THE LAST ISLAND
ONCE GLORIOUS SAMARAI

Meet Sarina Bratton

Sarinabratton When I lived in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Clifton Gardens 20 years ago, my upstairs neighbour was Cunard shipping executive Sarina Bratton. Sarina went on to become the world’s first woman to found a shipping line - Orion Expedition Cruises – and in today’s log I briefly tell her story. But first a television program you might want to watch. In March this year, the popular Channel 9 travel show Getaway sent a film crew (anchored by presenter Jules Lund) to experience MV Orion’s inaugural expedition voyage in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

As the first Getaway segment went to air last Thursday, I was aboard Orion on the last leg of a most splendid journey around the islands to our north. But I’ll be tuning in for the second segment which goes to air this week [Thursday 9 November, 7.30 pm DST in the Eastern States].

Sarina Bratton is the founder and managing director of the five-star ‘soft adventure’ Orion Expedition Cruises, which also has financial backing from Marilynne Paspaley of the eponymous pearls to property group. Marilynne, an engaging and personable former stage and television actor, and husband Gary occupied Orion’s owners’ suite on the first leg of our PNG cruise.

Sarina Bratton now lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband and daughter. An outstanding athlete, at age 17 she held national sporting titles in gymnastics, diving and trampoline. But when injury cut short her sporting career, she took a working holiday in Europe which led directly to her involvement in tourism.

On International Women’s Day this year Sarina won the coveted Australian Veuve Clicquot Award to recognise her leadership skills and contribution to tourism. Presenting the award, Janet Holmes à Court said, “Through Sarina’s persistence and perseverance she is creating a company that is exciting and innovative. Her vision to develop Australia as a cruise destination through the development of innovative itineraries has generated significant economic benefit.”

Two years ago Sarina’s dream of starting her own line became a reality with the launch of the Orion. She nurtured every detail from the galley to the engine room, hand-picked destinations, selected top expedition staff (including the inimitable Justin Friend) and worked with local communities to allow the ship to access those 'paths less travelled'.

“It’s tough starting a new business,” says Sarina. “You work very long hours and you have to put everything into it, which I’m not afraid of. I’ve got the best ship for the job and I’ve got a fantastic team working with me.”

Comments

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Marjorie Moi Abel

To whom looks after this site or comment feed, I would like to get in touch with Ms Sarina Bratton of the Orion Expedition Cruises. Hallo my name is Marjorie Moi Abel. I am the namesake and great neice of Marjorie (Badi) Smeeton whom you saw her gravestone when visiting our old island of Kwato. I really enjoyed reading your article on your visit to Milne Bay on whole and also wanted to know if you have any email address for which I could get in touch with you regarding the Orion Expeditions to PNG.
I have a cousin sister who has recently been retrenched from her Dive/Hostess job in the Carribean islands of Grenada. She is now back in Alotau, Milne Bay with family and in search of employment again. I am wondering if there is some way I could assist her to apply for employment within your organisation. She is eligible for a Business Sponsor Visa 457 to permit her to work in Australia. She also previously worked on board Mike Ball- Paradise Sport and MV Star Dancer and Febrina of Walindi Plantation Resort up in Kimbe, PNG. All with very good referees and outstanding work history. I hope you will be able to reply my email with any information you have available.

Kind Regards,

Marjorie Moi Abel

Justin Friend

"....selected top expedition staff (including the inimitable Justin Friend) and worked with local communities to allow the ship to access those 'paths less travelled'..... "

I had to look up what inimitable meant......

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