming by the boat.

Captain Kerry’s extensive knowledge of the whales and their behaviour is evident throughout the tour, so you are guaranteed to come back to dry land having learnt something new.

Before she ran Brisbane Whale Watching, Kerry worked as a deckhand on board the 1987 America’s Cup, before enrolling in the Fremantle Maritime College, where she was the only woman in her class of 30.

Kerry became the second woman in Australia to get her Class Five Master Mariners Certificate.

She also has her Class Four Masters Certificate.

When she arrived in Brisbane, Kerry worked as a skipper on a boat that took people out to St Helena Island, and then on Heron Island at the Great Barrier Reef.

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