Quickies

Issue# 132, 2013

Welcome to our Winter issue of Quickies,

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

Wow! It certainly has been an exciting time for the Quicksilver Group!

Highlighting major new investment in the Cairns and Port Douglas tourism industry, we’re pleased to announce a new vessel will soon be joining Great Adventures operation. The yet to be named 24 metre high speed catamaran will be whisking our guests from Cairns to Green Island in comfort and style from July. In other exciting news, the Quicksilver Group has also entered an agreement to purchase the highly regarded Ocean Spirit Cruises.

From Pro Dive Cairns’ Australian first with 130,000 PADI Dive Certifications to the spectacle of our Quicksilver Reef Swim, we hope you enjoy catching up on our latest news showcasing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Enjoy a break with our latest Quickies!
With warm tropical wishes from the Quicksilver Group Crew.

WHAT'S NEW

Ocean Spirit Cruises to join Quicksilver Group

The Quicksilver Group has entered into an agreement with Australian Cruise Group for the purchase of the highly regarded Ocean Spirit Cruises based in Cairns. Completion of the sale is expected to occur in late July 2013, subject to customary conditions, including finalising due diligence and regulatory approvals.

The proposed sale includes the 32 metre sailing catamaran Ocean Spirit that operates daily cruises to Michaelmas Cay.

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“The purchase of Ocean Spirit Cruises is an exciting opportunity for the Quicksilver Group. Ocean Spirit is a strong brand that will provide great synergies with our Great Adventures operation in Cairns,” said Shin Watari, Chairman of the Quicksilver Group.

I see the acquisition of Ocean Spirit and the Michaelmas Cay permits as a wonderful opportunity to reinforce Quicksilver’s and my commitment to highlighting the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and to the long term future of the Cairns and Port Douglas tourism industry”

Executive Chairman of Australian Cruise Group Sudhir Warrier said, "Over the last 18 months since acquisition, we have realised there were limited synergies between our cruise business in Cairns and on Sydney Harbour. Hence, the sale of Ocean Spirit Cruises will allow us to concentrate our efforts on expanding our Sydney Harbour cruise operations and other tourism investments"

"I have no doubt Ocean Spirit Cruises – one of the most desired cruise experiences in Cairns - will continue to prosper under Quicksilver's ownership" continued Sudhir Warrier.

This transaction will in no way affect a continued smooth operations and transition for all of our agents and future bookings. Every effort will be made by both Quicksilver and Australian Cruise Group sales teams to facilitate a smooth transition of all forward bookings on Ocean Spirit Cruises at the conclusion of the sale.

New 24 metre cat to join Great Adventures operation.

We're excited to announce the purchase of a new vessel for our Great Adventures fleet. The yet to be named 24 metre high speed catamaran was built by Sabre Cat and is expected to be in operation in mid July whisking our guests across the Coral Sea to beautiful Green Island in comfort and style.

The stylish cat features comfortable airconditioned cabins over two decks and has a capacity for 200 passengers including crew.

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Commenting on Great Adventures new vessel, Tony Baker Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group said, "This new vessel will be servicing our Green Island operation and with three vessels now in the Great Adventures fleet, this will offer more flexibility across our entire Cairns operation. It will also enable us to have a vessel available for charter depending on the group size."

Quicksilver Group Chairman Shin Watari is passionate about this Region, an avid scuba diver and is committed to making the Great Barrier Reef accessible to everyone said, "This past month has been very exciting for the Company and highlights our significant and ongoing commitment and investment to the Cairns and Port Douglas tourism industry. Over the past 18 months we have seen an increase in business and we are confident that the investment in our Great Barrier Reef vessel fleet will enable us to continue to lead in showcasing the diversity and wonders of the Great Barrier Reef across a range of reef products."

Thomas makes an Australian First for Pro Dive Cairns - 130,000th Certified Diver!

In an Australian first and possibly world first, Pro Dive Cairns achieved the unique status of 130,000 PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) certifications on the 4th June 2013. It was also a very special day for Thomas Morey from Oxford in the UK who had the honour of being Pro Dive Carins' lucky 130,000th certified diver.

Thomas has been travelling Australia for three months and obtaining his dive certificate was one of the last highlights before leaving. Having dreamed of being as marine biologist as a kid, Thomas said, "Learning to dive on the Great Barrier Reef was awesome from every aspect and this milestone was a lovely surprise and a great way to end my time in Australia".

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Commenting on the company's milestones, Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker said, "We are extremely proud of our achievements and the reputation Pro Dive Cairns has built over the years. The fact that so many people have chosen Pro Dive Cairns to teach them to dive is very satisfying and reflects our philosophy and commitment to providing the best possible dive education and trips over many years."

Paul Lim, General Manager Pro Dive Cairns said, "Our longevity in business over the past 30 years, is an outstanding testament to the dedication and professionalism of all our staff, as well the quality and reputation of our product."

PADI Australia, Henrick Nimb, VP Marketing, Education and Business Development remarked, "Our entire team at PADI would like to congratulate the team at Pro Dive Cairns on reaching the remarkable milestone of 130,000 PADI students. Our two companies have shared a strong and successful business partnership over 30 years and we look forward to many more."

Pictured: Danny Dwyer, PADI; Thomas Morey; Paul Lim General Manager Pro Dive Cairns

New Massage Salon and Free Wi-Fi for Green Island Resort.

We're pleased to announce some wonderful new services and enhancements for guests staying at beautiful Green Island Resort.

A sanctuary for the ultimate in relaxation, Oiled Massage Salon is now providing a delightful menu of massage options including Shiatsu and Reflexology to help guests unwind and rejuvenate during their tropical island retreat. Using only pure Australian golden jojoba oil, blended with your choice of beautiful aromatic oils, Oiled Massage Salon is open till late by appointment and sure to be a must do for those seeking a pampering and rejuvenating experience.

As another added bonus to the raft of complimentary activities and facilities available to house guests, we're pleased to announce Free Wi-Fi is now available. Guests can access the free service from the Coral Cay Guest Lounge and nearby private resort pool.

Free Wi-fi for Silverswift and Silversonic.

Free Wi-fi access for guests aboard our dive and snorkel adventure vessels, Silverswift and Silversonic is being introduced. With the latest 3G technology provided by Global Gossip, Cairns-based Silverswift guests are now able to access the service while up to 50km offshore as we visit spectacular reef sites at Flynn, Milln, Thetford or Pellowe Reefs. Port Douglas based Silversonic will soon be providing the service as she takes guests to experience the stunning Agincourt reef system.

Swim with Minkes on Silversonic – Queensland's Top Secret

Swimming with Minke Whales has been voted Queensland's top secret and Australia's third best kept secret. Australian Traveller Magazine announced the 100 best Travel Secrets in Australia. The top secret in Queensland was swimming with Minke Whales and our Port Douglas based Silversonic has one of only a few permits that allow snorkellers to swim with these curious and gentle whales.

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Russell Hore, Quicksilver Marine Biologist said "Interactions have become more frequent in the past few years and is one of those once in a life time experiences. Swimmers must always hold onto a rope to allow the Minke Whale to approach voluntarily. About 300 people each season have the privilege and Silversonic is at the forefront of enabling snorkellers and swimmers this unique encounter.

We also work closely with James Cook University to ensure the tourism industry and science work together and our research is focused on why dwarf minke whales conduct these interactions."

The top secret destinations were determined by an elite panel of travel experts from Australia with over a 1,000 entries.

The Dwarf Minke whale is known only from the Southern Hemisphere. It has a white shoulder and flipper base, with a dark grey tip on the flipper. Dwarf Minke whales are most commonly seen on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef between the months of March and October, with the best viewing time being the June to July period. The Minke is naturally inquisitive, and often comes close to boats and swimmers.

The bottom line is – don't swim to the whale, let the whale swim to you!

Meet Gavin, the Photo-bombing Parrotfish!

While visitors to Great Adventures' outer reef platform are familiar with our loveable and photogenic "Wally" the Maori Wrasse, Gavin the photo-bombing has been busy flashing his pearly whites in front of the cameras at Green Island.

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With his toothy smile, Gavin has become a bit of a celebrity with guests taking part in the Seawalker helmet dive experience, photo-bombing their underwater holiday snaps in Green Island's picturesque lagoon.

General Manager of Seawalker Green Island, Karl Kuhle said, "Gavin's been around for a couple of years now and he does seem to actually swim up for his photo, grinning his lovely little head off at all our guests."

Gavin is a Bluebarred and oddly enough, are closely related to Wrasse which may explain their penchant for the camera.

Who do you think is more photogenic? Wally with his distinctive humphead, unique markings and friendly puppy-dog like demeanour, or the camera loving, extroverted and grinning Gavin?! Click here to Vote for your favorite!

Regardless, you can be photo-bombed by the best of them with Wally or Gavin when you travel to the Outer Reef or Green Island with Great Adventures!

Reef Live Broadcasts to the World

To celebrate World Oceans Day on Tuesday 7 June, we were delighted to take part in Reef Live, a 12 hour YouTube Live event that showcased the Great Barrier Reef to the world like never before.

Hosted by internationally-acclaimed marine biologist and underwater cinematographer Richard Fitzpatrick, our very own Quicksilver guru and marine biologist Doug Baird joined the panel of experts to host this event while Pro Dive Cairns and Green Island also featured segments in the broadcast.

If you missed this amazing broadcast facilitated by Tourism Events Queensland, you can see some of the "Hangouts" on TEQ's YouTube channel www.YouTube.com/Queensland,

At 95 years young, Bob makes his first to visit the reef!

Through his eyes, Bob Horman's seen most of the wonders of the world in his 95 years, but he had yet to see the one at his doorstep. After having surgery for cataracts earlier this year, the sprightly retiree from Atherton had a yen to see The Great Barrier Reef and we were delighted to assist with a visit to Quicksilver's activity platform at Agincourt Reef with a personal tour guide from elder visiting service, Social Visitor.

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Social Visitor founder Mia Lacy explained, "I first met Bob when we did a surgery assist for him during his cataract operations here in Cairns. Bob's an avid traveller and we got on very well. When he said he'd like to see the reef with his newly enhanced eyesight, we organised an escorted trip for him to Agincourt. We chose this because of the semi-submersibles and the underwater observatory there as it's easy to see the reef in all its majesty without getting wet."

Bob Horman said, "We did it in style – we even went on a day which looked just like the brochure Mia had sent me. Even as a nature lover, I really had no concept of the enormity of the underwater reef environment. To look out of the semi-submersible and see a magnificent gorge beneath the water was just phenomenal. It's like something you'd expect to see in a forest, where I'm used to walking, and yet it's under the sea.

"I'd always wanted to see The Great Barrier Reef one day and it lived up to all my expectations. The friendliness of the staff and the smoothness of the operation was astounding to me. The movement of all the people between the phases of activity during the day – from the snorkelling to the dining to semi-submersibles – it was a seamless perambulation, I thought."

Quicksilver Reef Swim

As part of the Cairns Airport Ironman Event, it was a magical day on Green Island as 190 swimmers took to the water to compete in the 3rd annual USM Quicksilver Green Island Reef Swim. With entrants from Cairns, Australia and around the world, competitors were challenged with 20 knot winds in the 1.5km and 3km distances in this unique Great Barrier Reef event.

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In the Men's 3km distance, Cairns local, 15 year old Max Fifield took out first place for the second year running in 37.33 while the 1.5km distance, in 22.49 was won by Nathen Pullen. Max was excited to beat 3rd place Adriel Young one of the boys from Bondi Rescue. Young said of the swim that it was like swimming in an aquarium and rated it the best Ocean Swim he had completed.

The Women also swam strongly and Allison Hass from Brazil won the 3km swim in 41.55 and setting a personnel best and winner of the 1.5km was another Cairns local Chloe Alcorn in 21.49.

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."

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.

  • Some of the cast from Channel 10's Bondi Rescue (that other famous Australian Beach!), recently visited Green Island's beach to take part in our Quicksilver Reef Swim in the lead up to the Cairns Ironman Challenge. Pictured here after the swim are Andrew "Reidy" Reid, Adriel "Bacon" Young and "Bisho".


  • After cooking up a storm at Port Douglas Carnivale, celebrity chef Ben O’Donohue and his family had an enjoyable day at Quicksilver’s activity platform to discover Agincourt Reef.

 

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EVENTS

Ahoy there, it's Great Adventure Green Island Family Fun Day

Great Adventures annual community event, the Green Island Family Fun Day is set for Sunday 23 June. Cairns locals are invited to enjoy discounted fares and a day of tropical island fun, including a Pirate's Treasure Hunt through the island! The day's program also features an entertaining volleyball challenge with local businesses raising funds for the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and animal welfare group YAPS.

To join in the Family Day fun, contact Great Adventures on
4044 9944 for bookings or more information.




Great Adventures Ukulele Island Gig, Thursday 4 July 2013

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 for Great Adventures Ukulele Island Gig where they will be treated to performances by two international ukulele artists. For more information visit www.cairnsukulelefestival.net




Green Island Nationals Windsurfing Competition, 24-28 June 2013

The inaugural event promises to offer some spectacular sights as competitors put their freestyle skills and speed to the test. If you're keen to catch some of the action, Great Adventures 7 Day Green Island Beach Pass is just the ticket at $170 for 7 days worth of transfers to the island. Visit www.greenislandnats.info for more info or contact Great Adventures for your Beach Pass on 4044 9944.



BIO BITS

Our photo-bombing friend Gavin is a Bluebarred and can grow up to 1 metre in length and weigh up to 6.5kg. But did you know there are over 30 species of on the Great Barrier Reef and you are usually guaranteed to see these magnificently coloured creatures swimming over the corals.

They all share a few common traits, the most obvious being their teeth. evolved from the carnivorous wrasse family, but through the course of time, their teeth have moved forward on the jawbone and reduced in size. Eventually, the teeth fused together creating a very useful tool for scratching algae off the surface of the coral.

When sleep at night, they often secrete a mucus "sleeping bag" around themselves for protection from predators. The bags also have antibiotic properties that are beneficial for the fish.


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THE ZOO

We'd like to introduce you to...


Meet one of our Great Adventures' Skippers (and first female skipper!) Amanda Mathies.

Amanda recently highlighted her career in the Cairns Post newspaper to encourage other young people to consider opportunities in the marine industry for their futures. Thanks to the Cairns Post for sharing this article and look our for Amanda's next role on the high seas!

What does a boat captain's role entail:
Ensuring that safety standards are being met by all crew at all times. Ensuring all crew provide a high level of customer service at all times. Monitoring and taking any measures necessary to ensure the high standard of general maintenance, presentation and cleanliness of the vessel. Conducting myself and my vessel in a professional manner at all times.

» Read More

How did you get into the industry:
I was a dive instructor and thought that boats were pretty interesting and that I would like to know more. My captain at the time taught me everything, from driving a boat to maintaining them both.

What do you like about your job:
The personal interaction you can have with passengers and of course, inviting them into the wheelhouse for a personalised tour.

What are its challenges:
The many different weather conditions and ensuring that the passengers get the smoothest ride possible. When mechanical things go wrong at the worst possible time (in rough weather, usually) and, of course when your boat springs a leak!

What are the personal qualities best suited to the position:
To be professional, well groomed and have good communication skills. To stay calm in an emergency, have common sense and love and respect the ocean.

What are the opportunities for advancement:
The opportunities at the Quicksilver Group are great. I started as a deckhand with Great Adventures in April 2011 and then because of the great tutelage of the senior captains within the company, I advanced quite quickly to captain. I am now in the process of gaining my next captain's ticket and the company and the senior captains have supported me throughout the whole process.

What tips do you have for those interested in your vocation:
Be sure to do a little work experience and ask lots of questions and show interest in learning new skills. I am always learning new skills, from being a captain to doing rope work.

What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on the job:
When my engineer told 200 people on the boat one day that is was my birthday. It wasn't really, but that didn't stop all 200 of them deciding to come and wish me a happy birthday as they disembarked.

What's the most rewarding moment of your career to date:
When my boss came down to me and asked me to be trained as captain on the Great Adventures Boats, as it was totally unexpected.

What job will you do in your next life:
Pirate

 

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POSTCARDS

Wave Dancin’ to Low Isles!

Everything about this trip was VERY good. From the spacious Wavedancer to the polite and competent crew. … It really is “Gilligan’s Island” for those of a certain age! It is idyllic, the sort of island a child draws and which does not really exist… Oh yes it does… it is here and the marine life is just waiting for you. Our lunch was excellent, the equipment first class and the time allowed on the island all too short I guess, but perfect really. We will be back with Wavedancer!

From a happy Cruise Shipper!

QUICKBITS


  • Green Island Resort a Top 10 in Japan: Great Adventures Green Island and Green Island Resort were chosen by Japan viewers of BS TV Asahi as one of the top 10 places to visit in the TV program titled "Australia's Best 10 by People's Choice".
    » Read more here
  • With the Corroboree event held in Cairns recently, it was our pleasure to meet with many agents and also showcase some of our wonderful reef experiences with a day aboard Quicksilver's Outer Barrier Reef Cruise to Agincourt Reef and an afternoon of relaxing and snorkelling on Green Island.
  • Nitrox or Enriched Air is now available aboard our Scubapro liveaboard vessels and 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. For more information please contact the Pro Dive Cairns team at [email protected]
  • Looking Good! After completing recent annual refits, part of the Quicksilver Group's rigororous ongoing program to ensure our vessels are in tip top shape, Reef King and Silversonic are now back at work and looking good!
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