Issue# 141, 2014

Welcome to our Autumn issue of Quickies,

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

What a year 2014 is shaping up to be! We've galloped off into the "Year of The Horse", started a comprehensive vessel refurbishment program for our stylish wavepiercer Quicksilver V and luxury sailing cat Ocean Spirit, been acknowledged again amongst the very best tourism companies in Australia and gearing up to welcome ATE to our wonderful part of the world.

We're also celebrating some very special milestones. Quicksilver is celebrating 35 years of pioneering Great Barrier Reef tourism to Low Isles and the Outer Reef while Great Adventures' pioneering history celebrates 90 years of cruising to Green Island!

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.


Quicksilver Group Awarded Amongst Australia's Best

The Quicksilver Group was recognised at the prestigious Australian Tourism Awards on Friday 7 February in Sydney with being awarded Silver in the Major Tour and Transport Operator category, following being awarded Queensland's Major Tour and Transport Operator in 2013.

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Tony Baker, Managing Director said, "Receiving this award at the Australian Tourism Awards is fantastic recognition for all our staff and crew that work so hard to make sure we provide the best experiences across our range of Great Barrier Reef touring options every day for our visitors. We are extremely proud to be acknowledged for contribution to tourism marketing, continued commitment to quality customer service and environmentally sustainable practices."

The Australian Tourism Awards were first established by the Federal Government in 1985 to recognise the exceptional contribution of tourism businesses, service providers and individuals to the multi-billion dollar Australian tourism industry.

Proudly, Quicksilver has been awarded with 11 Australian Tourism Awards including being inducted into the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, in addition to 17 prestigious Queensland Tourism Awards including being inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame twice.

The Australian Tourism Awards black tie event was attended by 900 tourism representatives from across Australia on Friday 7 February 2014 at Luna Park, Sydney.

Million dollar vessel refurbishments underway

With a million dollar refurbishment program underway for Quicksilver V and Ocean Spirit, the Quicksilver Group is continuing to invest in the future of tourism and our assets to ensure our visitors experience the Reef with the best of facilities that are synonymous with our five star operations.

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At 39 metres in length, wavepiercer Quicksilver V is now high and dry for 8 weeks undergoing a major internal refit in addition to her annual mechanical service. The refit includes a total new servery and bar area, internal stairway, new seat coverings and even the toilets are getting a makeover as the vessel is modernised with a contemporary colour scheme and furnishings.

Meanwhile, Ocean Spirit our 32 metre sailing catamaran based in Cairns, has just completed a second stage 3 week refit which included a redesign and stylish makeover to the servery and bar area to enhance the main cabin. This follows on from a 3 week refit in December that saw the top deck seating, fittings and flooring replaced. Having only purchased Ocean Spirit 6 months ago, over $200,000 had already been invested into her rebirth as a premier sailing vessel. This has included new sails and a new state-of-the-art environmentally friendly external wrap finish.

See a time lapse of the main cabin bar and servery refit here... Video Link Here

Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said, "While all our vessels are refitted each year with ongoing maintenance, this year we will see major work carried out on our vessel fleet and platforms. 2014 started with two of our vessels at the shipyards for an extended period while we make sure our investment in our fleet highlights our commitment to the tourism industry.

A little later in the year we will also bring two of our Outer Reef activity platforms from Moore Reef and Agincourt Reef back to Cairns for major refurbishment works. Although the past few years have been tough for the industry, we recognize the need to reinvest and keep our products to the standard of a five star reef operator."

Group Engineering Manager Peter Price said "The next few weeks are massive for the Company. We are very lucky to have a fantastic team of tradespeople on staff and a terrific group of contractors who work very closely with us to ensure the maintenance and presentation of our fleet is at the highest standard. For the interior design concepts we worked closely with local company, Limecut Design, who specializes in marine interior design. It is important that we use local companies where possible who understand our environment and can work alongside our engineering, workshop crew and staff implementing these changes.

With the refurbishment and new equipment it will ensure our passengers have the newest and best facilities available to enjoy their time at the reef."

A time to reminisce and celebrate!

It was 35 years ago back in 1979 that Quicksilver began with a single vessel taking guests to explore picturesque Low Isles. This was the first ever commercial trip to these idyllic coral cays, and visitors coming to the small fishing village of Port Douglas, just north of nearby Cairns, were quick to embrace the concept.

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Just a few years later in 1983, Quicksilver pioneered the very first true outer reef platform experience travelling to the ribbon reefs on the edge of the Continental Shelf and also introduced the innovative wavepiercer catamaran which is now synonymous with Quicksilver.

Today, the Quicksilver Group has become a highly sophisticated company with a fleet of the most advanced Australian made vessels and the widest range of ways for visitors to experience the majesty and living wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

Across both our Cairns and Port Douglas operations, our suite of tourism experiences encompasses Quicksilver's landmark reef cruises to Agincourt Reef, Wavedancer's sailing cruises to Low Isles, Great Adventures' Outer Reef and Green Island Cruises, The Silver Series (Silverswift and Silversonic) dive and snorkel adventures, Ocean Spirit's sailing cruises to Michaelmas Cay, Pro Dive Cairns dive courses and liveaboard trips, and the luxury eco experience of Green Island Resort.

Our history is marked with many milestones and memorable moments - from showcasing the Reef to a galaxy of celebrities including Presidents, world famous actors and sports stars to the world first events of taking the Olympic Torch and Melbourne Cup underwater!

Here's a quick look at some milestones and moments...

Pro Dive Cairns Launches Conservation Program

Two young divers from Denmark and Australia have kicked off a new Marine Conservation Program initiative led by Pro Dive Cairns in cooperation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and No Limit Adventures.

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Sally Turner from Melbourne and Asmu Hansen from Denmark had the honour of being the program's first participants. Based on GBRMPA's established Rapid Monitoring Program, the new consumer participation Marine Conservation Program will assist GBRMPA's work with identifying early warning signs of environmental issues and monitoring the overall health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Pro Dive Cairns General Manager, Paul Lim said, "By offering this program, we are not only satisfying the growing interest in conservation based experiences, but enabling participants to contribute in an enjoyable and meaningful way to a recognised program, as well as increasing diving experience and skills. Ultimately we want our participants to come away with a greater depth of knowledge and understanding of the Great Barrier Reef and of the work being conducted to ensure the reef's sustainability for years to come."

For Sally and Asmu, the course was a meaningful way to reinforce marine biology studies and the desire to contribute to conservation.

Under the guidance of Pro Dive Cairns' trained course guide, Lucy Mustoe, both Sally and Asmu completed a total of eight research dives of the set 11 certified dives during their 3 Day 2 Night Liveaboard Dive trip. On each dive participants were able to observe iconic reef species and using survey charts, record and monitor the overall health of the reef. A portion of the time was spent counting specific marine species as well as looking for an area that seemed a typical representation for that particular site. Once selected, this area was then mapped and closely inspected to record the general condition and health of the coral and seabed. After each dive, these findings were discussed and recorded on forms which were later submitted to the reef park managers at GBRMPA.

The Marine Conservation Program also includes several information workshops with the use of information guidebooks, presentations throughout the trip as well as referring to several modules on how to recognise fish and coral health. Upon the completion of the program each participant was presented with a certificate.

For more information on the Marine Conservation Program, contact Pro Dive Cairns at mailto:[email protected]

The Minkes are on the way!

Fancy coming face to face with a 5 tonne mesmerising animal in the aquatic wilderness? That's an adventure waiting for some lucky passengers to experience as we enter the minke whale season!

Silversonic, our Port Douglas based dive and snorkel vessel, has one of the few permits available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allows our guests to swim with dwarf minke whales if encountered - a truly unforgettable experience!

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Voted last year by Australian Traveller magazine as Queensland's Top Travel Secret, 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."

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.

Only known from the Southern Hemisphere, this whale is identified by about 50-70 throat grooves. They have a characteristic white band on each flipper, contrasting with its very dark grey top color. They have two blowholes, like all baleen whales. The largest dwarf minke whale that was accurately measured was 7.8 m long with adults weighing 5-6 tonnes.

Wavedancer - Embracing the Aussie Day Tradition

In what has become a Quickie tradition, the crew of Wavedancer celebrated Australia Day by exchanging their regular uniforms for a special "Aussie Day" look for their sailing day to Low Isles.

With the Australian flag flying proudly from the mast, there were also of course some tasty "Aussie delights" for our guests to sample, including delicious lamington cakes - compulsory eating on Australia Day!

Michael Healy, Group Director Sales and Marketing said, "This was a great opportunity for the crew to highlight this significant day and for our passengers, both Aussie and International, to feel a part of the day while enjoying our Australian wonder - The Great Barrier Reef."

Love our Sea Turtles!

With six of the world's seven species of sea turtles found on the Great Barrier Reef, we're always pleased to support the fantastic work of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, a volunteer organisation that cares for sick and injured turtles, as well as research into these graceful sea creatures.

Through assisting with the release of rehabilitated turtles back into the wild and waters of the Great Barrier Reef, and annual fundraising through our Great Adventures Green Island Beach Volleyball challenge, another new initiative has been instigated with special thanks to Nickie, one of our super crew members and part time CTRC volunteer. Through her enthusiasm, a great new fundraising initiative has commenced with CTRC donation boxes placed aboard our Cairns based vessels allowing visitors to also contribute to the future welfare of sea turtles of the Great Barrier Reef.

Quicksilver's Scholarships - investing in our staff and children's futures

Three new students have joined the Quicksilver Connections Scholarship Program in 2014, dedicated to assisting employees with the cost of their children's university education.

Now in its fourth year since inception, nine other students are currently in the program and a wonderful achievement in the past year has seen two students graduate, Sarah Kramer with a double degree in Nursing and Paramedics and Tahnee Baker with a Biomedical Science Degree.

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New students Mitchell Cave, Benjamin Coxon and Sho Asai and will be undertaking studies as varied as music, physiotherapy and a Bachelor of Science.

Quicksilver Connections Scholarship Program began as an initiative of Mr Shin Watari, Chairman and owner of Quicksilver Connections with his vision to assist employees with the commitment and cost of University education for their children.

"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. We want 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," said Mr Watari.

Each student initially receives $1,000 on commencing their studies. If they achieve a credit average over a semester then they will receive an additional $1,000 with bonuses also paid if the students receive higher grades for individual subjects.

It is impressive the 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.

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 will be studying diverse degrees from Medicine and Nursing, Education, Science and Media.

Green Island Resort, spoilt for choice

Showcasing Green Island and beautiful Green Island Resort, we've recently completed some stunning new photography with talented Cairns based photographer Brad Newton. You can check out a gallery of some of the wonderful new images here.

Proposal on the Reef - Diamonds and Best Fishes

With a secret plan, a diamond ring and the help of the Quicksilver crew, it was a very special way to start the year for two of our guests, and we couldn't be happier for them! Mark Harvey swept his girlfriend Rebecca Slade away for a short break in Port Douglas and Daintree from their home in Wollongong, New South Wales - and popped the all-important question at the reef with Quicksilver!

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With the help of the Quicksilver crew a plan was hatched for Rebecca to be in the underwater observatory and Mark to swim down with a sign - but like all good plans this one did not quite work out so Mark had to rapidly decide on Plan B and meet Rebecca in the underwater observatory. Mark said "I could not think of a better day to propose than the 1st of a new year and I could not be happier. Rebecca was ecstatic and said "Yes" as Mark presented a beautiful diamond ring.

Rebecca said that she was not expecting a proposal but after being together for 18 months and being best friends for many years before they started dating, it was all she dreamed of and a wonderful way to start 2014.

The Quicksilver crew presented Mark and Rebecca with a bottle of champagne to enjoy after they had enjoyed an amazing day on the Great Barrier Reef.


While all of our guests are VIPs, we've had the privilege to host a few more famous and recognisable personalities aboard our cruises recently.

  • The Potbelleez
    What do Dublin-born and now Sydney based DJ/house duo, the Potbelleez, do when in Port Douglas? Learn to Dive on the Great Barrier Reef with Tech Dive Academy. Congratulations to Ilan and Remi on their Open Water Certifications, pictured aboard Silversonic with their instructor Nic.

  • Dr Chris Brown
    We were delighted to welcome aboard Dr Chris Brown, better known as the Bondi Vet, when he travelled with Great Adventures to Green Island recently for filming for the Ten Network's Living Room lifestyle program.


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A feast of events with something for everyone heading our way!

From elite sporting pursuits to community events and family fun, the Quicksilver Group is delighted to be supporting a raft of wonderful ways to experience and enjoy our unique World Heritage reef and rainforest environment.

We hope you can join us to experience some of this wonderful calendar of events.

Port Douglas Reef and Rainforest Carnivale, 16-25 May 2014

The annual Port Douglas Carnivale is a wonderful celebration of life in our tropical paradise over ten days featuring events, entertainment and activities for all. Look out for the Quicksilver float in the street parade - with the theme of "Carnivale - what it means to you", we can't wait to see what fabulous creations the crew have in store for us this year!

Quicksilver Reef Swim, Thursday 5 June 2014

For the fourth year since inception, we're delighted to be supporting the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival incorporating Ironman Cairns with the Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island. 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.

Great Adventures Green Island Family Day, Sunday 29 June 2014

Great Adventures annual Green Island Family Fun Day is on again in June. This wonderful community event features a day of activities designed specifically for local Cairns families and visitors alike to enjoy together, as well as being a great fundraising day for local charities with the Green Island Beach Volleyball Competition. The kids will love dressing up as pirates for the fun treasure hunt through the island and great beach games. Contact Great Adventures for bookings and more information 4044 9944 or [email protected]

Great Adventures Green Island Reef Swim, Sunday 14 September 2014

Our annual Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim will once again see swimmers taking to the water to compete in 1.5km and 3km distances in this unique Great Barrier Reef swim. Competitors aged 12 years and over are eligible to enter. For more info or bookings, contact Great Adventures on 4044 9944 or [email protected]

Earth Hour:

On Saturday 29 March, the Quicksilver Group will once again be supporting the WWF global environmental initiative, Earth Hour. With the aim of increasing awareness about climate change, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off lights for one hour. This year, Earth Hour Australia will be focusing on the continued preservation of our very own Wonder of the World, The Great Barrier Reef.

For guests staying at Green Island Resort, candlelit dinners in Emeralds Restaurant will be on the menu, all non-essential lighting will be turned off and then of course there will be stargazing with the island activities officer! Out further on the Great Barrier Reef, Pro Dive Cairns' liveaboard boats will also be participating to support Earth Hour.

BIO BITS - Corals

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is home to many bright and beautiful coral varieties - about 400 different types in fact! They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colour. And did you know they are closely related to Jellyfish?!

Whilst you are at the reef, have a close look at the different types of coral. Staghorn corals form vast beds in the protected shallow lagoons and are one of the most abundant and colourful of all corals. Boulder corals are solid and can be very old (up to 1000 years), with soft corals occupying the reef flats and reef fronts as they are more adept at dealing with wave motion.

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Meet our local Sales Crew:

Bruce Gerber: Quicksilver Sales Executive, Port Douglas
[email protected]

Emma Wolstencroft: Silver Series Sales Executive Cairns, Beaches and Port Douglas
[email protected]

Ashley North: Quicksilver and Ocean Spirit Sales Executive, Cairns and Northern Beaches
[email protected]

Emily Van't Padje: Great Adventures Sales Executive, Cairns and Northern Beaches
[email protected]


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POSTCARDS - to Quicksiver

Awesome experience, fabulous crew!

We would just like to say thank you so much to Donna and the crew from Quicksilver. They were absolutely amazing. We took our two kids out with us, one of whom has a serious nut allergy. We were anxious about her eating on board, but the Quicksliver team had put together a special meal for her. They were so understanding and helpful. We went out on a very rocky, overcast day, but the crew made the whole experience fabulous. An absolute pleasure to be on the cruise. I have already recommended Quicksilver to friends, and will continue to do so. Thank you again for a wonderful day.

Angela, Melbourne Australia


  • FREE Wi-Fi: Our dive and snorkel adventure vessels Silversonic and Silverswift, and Pro Dive Cairns' liveaboard fleet all provide free unlimited Wi-Fi - even when 50 km offshore! Green Island Resort guests are also able to access free Wi-Fi from the Coral Cay guest lounge.
  • Retro fun with Green Island: Celebrating a remarkable 90 year history of cruising to Green Island since the first Hayles cruise began in 1924, Great Adventures' new Green Island brochure is sporting a fun "retro" look to celebrate this amazing milestone.
  • Experiencing more of our great region: The Quicky sales and marketing team had a fantastic day recently thanks to our friends at Blazing Saddles & Cairns Zoom, two amazing attractions to experience while in our region. From ATV-ing through the cane fields to zip lining above a crocodile enclosure, make sure these fun adventures are on your to do list when in Cairns!
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