Quickies

Issue# 152, 2015

Welcome to our Winter issue of Quickies,

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

Minkes, marvelous events and makeovers! It’s always a wonderful time to visit our tropical region.

While the fabulous Quicksilver crew dazzled with spectacular Carnivale costumes in the annual Port Douglas Carnivale street parade, the magical minke whales have made their way to the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef! We were fortunate to have some of the first sightings in the Agincourt ribbon reefs aboard our dive and snorkel vessel Silversonic. 

With Poseidon’s internal makeover completed, it’s now Great Adventures’ Reef King undergoing the knife for a complete interior makeover confirming our commitment to reinvest and keep our products to the standard of a five star reef operator.

We’ve also welcomed into our region the arrival of SilkAir, now flying three times a week between Singapore and Cairns, and the enhanced connections from Asia, India, the UK and Europe that these flights now offer visitors.

We look forward to catching up with many friends and colleagues at ATE in Melbourne from 21-25 June, until then, enjoy a break with our latest Quickies!

With warm tropical wishes from the Quicksilver Group Crew.

WHAT'S NEW

The Great Barrier Reef a World Heritage Site

The Quicksilver Group is delighted with the announcement by UNESCO to maintain the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage site.

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Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director commented “Our company employees 550 local staff across 13 vessels and an Island Resort, and we believe the Great Barrier Reef is the best managed reef system in the World.

Our company is focused on delivering and exceeding our visitors expectations of reef sites teaming with colourful marine life and diversity.  We will continue to manage our operations and our reef sites and work diligently through best practises to enable our reef environment to stay strong, healthy and be the icon of the Australian tourism industry.  Working hand in hand with Governments and under our banner of achieving Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation we know that visitors will enjoy the spectacular reef through snorkelling, diving or viewing from a semi-submersible for many years to come.”

Makeovers for a King and Scubapro II

The major reinvestment in our fleet continues with the complete internal refurbishment of Great Adventures’ 30 metre catamaran Reef King, and Pro Dive Cairns’ 24 metre liveaboard Scubapro II.

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Tony Baker, Managing Director of Quicksilver Group said, “We recognise the need to reinvest and keep our products to the standard of a five star, premier reef operator.  It also highlights our commitment and confidence in the tourism industry in our region.  While our fleet undergo annual refits and regular maintenance, this significant investment follows the recent complete refurbishment of our Quicksilver 5 wavepiercer and Poseidon.

Reef King’s contemporary interior design and refurbishment includes new bars, internal staircase, floor coverings, seating, and even the installation of a new chair lift to transfer disabled passengers if required between the main and upper deck.

Meanwhile, Scubapro II is returning from her major refit which has included internal refurbishment of the main cabin and new bathroom facilities, while mechanically, the engines have been reconditioned and the superstructure has also been covered in an innovative product, Planet Wrap. This environmentally friendly option replaces the need to paint the superstructure and also the application of anti-foul to hulls.

“Presentation of our fleet to the highest standard is very important to our operation and customer service focus ensuring our passengers have the newest and best facilities available to enjoy their journey and time at the Great Barrier Reef,” said Mr Baker.

Looking good Poseidon!

In our last issue of Quickies, we reported Poseidon, Quicksilver Group’s 24 metre dive and snorkel catamaran was in the midst of an extensive refurbishment to refresh and update her interior comforts. We’re pleased to show you her ‘after’ shots now!

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Poseidon’s $200,000 facelift included new carpets, re-upholstered seating, vinyl flooring in wet areas, new outdoor timber seating and painting the deck area as the main components to ensure our passengers have the newest and best facilities available to enjoy their time at the reef.

Poseidon Before and after pictures

Quicksilver goes to Barbados!

What a surprise we had recently (and a bit of a giggle) when US TV production Criminal Minds used our Quicksilver VIII wavepiercer and Port Douglas as the location shot for their episode set in Barbados! There was a bit of artful licence with CGI to a building and addition of the US flag…. But no tricking us though! :)

Google Street View comes to the Reef!

With our spectacular array of pristine dive sites at the renowned Agincourt ribbon reefs, you can now experience some of this underwater kingdom on Google Street View!  Located at Agincourt Reef No 2a, nearby our “Nursery Bommie” dive site, you’ll get a fishes’ eye view of what you can expect to see on a dive or snorkel adventure.

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https://www.google.com/maps/views/view/streetview/oceans/agincourt-reef-great-barrier-reef/yk63sBCimHkAAAQfCafE3A?gl=us&heading=267&pitch=105&fovy

Click and drag on the image for 360 degree views, or click on the virtual arrow to move along the reef, zooming in and out.

Both of our Port Douglas based adventure vessels, Silversonic and Poseidon, visit 3 different Agincourt Reef sites daily from a selection of 29 spectacular sites, based on the conditions of the day for the best experiences.

Quicksilver crew dazzle at Carnivale

The Quicksilver crew once again put on a fantastic display of community spirit doing the company proud at the annual Port Douglas Carnivale street parade. The theme this year was Carnivale Rio, right down to their hand made costumes and ‘sugar loaf’ float, as they sashayed down to Port Douglas’ sugar wharf! Next year’s Port Douglas Reef and Rainforest Carnivale is already in the planning for May 2016. Why not make it the perfect time to visit?!

Bondi Vet to the Rescue

Channel 10’s “Bondi Vet”, Dr Chris Brown, came to the rescue of a local freshwater turtle recently after being found by the roadside between Mossman and Cooya Beach by Quicksilver cruise attendant, Kristy Douglas.

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Kristy who spends her days on the reef with Quicksilver looking after our guests, was travelling along the highway with her sons when they spotted the injured turtle and called the Marlin Coast Vet Surgery for advice. After being told to keep the turtle in the shower with wet towels before bringing him into the surgery, Kristy was surprised to receive a phone call from Chris Brown who was in the region filming, offering to come and collect him. So began the star treatment for the aptly named turtle “Donatello” named after a Ninja turtle!

Kristy said, “We all really enjoyed the experience of Bondi Vet coming to our home and are pleased Donatello the turtle is in the best hands for a speedy recovery. For the kids it was a wonderful experience, Chris is truly a beautiful person and his love of all animals is so special.  It’s an experience that my children and I will not forget and we look forward to being able to release Donatello back into the wild to rejoin his friends.”

Look who dropped by to say hello to Silversonic passengers!

The curious dwarf minke whale delighted snorkellers travelling with our Port Douglas dive and snorkel vessel Silversonic in the first in-water encounter this season. The minke believed to be a small adult swam around the vessel and surfaced a few times as if saying “hello and welcome to my world” to everyone while the vessel was moored at our Castle Rock site at Agincourt Reef.

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Silversonic Skipper Shane “Sharky” Down said, “The minke was about 4-6 metres in length. As our passengers held onto the rope to observe the minke it came within 2 metres of them and stayed for about 15 minutes before swimming away. It does not matter how often you have seen them it is an amazing experience. In fact, I think the crew get more excited than the passengers as they know just how special it is.”

Silversonic and Poseidon have 2 of only 3 permits in this region to be issued by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to allow passengers to swim with the minke whales. From our experience, about 300 people each season have the privilege of swimming with a minke whale so it is very privileged encounter. 90% of minke whale sightings are during June and July.

Look out, the whales are arriving!

While the inquisitive dwarf minke whales have arrived, their big cousins, the humpbacks are making their way up the coast of Queensland toward the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef. They migrate from Antarctic waters each year to mate and give birth. An added bonus for our passengers, while not guaranteed, they are often seen on our outer reef trips between the months of June to September.

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What type of behaviour are we likely to see?

Humpbacks can display a wide range of behaviour, such as:

  • Breaching: The most spectacular display of all, where the animal leaps almost clear of the water, creating the kind of splash that only a 40 tonne animal can produce!
  • Spy Hop: Humpbacks will often surface vertically and actually stick their head out of the water so that they can see above the waterline. There is nothing like being eyeballed by a 15m whale!
  • The Blow: Often the first indication that a whale is in the area. The vapour cloud produced is caused when the whale empties its lungs, and can be quite pungent if you’re downwind!
  • Tail slapping: This is where they slap their tail on the surface. It can be a form of communication, but more often than not it is an aggressive display.
  • Bubble Netting: A technique developed to allow whales to entrap their prey (krill) by creating a ring of rising bubbles. The whale then moves through the net and uses its baleen to trap the prey.

Both Silversonic and Poseidon have unique permits allowing our passengers to swim with the minke whales if encountered.

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SEEN ON THE REEF

 

  • “Iron lady” Liz Blatchford took to a day of adventure onboard Silversonic after winning her third straight Ironman Cairns event.
  • We were pleased to welcome aboard the radio crew from KISS 92FM Singapore to experience Great Adventures “Green Island and Great Barrier Reef Adventure”.
    Pictured here are presenters Arnold Gay, Maddy Barber and Jason Johnson.

EVENTS


It’s all been happening on Green Island!

Quicksilver Reef Swim, Thursday 11 June 2015

The challenging conditions faced by competitors in the 5th Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island didn’t dampen spirits. With competitors from as far as Germany and the US, throughout Australia and a strong local contingent, over 120 swimmers took to the warm water to tackle 1.5km or 3km swims in the Great Barrier Reef. Once again, Quicksilver is proud to host this event as part of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and Ironman Cairns. And congratulations to our own Ironman competitor Paul Lim, Pro Dive Cairns’ General Manager who was hardly out of breath after emerging from the 3 km swim!

Green Island Windsurfing Championships, 7-11 June 2015

The wind was up and so were the thrill-seeking windsurfers taking on the Green Island Windsurfing Championships. Congratulations to Dane Jesper Vesterstrøm taking the slalom event win.

“Competing at Green Island was definitely one of the coolest and most beautiful events I have ever done. A ‘dream come true’ downwind course, making racing thrilling and exciting. It has it all and I’ll make it a priority to come back again next year.”

Great Adventures Green Island Reef Swim, Sunday 13 September 2015

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 tel: 4044 9944, [email protected] or visit http://www.green-island.com.au/oceanswim.

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BIO BITS

Some Quirky fish facts – the Eyes have it!

Fish do not have eyelids as their eyes are constantly bathed in water, whereas we need tears to keep our eyes moist.

How do fish see? They have well developed eyes. To focus, they move their lens in and out like a camera, unlike land animals which change the shape of the lens.

Why are some fish coloured? One of the most important reasons is communication. With most fish lacking any form of vocalisation, the only way to communicate is by sight.


THE ZOO


Introducing Monika Baum…

Monika is Pro Dive Cairns’ Sales Executive, a keen diver (of course!) and has recently lent her language skills to deliver training video presentations in both English and German for Pro Dive Cairns Learn to Dive and Liveaboard trips. 

Email: [email protected]

 

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Postcard.... to Silverswift Dive & Snorkel Adventures


An amazing experience, planned with military action and the charm and comfort of a 5 star hotel. Safety for my intro dive was very professional and the snorkelling and diving sites at the outer reef were fantastic! Not to mention the food! Thanks guys, an awesome day!

Brigitte, Switzerland

QUICKBITS


  • We’ve launched a brand new stand alone website for our Wavedancer Low Isles Cruise. You can check it out at www.wavedancerlowisles.com
  • Soup du jour: As we are in our cooler months, soup is now served on board our outer reef cruises as an addition to the daily buffet. Flavours will vary daily.
  • Did you know we’re on Instagram?! Instagram.com/ReefCruises
  • 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 also have free Wi-Fi from the comfort of their rooms as well as the Coral Cay guest lounge.
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