Quickies

Issue #162, 2016

Welcome to our Winter issue of Quickies,

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

It has all been happening at Quicksilver Group as we head into a favourite time of year in Tropical North Queensland. The fabulous Quicky crew dazzled as they went “Troppo” in the annual Port Douglas Carnivale street parade and the first minke whales have made their way to our Great Barrier Reef waters. It won’t be long before the humpbacks arrive too.

We’ve welcomed the arrival of a new Great Adventures vessel aptly named Reef Adventure, as well as significant reinvestment in our existing assets. Our flagship wavepiercer Quicksilver VIII is nearing completion of a major facelift as is her Agincourt 3 activity platform and also Pro Dive Cairns’ Scubapro III liveaboard vessel. And in an Australian dive industry first, Pro Dive Cairns has achieved the amazing status of 150,000 PADI certifications.

There has been a lot in the news about the coral bleaching event that affected the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (north of Cooktown). Fortunately with water temperatures now dropping to 26 degrees, we have seen little impact in our Cairns and Port Douglas sites. See the latest pictures from our wonderful reef sites quicksilvergroup.com.au/reefhealth.htm and read some informed reports provided in this issue of Quickies. As always, we’re delighted to report our passengers are continuing to see and experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Fittingly, in his issue we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Quicksilver’s environmental division, Reef Biosearch, dedicated to education, interpretation and research.

Looking forward to warm days, cooler nights and lots of sunshine, we hope you enjoy catching up with the latest news from the Quicksilver Group.

 

WHAT'S NEW


Welcome Reef Adventure!

Joining the Great Adventures fleet in Cairns, we’re pleased to welcome 33 metre high speed catamaran, Reef Adventure, into the Quicksilver family.

The purchase of this vessel highlights significant new investment into the region’s tourism industry. Named by the Great Adventures staff, Reef Adventure was built by Queensland company Marine Engineering Consultants and has a capacity for 400 passengers.

Now plying the Coral Sea between Cairns and Green Island, by the end of the year, she will undergo internal modifications and reconfigured seating arrangements to suit an outer reef platform experience and provide increased flexibility for our daily operations.

Tony Baker, Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group said, “We are passionate about our region and the Great Barrier Reef. The past few months have been very exciting for the Company and highlights our significant and ongoing investment and reinvestment to the Cairns and Port Douglas tourism industry.

We employ over 600 locals and are very proud to add another Queensland built vessel to our fleet. With four vessels now in the Great Adventures fleet, this will offer more flexibility across our entire Cairns operation and will enable us to also have a vessel available for charter depending on the group size. With the purchase of the Reef Adventure the Quicksilver Group’s Great Barrier Reef fleet grows to 14 major vessels.

In 2016, to date, the Quicksilver Group has invested over $7.5 million on upgrades and refurbishments to our fleet including the acquisition of this additional vessel for our Great Adventures operation, a new Volvo Quicksilver coach, a new Glass Bottom Boat for Green Island along with major refurbishments.

Reef Health Update

The recent coral bleaching event that affected the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (north of Lizard Island) has been the subject of many news reports. With much misinformation and misinterpretation, we seek to ensure you are aware of the facts and provide balanced, informed reporting.

  • Statement and report findings from Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) & Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
    “We’ve opted to release results ahead of final completion of surveys because of widespread misinterpretation. Based on our combined results so far, the overall mortality is 22 per cent — and about 85 per cent of that has occurred in the far north between the tip of Cape York and just north of Lizard Island, 250 kilometres north of Cairns.”
    Read Full Article

  • Activist Scientists exaggerated results, The Australian, 4 June 2016
    “Activist scientists and lobby groups have distorted surveys, maps and data to misrepresent the extent and impact of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef according to the Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt….”
    Read Full Article

But most of all, a picture speaks a thousand words! Please visit quicksilvergroup.com.au/reefhealth.htm to see the latest pictures from our wonderful, and healthy, reef sites.

Australian First for Pro Dive Cairns - 150,000th Certified Diver

In an Australian first, Pro Dive Cairns has achieved the unique status of 150,000 PADI certifications. Having just completed the last training dive of his 5 Day Learn To Dive Course, Felix Tam emerged from the Great Barrier Reef with the honour of being the 150,000th certified diver.

Felix is a 29 year old Canadian Optometrist, currently working in Townsville. The honour of certifying the 150,000th diver went to Pro Dive Cairns instructor Simon Daxer.

PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) is the largest dive education company in the world and have acknowledged that Pro Dive Cairns’ achievement is an Australia first and just the second dive operator in the world to achieve this number of PADI certifications.

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 added, “Our longevity in business over the past 33 years, is an outstanding testament to our partnership with PADI and the dedication and professionalism of all our staff, as well the quality and reputation of our product.”

Travelling to Cairns to celebrate this milestone, are PADI President and CEO, Drew Richardson, and PADI Asia Pacific Vice President of Training, Sales & Field Services, Danny Dwyer. Danny remarked, “Our entire team at PADI would like to congratulate the team at Pro Dive Cairns on reaching the remarkable milestone of 150,000 PADI students. Our two companies have shared a strong and successful business partnership over 33 years and we look forward to many more.”

Established in 1983, Pro Dive Cairns has built an enviable international reputation as one of the world’s premier dive schools and liveaboard dive trip operators. Today, with a team of 67 local staff, Pro Dive Cairns owns and operates a purpose built 5 Star PADI Diver Training Centre as well as three premier 25 metre liveaboard vessels that conduct 3 day / 2 night trips to the Outer Reefs off Cairns six times each week, all year round.

Ella the Turtle released on World Environment Day

After 3 years of care with the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, the crew aboard Silverswift were privileged to assist in the release of Ella the Green Turtle back into her home at the Great Barrier Reef.

Believed to be around 25 years of age, Ella had been in the care of CTRC after sustaining a critical propeller strike to her shell and head. Through the efforts of the CTRC and volunteers who kept a constant vigil during the early days of her care, she was able to be released at Flynn Reef on 5 May, aptly World Environment Day.

Fitted with a satellite tracker, Ella is enjoying life back on the Reef and has already been tracked out to the Continental Shelf and back to home base at Flynn Reef!

Jennie Gilbert from the CTRC said, “It was unknown how Ella would react when released as she had been in care the longest of any turtle we have ever had. All l I can say is that was a beautiful release and she took it all in her stride, it was so gentle. Surrounded by her many fans and volunteers that had cared for her, she swam around as if saying thank you before going off to explore her new environment. Ella’s release at Tracey’s Bommie on Flynn Reef is a known green turtle habitat and was made possible by the generosity of Quicksilver and the Silverswift crew.”

During her care, Ella showed an amazing personality and enjoyed eating imported squid, peeled tiger and red spot prawns but also her greens with the favorite being lettuce and broccoli. Her weight had grown from 32kgs to 74 kgs and she doubled in size.

Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said of Ella’s release, “This is the second satellite tracked turtle we have assisted the CTRC release at Flynn Reef in the past few months. We are in awe of the dedicated team that care for these turtles and then release them back to where they belong in a safe and environment on the Great Barrier Reef. We wish Ella all the best as she enjoys her new environment and we can watch her movements over the coming months.”

Film crew from Coast Australia were also onboard to document the Ella’s release so be sure to check out Coast Australia’s next season.

Find out more about Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre www.cairnsturtlerehab.org.au



Photos & Video Courtesy of Christian Miller

Million Dollar Makeover - Quicksilver VIII set to turn heads

Just what every girl wants – some special treatment for her birthday! Celebrating Quicksilver VIII’s 21st birthday, our flagship 45m wavepiercer is nearing completion of her 70 day, million dollar makeover.

Ten weeks in the making the extensive internal refurbishment has seen her interior gutted and refit with a new contemporary design and colour scheme by a local design company. Her makeover includes new ceilings, walls, tabletops, counters, bar area and toilets. In addition there are new carpets, LED lighting and larger TV screens throughout the vessel. Quicksilver VIII’s transformation will be complete as she heads back to the Reef in July with a super stylish and luxurious interior for our passengers to enjoy.

View the Gallery

Reef Biosearch Turns 30

Quicksilver is celebrating a very special and important milestone this year, as Reef Biosearch reaches its third decade of educating our visitors on the Great Barrier Reef.

Founded by marine biologist Wendy Morris in 1986, Reef Biosearch began as a simple education program involving slideshow presentations and informed snorkel tours turning the ocean into a classroom. Today, Reef Biosearch continues to combine tourism with education and research, and has the longest running logbook of marine observations on the Great Barrier Reef.

Notably, Reef Biosearch was the precursor for important reef monitoring programs including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef, and Coral Watch.

Reef Biosearch Manager Russel Hore has been integral to Quicksilver’s marine biologist team for over 21 years and marks the anniversary as a significant accomplishment for both sustainable tourism and marine science.

“Over the years, Reef Biosearch has helped create awareness with hundreds of thousands of reef ambassadors across the globe while creating a substantial research database. We began in an era before the term “ecotourism” was ever mentioned, but I strongly believe that what we did fitted the bill nicely!

‘Has the reef changed?’ is a common question. The simple answer is yes - the reef is very dynamic, and is constantly evolving. Certainly, major cataclysmic events such cyclones can change the fabric of a reef system overnight. As devastated as some parts of the reef were after tropical cyclones, it was amazing to watch the reef recover over the next few years, to where you wouldn’t be able to tell that anything had happened. The Agincourt Reefs remain one of the most pristine reef systems in the world.”

Reef Biosearch is a representation of Quicksilver’s dedication to ensuring environmentally friendly tourism and education to protect our amazing natural asset for future generations. Reef Biosearch has also provided an invaluable steppingstone for diverse career development opportunities having paved a pathway for more than 70 professional marine biologists since inception.

A trip down memory lane with a poignant Presidential message

Almost 20 years ago in November 1996, Quicksilver was proud to host US President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton to experience the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.

Such was the impression and beauty of the Great Barrier Reef that during his inaugural visit, President Clinton chose to deliver a major environmental statement after visiting Agincourt Reef. With the world’s media assembled, the President called for international cooperation to combat ozone-layer depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.

“I call upon the community of nations to agree to legally binding commitments to fight climate change,’ he said. “We must preserve the natural resources that God has given us.”

Throughout our operations, Quicksilver remains wholly committed to sustainable tourism and dedicated to the preservation of this greatest natural asset.

And come November 2016, there may be another President Clinton in the Whitehouse!

Winning Quicksilver crew go Troppo!

With the theme for this year’s Carnivale Street Parade being “Wonders of the Tropics”, the Quicksilver crew went Troppo – and won the best overall float in the parade!

Once again the crew put on a fantastic display of community spirit doing the company proud. It’s a real team effort with the crew building and designing the float and making their costumes. Congratulations on being Wonders of the Tropics! Dates for next year’s Port Douglas Carnivale are to be confirmed in May 2017. Why not make it the perfect time to visit?! www.carnivale.com.au

A Pawesome Donation

Many furry four-legged friends at Paws and Claws will benefit from Quicksilver’s 16th annual 500 Card Game with a donation of $1,316 thanks to 64 enthusiastic players from the tourism industry and friends of tourism who enjoyed a day of fun and laughs on Quicksilver V for this worthy local cause.

the animal refuge facility and boarding kennels as they move forward to secure new facilities that will enhance the future of Paws and Claws.

Michael Kerr, Paws and Claws President said, “This contribution is wonderful. As we move closer to securing land for our new refuge we still constantly battle to raise money to keep the current refuge operating. Donations like this allow us to continue offering the amazing service we do for our local community.”

“The Quicksilver 500 card game has supported Paws and Claws for the past 10 years and to date has raised over $11,500. Paws and Claws is a wonderful community organisation caring for many homeless animals and we’re very pleased to be able to support the great work they do,” said Tony Baker, Managing Director, Quicksilver Group.

Currently the not for profit organisation has 26 cats and 24 dogs that are looking for loving forever homes.

Who am I?

I have stayed for 21 years at my home, I have seen over 7,665 sunrises and sunsets, seen the calmness of the ocean and survived Mother Nature’s extremes and cyclones. I am home to and provide protection for an amazing array of sea life, I am held strong with 10 moorings with a combined weight of 300 tons.

I am Agincourt 3 reef activity platform and a pioneer of Great Barrier Reef and Queensland tourism. With 2 storeys overlooking the reef and one below the water, at 50 metres long and weighing 120 tons I left my home for the first time on the Great Barrier Reef and spent 30 hours being towed back to Cairns where I was designed and built. Here like lego, I was pulled apart, and will be reassembled completely refurbished before returning once again to Agincourt 3 Reef - my home.

Here are some photos of my progress so far…
quicksilvergroup.com.au/fleetupgrades/

Agincourt 3 platform will be back in service in July.

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EVENTS


Green Island has been the place to be for sporting enthusiasts with two major events taking place.

Green Island Windsurfing Nationals, 5-9 June

About 40 windsurfing enthusiasts descended on Green Island for 5 days of thrill-seeking and freestyle adventure. While the winds were not as high as previous years, it was another great event for the sport.



Quicksilver Reef Swim, Thursday 9 June 2016

It was a picture perfect day on Green Island as 178 swimmers competed in the 6th Quicksilver Reef Swim, part of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and Ironman Cairns.

It was a truly international event for swimmers experiencing the beauty of this unique reef swim with competitors from France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine, Canada, US, India, Asia Pacific, throughout Australia as well as a strong local contingent. Once again, Quicksilver is proud to host this amazing reef swim with 1.5km and 3km in the Great Barrier Reef in the lead up to gruelling Ironman race.

Congratulations to Caroline Stefan from Switzerland and Jack McMenamin from Cairns on taking out the women’s and men’s 3km event.

 

SEEN ON THE REEF

 

  • Getaway to the Low Isles
    The crew from Channel Nine’s Getaway enjoyed a fantastic day out with Wavedancer to the beautiful Low Isles. Pictured here with our very own Karl is host Samantha and the Getaway crew.

  • Sydney Weekender
    Wavedancer also played host to the crew from Channel Seven’s Sydney Weekender travel show. Mother nature blessed them with perfect weather for sailing the high seas and snorkelling the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
  •  
  • Business Events Port Douglas Famil
    Wavedancer was again the star of the show for Business Events Port Douglas’ famil.

  • Beijing TV:
    We were delighted to welcome the crew from Beijing TV aboard Quicksilver’s Outer Reef Cruise where Oceanwalker helmet diving, scuba diving, semi-sub tours and scenic helicopter flights were the order of the day.




  • A celebrity fish!
    Dory the Blue Tang is usually quite camera shy (and forgetful) but lucky guests aboard Silverswift were able to see her at Tracey’s Bommie, Flynn Reef. Thanks to paparazzi Satoshi from Indepth Video & Photography for the photo.



 

TRICKY TRIVIA

Here’s some tricky trivia,

Q. What was the destination of Quicksilver’s very first reef trip?

Click here to reveal the answer!

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BIO BITS

A Giant Mystery:

Every year, between the months of May and August, the Great Barrier Reef hosts some very mysterious visitors. Dwarf Minke whales come to us from who-knows-where, for who-knows-why and leave again for equally unexplainable reasons. But there are a few things we do know, and they are just as fascinating.

  • A Dwarf Minke whale can hold its breath for up to 25 minutes! This allows them to feed at a greater depth
  • An adult Minke whale can weigh more than an African elephant, at 20,000lbs
  • Minkes enjoy a relatively fear-free life, with very few natural predators, although they are occasionally hunted by orcas and large sharks.

Did you know you can swim with the Dwarf Minke Whales? Both Poseidon and Silversonic have special permits to allow visitors to get in the water with these majestic creatures, a truly once in a lifetime opportunity!


THE ZOO


We’re pleased to welcome aboard two new Sales Executives to our Sales and Marketing team.

Welcome Paul Lewis

Paul is the new face for Poseidon and Silversonic. Based in Port Douglas, Paul has come to us all the way from the beautiful (and chilly) Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Coming from a sales background, he says he is enjoying getting to know so many great people in his new role.
 
Paul can be contacted at [email protected]

 

Welcome Jake Healy

Jake Healy has taken over the position of Sales Executive for Great Adventures in the Cairns and the Northern Beaches area while Kate Day takes a year off on maternity leave. Jake was enjoying farm life in NSW before deciding to make a sea change and joining the Quicksilver Group. He tells us he is most looking forward to meeting new people, making new friends and experiencing everything this beautiful part of the world has to offer.
 
Jake can be contacted at [email protected]

 

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Postcard.... to Pro Dive Cairns


What an incredible few days

From the get-go everything was smooth, professionally organised and loads of fun. The diving itself (11 dives) was just fantastic. So much diversity and plenty of opportunities to see some of nature's finest treasures in one place. Dive briefings were thorough, clearly explained and mapped out with thought and care - we were often given hints and tips making each dive an adventure of its own. There were 32 people on board but there was always adequate room for us all. Food was delicious - plenty of variety and tons of it. All in all an unforgettable Great Barrier Reef experience - I'd recommend it to all looking to soak up this natural wonder and will return to do it all again one day. Thank you team Pro Dive Cairns!
K, United Kingdom

QUICKBITS


  • Go pro: Pro Dive Cairns’ liveaboard vessel, Scubapro III, has finished an extensive interior refit and is now back to work providing first class facilities for dive adventurers staying out on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Looking good: Ocean Spirit is now back on the high seas after her 3 week refit, looking as fabulous as ever setting sail out to Michaelmas Cay. In addition to her annual scheduled maintenance, Ocean Spirit’s refit included new table and seating arrangements and carpets to the main cabin.
  • 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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