Issue # 131, 2012

Welcome to our Autumn issue of Quickies,

keeping you posted with some of our latest news and happenings.

From rare fish finds, celebrity sightings and releasing Matilda the turtle back into the waters off Green Island, the Quickie Group crew have been having a terrific time showcasing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef to our visitors from all over the world.

Whale season will soon be heading our way and we couldn’t resist showing you this amazing photo captured last season by photographer, Jesse Oberholzer onboard Quicksilver VIII.

We look forward to catching up with many friends and colleagues at ATE in Sydney from 26-30 April, until then, enjoy a break with our latest Quickies!

With warm tropical wishes from the Quicksilver Group Crew.


Rare fish find for Silversonic divers!

Lacy Scorpion Fish

A master of camouflage and known to "ambush" other fish by walking on their pectoral fins, the Weedy or Lacy Scorpionfish is a beautiful and rarely seen fish species but visitors aboard our Silversonic dive and snorkel vessel recently were amazed to see this exotic creature.

This rarely sighted fish was seen several days in a row at one of Silversonic's exclusive reef sites, Pavona, on the Agincourt ribbon reefs.

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Doug Baird, Quicksilver Group's Environment and Compliance Manager said, "This Scorpionfish is a beautiful rare fish species and was first described in 1973. It is a master at camouflage and blends in well with its background and can be seen hiding under plate corals or on coral ledges. It has a distinctive head shape, large upturned mouth, dangly tentacles on the snout and varies in colour to blend into the environment. The three dorsal spines are venomous. They are ambush predators and feed on other fish. They are known to "ambush" other fish by walking on their pectoral fins instead of swimming and can grow up to 30cms.

It was indeed a special and memorable experience for the Silversonic divers who came up close and personal to this marine life wonder.

Welcoming Madame Liu Yandong and the Year of the Snake

China State Councillor Madame Liu Yandong

In the lead up to the excitement of the Chinese New Year celebrations to welcome the Year of the Snake, Great Adventures was honoured to showcase Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef to the China State Councillor Madame Liu Yandong.

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Viewing sea turtles, clams, corals and colourful fish from the glass bottom boat coral, the Chinese dignitary then enjoyed a walk along the beach and the calm waters of this beautiful coral cay island.

Madame Liu Yandong was accompanied by Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker and Environment Manager and Marine Biologist Doug Baird. Tony Baker said, "With direct flights from China to Cairns we are seeing more Chinese travellers arriving to visit the natural wonders of our region. It was wonderful that Madame Liu Yandong had the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef which is a highlight for our visitors to Cairns."

Pro Dive Cairns introduces Nitrox Dive Course

Pro Dive Nitrox

With Nitrox or Enriched Air now available aboard our Scubapro liveaboard vessels, Pro Dive Cairns has introduced a new course specifically for divers wishing to attain the necessary qualifications to dive with this gas, the PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox) Course.

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With a greater percentage of Oxygen than Nitrogen than normal air, this means safer diving and potentially longer bottom times due to reduced nitrogen absorption which is especially attractive for older divers as well the experienced underwater adventurers including photographers and videographers.

This course is run in conjunction with our 3 Day 2 Night dive trip and consists of theory, two training dives and includes all post certification dives on Nitrox. Courses commence every day except Tuesday. For more information please contact the Pro Dive Cairns team at [email protected]

Sightseeing Matilda the turtle waltzes back to Green Island

Matilda the Turtle Release

Complete with satellite tracker, Matilda, a Hawksbill sea turtle has become a frequent traveller on Great Adventures Cruises to Green Island! And in the process she's given researchers a window into the lives of turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

Matilda was released by the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and Great Adventures for the second time into her home waters of Green Island in January.

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She was originally released in May 2010 after being in rehabilitation for 19 months with floaters disease. At the time, she became the first turtle on the Far North East coast of Australia to have a satellite tracking device attached to her back which has given a fascinating insight into turtles in the wild.

Jennie Gilbert, turtle researcher from CRTC and James Cook University said, “Matilda has been having a wonderful time and has travelled 4,707 kms sightseeing the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef in the 2 years and 8 months since we first started tracking her. She stays around Green Island, visits other reefs and then comes back to Green Island. She has been back with us for 3 months as we thought she was looking a bit skinny.”

“The tracking device has enabled us to see how turtles live in the region and to see how and where they travel once released back into the wild.”

Quicksilver Group Managing Director, Tony Baker said “Green Island is a natural habitat for turtles and Great Adventures is pleased to assist with the wonderful work by CTRC, a not for profit organization. Their work is vital for assisting sick and injured turtles back into the wild and making sure these turtles find a way home. It’s amazing from the research of her tracker she swims on average over 5 kms every day. We hope Matilda enjoys getting back to her life around Green Island.”

The wider community can track Matilda and become part of her journey by accessing www.seaturtle.org

Assisting Matilda's release: Sue O'Donnell, General Manager of Green Island Resort and Jennie Gilbert.

Quicksilver's Scholarship Program looks to the future

Quicksilver Scholarship

With five new children commencing the Quicksilver Connections Scholarship Program, the program dedicated to assisting employees with the cost of their children’s university education is going from strength to strength as it enters its third year.

 “As Australia’s leading Great Barrier Reef cruise operator and one of the region’s largest private employers I consider our staff to be our greatest asset, said Mr Shin Watari, Chairman and Owner of Quicksilver Connections.

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“I realised just what a commitment it was to send children to University and wanted to do something to help. This year, five new students join the current 11 students from previous years. We are looking to help their children achieve their dreams and hopefully find a career where they can offer future companies the same passion and commitment their parents have given to our Company.”

It is impressive their parents have worked for our Company for a combined service of over 160 years and are employed in diverse jobs from skipper, stores and coach captains, with some of the children not even born when their parent started working for Quicksilver and Great Adventures.  Three of the parents now represent 7 children in the scholarship program.

Each student is initially presented with $1,000. If they achieve a credit average over a semester then they will receive an additional $1,000. Additional bonuses are also paid if the students receive higher grades for individual subjects.

Edwina Kramer, wife of a 25 year Quicksilver Skipper said “As parents of three successful scholarship recipients, I can say that Shin Watari’s vision to offer the Quicksilver scholarship program has definitely made a difference and created an excellent incentive and opportunities for our children. It really helps to give a kick-start for all the costs involved such as books and accommodation fees. The distinction money is an especially brilliant way to give incentive to achieve highly and they have benefited greatly from this so far and we are truly grateful. It is also a wonderful acknowledgement of my husband’s commitment to Quicksilver”.

Tony Baker, Managing Director, Quicksilver Group said, “This has been a wonderful initiative by Shin Watari, who believes that providing children with the opportunity of higher education is very important. Today, education can open up many opportunities and the young adults who are part of our program are studying diverse degrees from Medicine and Nursing, Education, Science and Media.

Pictured Left to Right: Emily Kramer, Max Selwyn, Britta Winton and Tony Baker the Managing Director of Quicksilver Group.

Green Island Resort, spoilt for choice

Green Island Resort

With a wonderful array of complimentary activities included at Green Island Resort, guests will be spoilt for choice on ways to experience a wonderful Great Barrier Reef holiday.

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Each day, the resident Activities Officer has a host of activities just waiting to be enjoyed. At 3pm, join a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk for an interesting insight to the island’s history, flora and fauna – ideal for the nature buffs! From 5pm, the fish feeding presentation from the jetty is a real treat to see.  Then it’s a short stroll to sunset beach for complementary sunset drinks.  From 8pm there’s stargazing sessions under the southern sky (weather dependent) followed by a guided night nature walk to see some of the nightlife on the reef and island. It’s also an ideal for walking off a delicious dinner!

During the day, enjoy a glass bottom boat coral viewing tour, snorkelling and most non-motorised beach activities such as kayaking, beach volleyball and windsurfing – all free inclusions for Green Island Resort house guests.

Best Job in the World Campaign Launch

Best Job Inthe World

The Tourism Australia's Global Youth campaign for the Best job in the World was supported by the Quicksilver Group with a number of TV crews and media travelling on Great Adventures to Green Island and the Outer Reef to experience the Queensland dream job of Park Ranger.

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Travelling with Quicksilver's Marine Biologist, Dougie Baird they learnt how to take water samples, turtle watching, snorkelling and kayaking on the Great Barrier Reef. The Quicksilver Group employ a number of Working Holiday Visa crew and we also assisted with interviews with crew from Taiwan and Korea.

Image: Working Holiday Visa crew, Q, from Green Island Resort

Video: See the Sunrise TV interview with Ben Southhall and Dougie Baird here.

Wavedancer Crew embrace the Aussie Day Tradition

Wavedancer Crew Celebrate Australia Day

The crew of Wavedancer, pictured here, got into the spirit of Australia Day by swapping their regular sarongs and uniforms for an Aussie flag shirt!

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Michael Healy, Group Director Sales and Marketing said "It's an opportunity for the crew to highlight this significant national day and for our passengers to feel a part of the celebration - especially our international guests. Lamingtons of course featured on the menu - compulsory eating on Australia Day."

Underwater Photography Tips

Underwater Photography Tips

For keen underwater photographers, the Great Barrier Reef is a visual feast amid corals and the greatest diversity of marine life anywhere in the world. Thanks to the team at Indepth Video and Photography, our onboard photographers, here's some great tips to help you get the most out of your underwater photography.

  • For best colour, stay shallow and keep the sun behind you.
  • For more colour, use a camera with a flash, maximum range is usually 1m (3ft).
  • If you have a waterproof digital camera, select the underwater mode for best results.
  • Protect the reef; be careful not to damage corals when taking photos underwater
Digital cameras are also available for hire onboard our vessels.


Seen On The Reef

While all of our guests are VIPs, we've had the privilege to host a few well known names aboard our cruises recently.

  • It was a delight to welcome Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter and his family to experience the Great Barrier Reef with the Quickie crew at our Agincourt Reef platform.

    Pictured with Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director at a Charity Tennis Match.

  • The Wavedancer crew were again delighted to welcome aboard UK media personality Phil Spencer and his family for a day out at beautiful Low Isles.

    Phil Spencer UK TV Presenter after a wonderful day sailing on Wavedancer to Low Isles said "We came to find Nemo - and we did!. A fantastic day. Exceeded expectations and has given all the family some terrific memories. Many many thanks to all your great staff."

  • With the footy season heading our way, it was our pleasure to have some of the St George-Illawarra Dragons rugby team visit Green Island recently with Great Adventures. A great group of blokes they may be, but we're still hoping the North Queensland Cowboys win the NRL premiership in 2013.


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Quicksilver Reef Swim

Quicksilver Reef Swim

For the third year, we're delighted to be supporting the Cairns Adventure Festival incorporating Ironman Cairns with the Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island. To be held on Thursday 6 June, this unique ocean swim offers competitors a chance to swim in the sparkling waters off Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef in a 1.5km or 3km swim. Swimming over the reef brings the delights of colourful reef fish, turtles and a variety of corals as swimmers navigate one of the most amazing reef swims in the world.

Ukuleles on Green Island

Cairns Ukulele Festival Logo

We're pleased to be supporting the Cairns Ukulele Festival again for the fourth year since this unique event began. This year, enthusiastic uke fans will be heading back to Green Island with Great Adventures where they will be treated to performances by two international ukulele artists on Thursday 4 July 2013.
More information at cairnsukulelefestival.net


BIO BITS - Rays of the Great Barrier Reef

Thanks to Darren for posting this great photo of a Manta Ray encountered on his Silverswift dive adventure.

Did you know rays evolved from sharks? Along the length of the Great Barrier Reef, there are over 35 species of marine rays. Rays are generally broad, flat fishes that have evolved from sharks, and as such, have a cartilaginous skeleton. Like sharks, they have open gill slits, spiracles (holes for inhaling water) and all exhibit internal fertilization. The majority of species have evolved a bottom dwelling life, using their highly modified crushing jaws to feed on molluscs.

The most commonly seen ray is the blue spotted lagoon ray, which reaches a disc length of 50cm. It is usually seen half buried in the sand with only the eyes protruding. The thorny ray is so named due to the extremely rough dorsal surface. It also has an unusually short tail with no stinging spines.

The most well known part of a sting ray is the tail. This structure is usually no more than a flimsy filament, although in some species it has evolved to be a more robust tool. Many species (but not all) have a dangerous and poisonous barb, which is only used in self defence. Like all creatures on the reef; observe and enjoy!

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We'd like to introduce you to...

Introducing Green Island Resort's Activities Officer, Alyssa Giffin

Having studied marine biology, Green Island is the perfect place to live and work. I really enjoy being able to share the beauty of the reef and all of its inhabitants with our house guests and the endless amount of snorkelling in my spare time is a plus too!

I am now introducing the Eye on the Reef program run through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as an additional activity available to our house guests which I am very excited about. Guests will be able to enhance their reef experience by learning more about climate change, reef health indicators and iconic species; all of which are very important to ensure our reef is still here for everyone to enjoy in the future!


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Postcard.... to Quicksilver

We truly had great time with Quicksilver! The weather was perfect, staff were excellent and they helped my wife go snorkeling with me. The food was better than many cruise lines too. Please convey my thanks and regards for a job well done.

Many thanks


  • From 1 April 2013, Arumi Day Spa at Green Island Resort will be closed until further notice.
  • Effective 1 April 2013, free use of lycra suits year-round are now included with Silversonic and Silverswift's dive and snorkel cruises.
  • An added touch for music lovers with Ipod docks now in Green Island Resort's Reef Suites.
  • Great Adventures' Green Island Express is now back at work and looking good as she traverses the Coral Sea between Cairns and Green Island after an extensive refit.
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