Issue #163, 2016

Welcome to our Spring issue of Quickies,

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

From movie stars to a celebrity whale, Reef Ocean Swims and stylish refurbishments, it certainly has been a whale of a time on the Great Barrier Reef lately - pardon the pun. Can you imagine the thrill divers must have felt as a 12 metre (39ft) humpback swam by, or quite literally, seeing the biggest celebrity in Far North Queensland this year - the famous white humpback, Migaloo.

Check out our flagship wavepiercer, Quicksilver VIII's super stylish refit and we're delighted to showcase the health of the Great Barrier Reef in our Cairns and Port Douglas region with an underwater tour at the pristine Agincourt Reef.

We hope you enjoy catching up with the latest news from the Quicksilver Group.


Agincourt Reef today

It's now six months since the Great Barrier Reef experienced the widely reported coral bleaching event, predominantly in the Far Northern sector. Whilst our Cairns and Port Douglas region reef sites were impacted to a much lesser extent, we're delighted to showcase the health and resilience of coral communities in this magnificent World Heritage environment.

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We caught up with Quicksilver Group's Environment & Compliance Manager, and Marine Biologist, Doug Baird, as he takes us on an underwater tour at the pristine Agincourt Reef.


Migaloo the Famous White Whale visits Green Island

Friday the 2nd of September was a day to remember for passengers and crew onboard Great Adventures' vessel Reef Adventure as they encountered the famous white humpback whale, Migaloo.

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Aboriginal for 'White Fella', Migaloo was sighted heading south about 1km from Green Island. Skipper Brett Thompson said even though he had been fortunate to have spotted Migaloo three times in his career, each occasion was always special. Our crew and passengers were in awe and very excited as we watched and they know it is a once in a lifetime experience that very few people get to see.

Brett described the ocean turning a turquoise colour around Migaloo. "You see the lovely colour before Migaloo surfaces, which is beautiful. He was not breaching, but swimming along the surface with a few tail splashes."

Each year, humpbacks migrate from the Antarctic up the coast of Queensland into the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to birth and mate. While not guaranteed, these gentle giants are often seen on our reef trips between the months of June to September. Seeing Migaloo is just the icing on the cake!

Silversonic Divers swim with a Humpback Whale

Eight years and 2,500 dives - that's how long Silversonic dive instructor Craig 'Macca' McKay has been diving on Agincourt Reef. He's experienced many amazing things in that time, but nothing gets close to swimming with a humpback whale!

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Macca, along with his group of certified divers were at our 3 Sisters dive site, when a 12 metre (39ft), 30 tonne beauty, emerged from the shadows and swam by to say hello.

"This would have to be the most mind blowing experience that has ever happened underwater for me. We saw a shadow as the whale came into sight and as he swam past us he looked like he was going to breech but then slowly turned and showed us his belly and then just swam past us again. My heart was pumping - a truly majestic and incredible moment for me as a diver".

Special thanks to Robert Divine for capturing and sharing this very unique moment with us.

Swimming with Humpbacks is an extremely rare opportunity. Humpbacks are generally seen on the Great Barrier Reef between the months of June to September with regular sightings at the Outer Reefs, bringing an added bonus for passengers at this time.

Welcome home Quicksilver VIII and Agincourt 3 Platform

Quicksilver's flagship wavepiercing catamaran and Agincourt 3 (AG3) activity platform are once again welcoming visitors to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef after both having recently completed million dollar makeovers.

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And they are looking great! Quicksilver VIII's interior transformation provides a super stylish and luxurious interior for our passengers to enjoy, while the 50 metre (164 ft) activity platform provides the most spacious and comprehensive facilities on the entire Great Barrier Reef.

To complete the platform's refurbishment, she was towed into the mainland, quite a feat in itself. Taking 36 hours to tow, this photo courtesy of Great Barrier Reef Helicopters shows a bird's eye view as she commenced the return journey from Cairns back to Agincourt Reef at the edge of Australia's Continental Shelf. Whilst refit maintenance is conducted annually, this is the first time since originally installed on the GBR 21 years ago, that the AG3 platform has been taken out of the water to make possible the one million dollar refurbishment.

Ten weeks in the making, Quicksilver VIII's extensive internal refurbishment saw her interior gutted and refit with a new contemporary design and colour scheme. 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.

These total refurbishments, in addition to regular annual refit maintenance across our fleet, reflects the Quicksilver Group's commitment to ensure our passengers have the newest and best facilities available to enjoy their time at the Great Barrier Reef.

Quicksilver Port Douglas Yacht Club Race Week 2017

We're excited to announce Quicksilver's sponsorship of the annual Port Douglas Yacht Club Race Week for 2017.

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To be held over five days from 16-20 May, the colourful sailing regatta will take place in the beautiful waters of the Coral Sea off Port Douglas. The sailing schedule includes racing around the stunning Low Isles and Snapper Island, as well as some technical racing off Four Mile Beach.

Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said the annual regatta is a wonderful event for our region and community and one in which Quicksilver is delighted to support. It will also provide a perfect lead up to the annual Port Douglas Carnivale to be held from 26-28 May.

Fostering Reef Guardians of the future

Two of our dynamic marine biologist gurus, Russell Hore and Doug Baird recently took the opportunity to visit students at the Port Douglas State School to participate in National Science Week. With an environmental theme this year, Russell and Doug were invited to speak with the students about what we can do to protect the environment.

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Port Douglas State School is a Reef Guardian School, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority program that has a key objective to create awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Reef and its connected ecosystems. gbrmpa.gov.au/our-partners/reef-guardians/reef-guardian-schools

In addition to community education, Quicksilver's dynamic duo also happen to host a fortnightly science based show on Radio Port Douglas. You can tune in to hear Russell and Doug's Quicksilver Reef Brief show for some of their fun, knowledge and antics!


Diving in and Upping Investment in Port Douglas

The Quicksilver Group is continuing to invest in Port Douglas with the recent purchase of the 35 berth Closehaven Marina, in addition to the announcement to develop a dedicated Dive Centre.

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Regarding the Dive Centre proposal Quicksilver Group Managing Director, Tony Baker said, "We believe there is the demand to grow the learn to dive market in Port Douglas as currently the only dedicated dive school facilities similar to this are in Cairns. We have fantastic dive sites off Port Douglas so building this new facility will add another dimension for visitors while complementing the services Quicksilver currently provides. Subject to all the necessary approvals including we would hope to proceed with the project in early 2017.

While Quicksilver has acquired the Closehaven Marina which is located next to the Port Douglas Yacht Club, our daily marine operations remain based at the adjacent Port Douglas Marina facilities.

Weddings and sailing in paradise

Our Port Douglas based luxury sailing catamaran, Wavedancer, provided the romantic and very special location for two wedding parties recently. Normally setting sail to take visitors on daily excursions to Low Isles, the 30 metre Wavedancer was chartered to host these memorable and beautiful occasions.

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Special thanks to Jess and Dan for sharing their photo and day with us and very best wishes for the future. Wavedancer can also be chartered for evening calm water cruises along the Dickson Inlet and Port Douglas. For more information contact [email protected]

Christmas Day on a tropical island

Imagine a delicious Christmas buffet lunch on a tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef. Sound great? Well why not spend your Christmas Day on Green Island with Green Island Resort Executive Chef Shuki's mouth-watering buffet lunch full of fresh seasonal produce and traditional favourites.

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As well as an option for houseguests, there are limited seats available for day visitors to join in the celebrations at Green Island. After enjoying the sumptuous buffet, you can enjoy the island with a leisurely stroll through the rainforest, snorkel or view the reef from a glass bottom boat. For more information contact Great Adventures friendly Reservations team on 4044 9944 or email them at [email protected] Bookings are essential.

Green Island Christmas Menu


Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim

Blue skies and crystal clear waters greeted competitors and spectators for our annual Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim on the Great Barrier Reef on Sunday 11 September.

This year, 119 swimmers competed in the 1.5km and 3km swims, and also a new shorter course, 500 metre swim with ages ranging from 12 - 65 years. The fun Nippers swim saw six enthusiastic youngsters, and future ocean swimmers, enjoy a taste of swimming in the Great Barrier Reef.

We were delighted to welcome swimmers from across the state and country including Townsville, WA, NSW, Northern territory and even a Green Island Resort guest from Canada who joined in to tackle the 1.5km swim. But it was a day for new course records with Cairns locals taking the lead.

17 year old Jack McMenamin won the men's 3km swim for the second consecutive year, while 15 year old Sam Tress won the men's 1.5km swim also for the second consecutive year. The winner of the 3km women's swim was 14 year old Charlotte Fifield and Liz Stewart won the 1.5km women's swim. The 500 m swim was won by Audrey Hall.

With the Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim now in its 11th year, we once again offer special thanks and to Surf Life Saving Queensland for their wonderful community spirit and pivotal role in providing in-water safety for the event and to the Cairns Crocs Triathlon Club for assisting with the timing.

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  • Alicia Silverstone - Green Island Resort had a little touch of Hollywood with a visit from actress Alicia Silverstone, perhaps best known for her 1990s roles in Clueless and as Batgirl. Today Alicia is also known as an environmental activist.
  • Travel Oz - Respected documentary producer and presenter Greg Grainger joined us aboard Quicksilver's Outer Reef Cruise enjoying a scuba dive and also visited beautiful Green Island for Network Seven's Travel Oz program.
  • Green Island On the Air - Radio hosts with the most, Dave and Inkie from Cairns Star FM, broadcast live from the white sands of Green Island. Despite the early 5.30am start, it was all smiles as the team enjoyed a gorgeous Green Island sunrise and picture perfect conditions.
  • A Grand Opening - Following the opening of the refurbished Port Douglas Sheraton Mirage, journalists from Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, America and from around Australia continued the celebrations of our region with a great day experiencing the Outer Reef with Quicksilver.


Quicksilver's Agincourt 3 Reef Activity platform is held in place with 10 huge concrete mooring blocks. Can you guess how much they weigh?

Answer: 300 tons - or about 50 elephants!

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Winging it at Michaelmas Cay

While Michaelmas Cay is a beautiful sandy oasis perfect for a quiet day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, looks can be deceiving. The cay's environment and national park status makes it the perfect hangout for some feathery and overall quirky characters. But who belongs to this wild gang calling Michaelmas Cay home?

Brown Boobies - the Hitman: Booby birds got their name from the Spanish word 'bobo' which means stupid, a not-so-glamorous name referring to their clumsiness when on land. Nevertheless, the Brown Booby is ruthless in the air and can dive from up to 40 metres in the air to catch fish - a formidable foe for any passing fish.

Greater Frigate Bird - the Thug: Known as the Pirates of the Sky, these birds will often bully other birds and steal their catch. The males are known to abandon their mates and half-grown chicks to moult and return the next season with a new mate. With the oldest known Frigate Bird reaching 20 years, this means a male can have up to 18 ex-wives! What a gentlemen!

Terns - the Mobsters: Michaelmas Cay is home to up to 6 species of Tern at any one time. These species include the Roseate, Black-naped, Sooty, Lesser Crested, Little and Crested Tern. The Common Noddy is also considered to be in the Turn genus. That's one big extended family! To help keep track of all the family members, the chicks form small wandering groups called creches, and are left to entertain themselves from 1 week of age.

Up to 14 other species of birds have been recorded on Michaelmas Cay, making the site one of the most significant bird sanctuaries on the entire Great Barrier Reef. Don't forget you can experience this band of bandits with our relaxing Ocean Spirit cruise to Michaelmas Cay, where you can also snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, view from the semi-submersible or take part in an introductory scuba dive.


Welcome aboard to our new local market sales executive, Shelly!

Shelly Baker
Ocean Spirit and Quicksilver, Cairns and Northern Beaches Sales Executive

Shelly has come to us from the Gold Coast, having worked for a number of years with hotel groups such as Accor and the Mantra Group. She is really enjoying forming new relationships with agents, and the opportunity to swim with her favourite sea creature, the shark! Shelly can be contacted at [email protected]

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Postcard.... to Silversonic

"I am a very fussy traveller and this is the 1st time in Australia. We have been touring around and seen many amazing sites. This is my No. 1 experience so far. Absolutely delivered everything that was promised and more. Would recommend and huge thanks to the dive team, especially Luke for being so patient otherwise I don't think I would have completed my dive. Love the guided snorkeling tour - we have seen so much and learnt so much. Seeing whales was a massive bonus!"

Debbie from England


  • Across our many reef experiences, the Quicksilver Group is a proud supporter of the Starlight Foundation, granting the wishes for seriously ill children around Australia to experience the wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Focus on Asia: The Quicksilver Group's Director of Sales & Marketing Michael Healy was a key presenter at the recent Connecting with Asia Forum held in Cairns.
  • Congratulations Finn: It was an incredible achievement for 14-year-old Finn Weaver who swam 27km from Green Island to the mainland at Yorkeys Knob to raise money for charity. The Indie Rose Foundation provides support for families with children who need special medical treatment. On the marathon swim taking nearly 9 hours, Finn also saw humpback whales and a pod of dolphins along the way.
  • Did you know we're on Instagram?!
  • 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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