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Nancy Lowe

Mission Beach, Far North Queensland

Having grown up in Mission Beach, Nancy Lowe always wanted to live and earn her living in her hometown. Together with her late partner Steven 'Fozzy' Foster, Nancy took over the local water taxi business after Cyclone Yasi. Working tirelessly to rebuild their town and business, Nancy and Fozzy were determined to put Mission Beach back on the map.

Hi, my name is Nancy Lowe, I own and operate Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxi and Mission Beach Dive, here in beautiful Mission Beach.

I describe my business as a ferry service that operates between Mission Beach and Dunk Island, taking people over to the island for day trips and camping. I have employees, I guess you could call them employees; they're more like a really, really close family, but there's about – in the season – between about 7 and 10 of us, and in the down times a few less.

The experience that I had was probably from watching Mum and Dad run their businesses and how hard they worked. A lot of people have done a lot more stuff than I do, and if they can offer me some wisdom or offer me a pat on the back, or whatever, I'm always open to it.

This community, Mission Beach, is one of the most remarkable places in the world. The support from this community, that really does make a huge difference when you're running a little business like mine. With the benefit of hindsight what would I have done differently? Probably bought buses or something that doesn't float.

Following Cyclone Yasi, Nancy and her partner Fozzy took on the 'Island Spirit' vessel, the Dunk Island water taxi business. Despite the devastation throughout the region, Nancy and Fozzy had faith that Dunk Island was still a worthwhile destination for tourists. They began the long process of rebranding it as an amazing day trip destination to entice tourists back to the area.

With a leaky boat and only enough money to fill 2 fuel tanks, they knew they needed to make every trip count. Nancy and Fozzy worked tirelessly to not only grow their business, but also grow Mission Beach region after Yasi's devastation.

After 3 hard years, the Mission Beach–Dunk Island Water Taxi finally made a small profit. The opportunity to expand arose when their dream dive and snorkel vessel came up for sale. This allowed Nancy and Fozzy to start offering reef diving and snorkelling tours to the Great Barrier Reef. It proved a huge success for the business and the local area, with customer numbers doubling over the next 2 years.

Just when everything was looking up for the business, tragedy struck. In 2016, Fozzy went missing while out on a diving trip, believed to be taken by a shark. Left with a growing business to manage on her own, Nancy had no choice but to keep things going despite her grief. With the help and support of her local community and family, Nancy and her business are still going strong.

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