An edited version of Coralita’s brochure (1986)
Coralita was launched in1969, began catering for divers and fishermen in 1970 and then exclusively for divers. Before being sold to 2nd owner (Alby Ziebell) Wally Muller did adventurous charters for oil companies to destinations still high risk today.
Coralita ventured further up the Fly River in Papua New Guinea than was considered safe. Tidal bores being the risk that had stranded previous boats.
Wally’s son, Roy Muller was bumped underwater by a saltwater crocodile in near zero visibility while placing electronic measuring equipment underwater in the Fly River.
Another charter took Coralita into pirate-infested waters of the Celebes.
New owner Albie Ziebell was an experienced abalone diver who had worked southern Tasmanian waters and wanted a new change.
Coralita’s home port was moved from Yeppoon to Cairns at a time when that city was just beginning to attract international visitors.
All went well until 1991. On the brink of a departure to begin diving charters in New Guinea, Coralita suffered an explosion in her engine room that sent the boat to the bottom of Cairns harbour.
It was far from an insurance job.
Although there were no immediate casualties the disappointment and stress on Alby was severe. He passed away a few years later; at his well-attended funeral most of his friends, apart from a handful of divers, were rod and reel fishermen.
Alby had once again excelled at a new profession and was doing well when tragedy struck while returning from a northern fishing safari.