Great Barrier Reef Legacy, a Port Douglas based Reef research and education outfit, have been welcomed home in a new vessel and with a new funding partnership with Hemingway’s Brewery.

The Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) team arrived back at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Sunday after sailing their new research vessel back from Sydney.

Olympian David Forbes OA and family recently donated ‘Merlin’, a 51 foot McConaghy yacht, to GBRL to aid in their research, education, and community engagement expeditions.

Titled “Ocean Heroes” the most recent expedition was a tribute to David Forbes and others who have dedicated their lives to sharing the wonders of the ocean.

Upon arriving back in Port Douglas, the crew was treated to a party at Hemingway’s and the official launch of a funding partnership that will see GBRL receive 50 per cent of the profits of the sales of Hemingway’s 7th Heaven Tropical Ale.

Hemingway’s CEO Tony Fyfe said the brewery is excited to kick off the partnership.

“We are both local entities,” he said.

“GBRL is Port Douglas based and we opened our first brewery in Port Douglas three years ago so (Hemingway’s co-founder) Craig Parsell and I felt it was really important to give back to the community in some way.

“With the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, we thought it was a really worthy cause to try and save the reef.”

Dr Dean Miller of GBRL said the funding partnership is a wonderful thing for GBRL and their upcoming expeditions.

“This partnership with Hemingway’s allows us to get out on the water as often as possible and means we can go further and for longer and do more work,” he said. Dr Miller also said while they had a great time aboard their new vessel, the three-week journey home wasn’t just about sailing.

“Part of it was learning how to sail and getting used to the boat; it was important to make sure GBRL was ready to take it on with good experience,” he said.

“On top of that, we were collecting scientific data; we were doing micro-plastic tows from Sydney Harbour to Port Douglas so we now have a transact of the east coast.

“We were also collecting citation data so we counted more than 600 humpback whales and more than seven different species of dolphin, we conducted in-water surveys at certain points; it was non-stop.”

GBRL’s next project is reef restoration at Low Isles where they aim to help repopulate coral reefs in the fragile ecosystem.