About Us Whale Shark | Live Ningaloo

About Us

Live Ningaloo, founded in 2016 by Murray Pattison and Sonia Beckwith, is a luxury tour operator offering whale shark and humpback whale swims in the world-renowned Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia

Live Ningaloo was founded to provide a more personalized and intimate experience for guests who want to feel valued. While working as a catch-and-release fishing guide for the Sal Salis Ningaloo tented camp, Murray noticed that there were plenty of tour operators taking guests out to swim with whale sharks, but they were all focused on large groups. Murray and Sonia decided to swim against the current and create a tour company that caters exclusively to small-scale, single swimming groups. The big players may offer quantity, but Live Ningaloo offers quality.

Their secret to success? At Live Ningaloo, they believe that the best way to experience the ocean is to have it all to yourself. That’s why they limit each tour to just one swimming group, giving guests the freedom to explore at their own pace. But they don’t stop there. Live Ningaloo pays attention to the little things so guests can focus on the big things, like swimming with whale sharks and humpback whales. Swimming in the ocean can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not used to it. But don’t worry, Live Ningaloo’s got your back (and your front, and your sides).

Their dedication to quality has not gone unnoticed. Within just three months of launching, Live Ningaloo won the WA Tourism Bronze Award for Best New Tour Operator, beating out major players in Western Australia. It’s no surprise that they’ve continued to receive industry awards and grow their loyal following.

Murray and Sonia are not just tour operators, they’re part of the community. They live in Exmouth and are passionate about promoting regenerative tourism and better communication systems within the state and across Australia. At Live Ningaloo, they’re not just in the business of swimming with whale sharks and humpback whales, they’re in the business of creating memories that last a lifetime.

MISSION & VISION STATEMENT

Our mission is to reclaim time in a meaningful way and give people the space to feel something. We give guests the best opportunity to create authentic, life-changing experiences that challenges them to grow.

Our ultimate vision is to leave people, place, and the wild better than how we found it and inspire every visitor to leave the Ningaloo region an ambassador for life. We envision a future where all micro ecotourism businesses can achieve positive regenerative outcomes.

These are big, purposeful things and we are on a journey to achieve them. To learn more, visit our Regeneration page to see where we are at in the process.

MEET THE TEAM

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Our Team

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Murray Pattison
Co-Founder/ Skipper

In 2004, I was drawn to Exmouth’s coastal wilderness and marine environment. After working as a superyacht captain, I met Sonia and convinced her to join me in building a life and business here. We saw an opportunity to offer unique, personalized whale shark tours for discerning clients. Since 2016, our small group eco tours have expanded beyond Sal Salis, earning industry recognition and awards for our commitment to sustainability and unforgettable ocean experiences. We’re proud to bring something new to the industry and continue our mission of delivering exceptional adventures in harmony with nature.

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Sonia Beckwith
Co-Founder/ Strategy

I first learned about the magical Ningaloo Reef on the night I met Murray. He painted a vivid picture of life on the reef, and it captured my imagination instantly. It’s been a dream to turn our passion into a lifestyle and bring our vision of Live Ningaloo to life.

In the early years, I focused on perfecting the details behind the scenes to ensure smooth tour operations. Nowadays, my role has shifted as I embrace the joys of motherhood. While I still lend a hand to our incredible team, most days you’ll find me exploring the wonders of Ningaloo at my little one’s pace. It’s a whole new adventure in itself.

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Zak McDonald
Skipper

My admiration for Ningaloo stems from my experience on the Great Barrier Reef, where I developed a deep appreciation for marine life. Unlike the sporadic presence of marine megafauna in the vast expanse of the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo offers a concentrated hub of creatures such as whale sharks, humpback whales, and manta rays, making it a uniquely captivating destination. Live Ningaloo distinguishes itself by offering intimate encounters with whale sharks and personalised experiences, ensuring a memorable visit for every guest. As for myself, if I were a Ningaloo critter, I would love to be an octopus, given their intelligence and remarkable ability to blend into their surroundings, traits that are abundantly observed in the tide pools and bommie structures within the lagoon.

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Gigi McKercher
Operations Manager

I’ve been proudly part of the Live Ningaloo team since April 2023. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m eagerly anticipating the adventures yet to come.

At Live Ningaloo, I wear multiple hats, seamlessly blending roles in reservations, operations, and marketing. It’s a dynamic mix that keeps me engaged and excited every single day.

One of the things I cherish most about my time here is the opportunity to immerse myself in the breathtaking beauty of the Exmouth region. From its rich marine life to its stunning landscapes, this place never fails to captivate me. On weekends, you’ll often find me exploring the underwater wonders at Oyster Stacks, snorkel in hand, ready to discover the hidden treasures beneath the waves.

I’m truly passionate about what I do, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a team and a community that shares my love for adventure and exploration. Here’s to many more unforgettable experiences ahead!

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Katie Gates
Guide

Outdoor activities and a vibrant community make this place special. Surfing with turtles, snorkeling in the gulf, and breathtaking

sunsets at the lighthouse. Range walks with wildflowers, swimming with megafauna, and community events create endless adventures.

I work with an amazing crew, fulfilling bucket list dreams, and sharing unforgettable moments with guests. Swimming with endangered wildlife, everyday surprises, and high-quality experiences. Taking people swimming with whale sharks is a personal favourite.

Fun Fact – Whale sharks may be huge, but their throats are the size of a golf ball. They’re not only big but also adorable!

If I was a Ningaloo critter I’d be a dugong, munching on seagrass and cruising in the lagoon’s shallows.

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Tash Logvinskaia
Guide/Deckhand/Photographer

I adore the Ningaloo as nature’s playground. Each day is a unique adventure on, in, or near the stunning waters. This beautiful place unites people through their love for the ocean and its enchanting creatures.

Live Ningaloo is all about personal experiences with small group sizes. It’s a joy to share our home with diverse individuals, hearing their stories and connecting on a deeper level. The attention to detail and eco-friendly approach ensure a sustainable future for the Ningaloo.

Fun Fact: Parrot fish play a vital role in shaping our beaches by transforming coral into the sandy paradise we enjoy.

If I were a Ningaloo critter, I’d be a parrot fish. Just like them, I’d happily munch on coral and spread joy with their cuteness.

Nicknames: Tash or Tashy. My name is Natalya, but a surprising discovery at the DMV revealed my birth certificate said otherwise—quite the shock!

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Justin Bumpstead
Photographer

Living in the desert with one of the world’s largest fringing reefs nearby is incredible. Constantly exploring underwater, I’m immersed in the reef’s wonders and expanding my knowledge of marine life and photography. The abundance of wildlife and passionate people make this place truly special.

When I moved to Exmouth, my goal was to pursue my dream job in marine tourism as a photographer. Live Ningaloo stood out to me with their small group sizes, ensuring a better experience and more time in the water with Ningaloo’s wildlife. The more I learned about this family-run business and their commitment to protecting this amazing part of the world, the more I wanted to be a part of it

A fun fact: I’ve spent years living in Canada, exploring the States and developing a fondness for North America. Exmouth’s history, especially from the 60s/70s, fascinates me and back then it was more like a little America. I enjoy sharing these lesser-known aspects of Exmouth’s history with our guests, giving them a glimpse into what it was like before it became a major tourist destination.

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Jenn Haig
Deckhand

I am lucky enough to have joined the amazing Live Ningaloo team working to bring to you an experience of a lifetime in an intimate environment, which Murray and Sonia have meticulously created. Ningaloo Reef is somewhere I’ve always wanted to be as the blue water and array of marine animals (with even more to discover) is hard to stay away from! I am a marine biologist by trade and after working in turtle conservation and aboard pearling boats, I realised that no matter how many times I see a humpback whale breach or a whale shark glide through the waves, it always takes my breath away and being able to share this with people daily is a dream come true.

If I was a Ningaloo critter I would be a humpback whale – these big beauties consume over 1 tonne of krill everyday! Scientists are also still unsure how they sing as they don’t have any vocal cords (but think it’s to do with vibrations of the throat) – these ‘songs’ can even last 20 minutes! 

My real name is Jennifer so I also get Jenny, Jenn-jenn, jennay and Genevieve – but will respond to anything Jenn related! 

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Based in Exmouth

Live Ningaloo is based in Exmouth, a town in the Coral Coast region of Western Australia.

Ningaloo Reef: it’s like the VIP section of the ocean. As a UNESCO World Heritage listed Marine Park, it’s one of the most sought-after destinations for marine life enthusiasts around the world. And lucky for you, it’s just a 2-hour flight or a 1200km scenic drive from Perth, Western Australia.

Where the land meets the sea and the adventure never ends. Situated on the tip of the North West Cape, this peninsula extending into the Indian Ocean is one of the few areas in Australia that can boast the Range to Reef experience. You can explore the stunning canyons of Cape Range National Park and the colorful coral of the Marine Park all in one breathtaking adventure.

Regeneration

At Live Ningaloo, we’re committed to preserving and protecting the marine environment of Western Australia for future generations to enjoy. It’s not just our duty, it’s our passion to contribute locally and globally to efforts aimed at conserving the beautiful environment and wildlife of our region.

We’re privileged to have been awarded a license to conduct oceanic tours on the Ningaloo Reef, and we take our responsibility seriously. We strive to ensure that our tours are conducted in a responsible manner that minimizes our impact on the delicate ecosystem of the reef. Our ultimate goal is to create a fully regenerative business, and we’re working towards that goal one tour at a time.

At Live Ningaloo, we’re more than just tour operators – we’re stewards of the ocean. Our team of passionate and knowledgeable crew members are dedicated to sharing our love for the ocean with our guests, and educating them about the importance of conservation and sustainability.

Join us on a Live Ningaloo tour and experience the magic of the ocean while knowing that you’re contributing to the greater good. We’re proud to be making a positive impact on the environment and wildlife of our region, and we invite you to be a part of it.

Frequently Asked Questions