About the Ship

S.V. Pelican 1 is a 62-foot sailing catamaran, whose design is inspired by Polynesian migratory canoes that have a 5,000 year heritage.

She took 6 years to build from timber and epoxy resin and is a state-of-the-art platform for conducting scientific research and for people and communities to gather on board for knowledge sharing and experiences at sea.

S.V. Pelican 1 is a story ship - whose journeys are not just physical dalliances across the ocean, but journeys through cultural, traditional and scientific seascapes of immense beauty and importance.

We are here to keep 'Sea Country' alive.

Our Mission:


⚓ Connecting People with the Ocean

Some local boys out on Guugu Yimithirr Sea Country, Cape York - 2013 Hope Vale Voyage.

Some local boys out on Guugu Yimithirr Sea Country, Cape York - 2013 Hope Vale Voyage.


⚓ Gathering & Sharing Marine Knowledge

Harry Breidahl, marine educator, teaching on board S.V. Pelican 1 - using the vessel as a classroom at sea.


⚓ Creating Experiences & Stories at Sea

Austin from Hope Vale, Cape York working the boom for the Hope Vale/Pelican documentary film in 2014.

Austin from Hope Vale, Cape York working the boom for the Hope Vale/Pelican documentary film in 2014.

Meet Our Crew:

⚓ Directors of Saltwater Projects

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Captain Garry McKechnie

Garry is a sailor, (Master Class 5, Off-shore Yachtmaster) and film maker with a background in the performing arts, community development and teaching. Growing up in Melbourne’s beach side suburbs in a boating family he has been involved with boats and the sea all his life. Since he was a child Garry has dreamed of sailing away to a life of adventure on the high seas. In the last decade he has moved steadily towards making this dream a reality. This project focuses his diverse experience and provides a vehicle for his work in the coming decades. Garry has surrounded himself with a skilled and competent team of people who share his love of the sea and his concern for the environment.

Natalie Davey

Natalie initially trained as an artist  but got sidetracked. Part of the team that got Pelican1 built, incorporated the Not-for-Profit Saltwater Projects and developed ideas for our projects (ongoing). Since Pelican1 was launched, she has been project coordinator, documentor, curriculum developer and fundraiser/grantwriter, amongst a few of her roles. Natalie is motivated by a concern for the environment and social justice. She completed a Fine Arts degree at the Slade School, University of London but was impelled to put her creative energy into collaborative projects at sea, particularly as the lessons of climate change were already ringing alarm bells thirty years ago. 

Nick Kelly

Nick is both general deck-hand and sailing crew. He has been involved with the Pelican’s builders and their boats for over ten years as crew and general electrical and computer nerd and has been responsible for installing the Pelican’s entire electrics, computer and communications systems.

 He completed his Bachelor of Computer Science and Engineering at Monash University in Victoria (with honours) specialising in data communications and has been working in data collection systems fields as diverse as the manufacturing industry, the Tibetan Government in Exile and various community services companies for many years.  He has done quite a bit of travelling and runs by the personal ideal of:  If you can see things in the world that ought to be better, stop whinging about it and get off your bum and have a go at fixing them!

⚓ Patron: Andrew Denton

Photo: Sandy Scheltema

Photo: Sandy Scheltema

⚓ Pelican First Crew - In Loving Memory

Photo: Sandy Scheltema

Photo: Sandy Scheltema

Peter Malcolm (1956 - 2009)

Activist, Environmentalist, Visionary.

Peter Malcolm’s was a life of big stories, far flung locations, diverse interests and intense passion. Peter cared deeply about the environment, community, social justice, about fulfilling his own potential, and helping others to achieve theirs. He had a mighty heart. Nothing was impossible. When asked to describe him, his wife Davini once responded, “ Imagine Indiana Jones with a social and environmental conscience, and five kids”.

His funeral was held at the family property in Warrandyte. Smoke from ceremonial fires swept the several hundred people in attendance. Surrounded by bush on a bend of river, among wind billowed silks and chimes, children played, and food was lovingly prepared. We listened as loved ones and friends gave thanks for Peter’s life. His presence was tangible. An eagle soared overhead. Trees danced, animated by a restless wind. Guitar, voices, laughter and tears, hands on shoulders, our ceremony followed his casket until the hearse pulled slowly away, and we sang what, for Peter, was an anthem for life - “Imagine”.

Peter was a dreamer, an innovator, and an inspirational speaker on the talk circuit. He made people feel special. He refused to accept the status quo. He welcomed change into his own life and frequently inspired it in others. He was a marriage celebrant; a black belt in Pancha Tanmantra and he had more front than Myers.

Born in London 1956 to a colonial policeman and a nurse Peter spent his early life in Uganda. His first language was the “Kitchen Swahili” of his indigenous nursemaid. At age five the family, including Peter’s sister Jen, settled comfortably on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. After boarding school at Charter House in England and a BA he joined the Royal Navy gaining his “Wings” as a helicopter pilot. But his spirit was never a match with the military.

He became involved in a plan to walk to the South Pole. He managed the purchase and re-fit of a North Sea trawler for the task. A group led by Robert Swan, a long time friend, reached the pole but the ship was crushed by ice and lost even as Rob’s team radioed their success. Peter and his mates were left stranded on the sea ice. This was the first of 19 expeditions that took him to Antarctica over a period of 30 years. His work there included service as helicopter pilot with Greenpeace, and expedition leader for both 2041 and Aurora Expeditions. His passion for and knowledge of the ice was an inspiration for thousands of visitors he guided to the Antarctic Peninsula.

On his return to England he joined the crew of the tall ship Eye Of The Wind and embarked on a global circumnavigation. He had been around boats all his life but this marked the culmination of his mariner’s apprenticeship. When they docked in Hobart Peter and his first wife, Wizz, jumped ship. Australia became Peter’s permanent home. He and Wizz purchased an old Pearling Lugger “Redbill” and sailed her from Torres Strait to Hobart. Over the years under Peter’s command Redbill was by turns research vessel, Greenpeace campaigner, pirate charter vessel, youth worker, theatre at sea, environmental monitor, central character in the television series If It Doesen’t Kill You and the subject of an award winning book.

Peter met his second wife Davini during a retreat in the Central Australian desert. Their blended family grew to seven. Their home, Peter’s base and refuge, was a focus for community involvement. His family was the heart and soul of his life. He and Davini were planning sustainable rural communities involving friends and organisations several of which Peter helped establish. Davini continues this work.

Peter was a founding member of Pelican Expeditions who conduct research, education and community engagement projects at sea. Since 2005 he led annual expeditions to Cape York for Pelican and the Hope Vale Community. He was instrumental in securing ANZ sponsorship (sadly now lapsed) for this project and became a passionate advocate for creative solutions to problems in indigenous communities. “The Hope Vale Pelican Project” won the Queensland Premiers Reconciliation Award for Business/Community Partnerships in 2007. Elders from Hope Vale made the long journey to Melbourne for Peter’s funeral and delivered a passionate tribute. “Since Pelican has been visiting us there have been no suicides at Hope Vale”. Peters final sailing voyage was aboard Pelican 1 in April between Melbourne and Bermagui.

His spirit and love of life continue to shine in the hearts of his family, his friends and the many people who have been inspired by him. We miss him.

Peter is survived by wife Davini, sons - Angus, Satchi, Zak, and Lachlan, and daughter - Gabriella.

Written by Garry McKechnie 

⚓ First Mates

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Karl Chappell

Raf Heale


⚓ Crew

                            Tomek                                                                     Michelle Quach                     



People who supported the building of Pelican1

Damien Cook Botanist / Wetland Ecologist. Damien has worked as an ecologist for the past 20 years. He is a co-director of Australian Ecosystems, a business specialising in ecological restoration and revegetation. Australian Ecosystems supplies, plants and maintains over 3 million plants annually. He is a major shareholder of Pelican Expeditions. He has participated in a range of projects, recent examples being the overseeing of the establishment of 40 hectares of wetlands terrestrial vegetation at “the Waterways and research for a project to restore vegetation and fish habitat on the lower Snowy River. Damien is an integral member of the Pelican team and has also been on many of our expeditions, most recently to the Solomon Islands to look for the Blue whales breeding ground.

Mike O’Mullane is the Managing Director of Suburban Management Pty Ltd, one of Victoria’s oldest mortgage origination companies. Suburban Management has recently introduced its Green Home Loan to the market place. This loan is designed to encourage borrowers to think more about sustainable environmental living. Suburban Management’s has been helping people finance their homes for 30 years and started as a Co-operative Housing Society Group in the early 70’s. Co-operative Housing Societies were supported by Federal and State Governments to assist low to middle income earners achieve home ownership. Mike has always been interested in protecting the environment and is an active supporter of The Wilderness Society and has raised his children with a similar philosophy. Mike’s son, Marcus, has contributed his own time to assist with the construction stage of the Pelican. Suburban Management is a major shareholder in the Pelican project.

Brendan Condon Environmentalist - Brendan is a major shareholder in Pelican. He has been a keen environmentalist for many years and during the 1990s he ran programs with young offenders restoring the creeks and waterways around Melbourne. In 1995 he began specialising in wetland restoration work with Damien Cook and in 1997 he established the Australian Ecosystems Nursery at the Eastern Treatment Plant at Carrum in the South East of Melbourne. Brendan has overseen over 400 ecological restoration projects in Victoria involving the seed collection, propagation, planting and maintenance of over 15 million plants since 1992. In response to his growing concern about climate change and the huge risks this poses to the world, he established not for profit global warming solutions organization Climate Positive in 2006. He is also the Director of the proposed Cape Paterson Ecovillage project in South Gippsland, which hopes to set a benchmark as a sustainable low emissions housing project. This project is now in its first stage.

Jenifer Nicholas Environmentalist-  Jenifer has been involved in environmental restoration since she bought her first property in the Little Desert over 30 years ago. She currently manages land near Boreen Point and has overseen its transformation from a cattle farm to a biodiverse haven that rivals the nearby Great Sandy Cooloola National Park. 

It is 1000acres that was, converted into a Nature Refuge for 200 identified bird species, invertebrates, mammals and native fish. Also host to a concerted effort to preserve the Richmond Birdwing butterfly and Coxen Fig Parrot. Many years of planting a diverse and indigenous collection of trees. It has become the “Dangerbridge Nature Refuge.”