Issue #191, 2019
1979 to 2019 - Quicksilver is celebrating 40 years! It was back in 1979 that Quicksilver commenced operations with the first commercial cruise to Low Isles, off Port Douglas. Fittlingly, Wavedancer our beautiful sailing catamaran that now travels to Low Isles, is undergoing an extensive refurbishment and will soon be dancing once again across the waves in style.
The year is young but it's already off to an exciting start. We're pleased to announce our new partnership with Nautilus Aviation to conduct the helicopter operations from our outer reef platforms and Green Island, a raft of projects are slated for Green Island Resort and foremost coral reef scientists have praised Agincourt Reef. Our event calendar is also full of diverse ways to enjoy our region over the coming months!
We look forward to catching up with many friends and colleagues at ATE in Perth from 8 - 12 April. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy catching up with our latest news from the Quicksilver Group.
In 2019 we are celebrating 40 years of all things Quicksilver! It was from Port Douglas back in…
In 2019 we are celebrating 40 years of all things Quicksilver! It was from Port Douglas back in 1979 that Quicksilver started with a single vessel operating the first commercial cruise to the Low Isles. Just a few years later in 1983, we pioneered Australia’s first true Outer Barrier Reef cruise, travelling to the ribbon reefs at the outer edge of the Continental Shelf.
Today, the Quicksilver Group is a highly sophisticated company with our exceptional range of multi award-winning Great Barrier Reef experiences. Across our operations stretching from Port Douglas, Cairns and over to Green Island, 650 staff are now part of the Quicky Group family.
Over the years, we’ve been privileged to share our beautiful environment with millions of visitors from across the globe, proudly creating ambassadors for future conservation. We’ve been honoured to host world leaders and famous actors and had a whole lot of fun along the way! It’s very difficult to narrow down, but here’s a Top Ten countdown to some memorable moments and milestones over the past four decades!
TEN. Quicksilver’s Reef Biosearch was established in 1986 and to this day, has the longest logbook database of marine observations on the Great Barrier Reef! Proudly, this program was the precursor to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef Program.
NINE. Quicksilver V, our first 37m wavepiercing catamaran, circumnavigated Australia on a promotional tour for our Tropical North Queensland destination in 1989.
EIGHT. In a world first, we had the honour of taking the Olympic Torch with its flame alight underwater at Agincourt Reef in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. With months of precision planning, it went off without a hitch as the world watched on!
SEVEN. More world firsts were to follow in 2012 taking the famed Melbourne Cup and in 2018 the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay underwater on the Great Barrier Reef. Call us the underwater event specialists!
SIX. Investing in the next generation. A very special initiative started in 2011, the Quicksilver Scholarship Program which is dedicated to assisting children of employees to follow their dreams with tertiary education opportunities.
FIVE. What a treat for Quicky crew to show legendary Scottish comedian Billy Connolly Agincourt Reef in 2011. It was not long after Cyclone Yasi and he was blown away (pardon the pun!) with the beauty, resilience and magnitude of the wondrous Great Barrier Reef.
FOUR. Our brand new state-of-the-art dive training centre Quicksilver Dive in Port Douglas was launched in October 2018.
THREE. Former US President Bill Clinton travelled with Quicksilver to experience the Great Barrier Reef in 1996. Following this visit, President Clinton delivered a major environmental statement calling 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. We must preserve the natural resources that God has given us.”
TWO. 2005! Acquisition of Pro Dive Cairns, Great Adventures and Green Island Resort, and the launch of the Silver Series dive and snorkel brand. Now that was a year!
AND NUMBER ONE…Quicksilver has proudly been inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame not once, but twice! The Quicksilver Group was also inducted into the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.
Here's to being Forty and Fabulous!
The Quicksilver Group and Nautilus Aviation are delighted to announce the commencment of a new partnership to provide helicopter…
The Quicksilver Group and Nautilus Aviation are delighted to announce the commencment of a new partnership to provide helicopter services for the Quicksilver Group's reef operations from 1 April 2019.
The partnership with Nautilus Aviation will showcase the Great Barrier Reef from a different perspective with helicopters to provide daily services to the Quicksilver Agincourt Reef outer reef platforms, Great Adventures Norman and Moore Reef outer reef platforms and Green Island.
Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said “With our current contract concluding we had a number of companies from around Australia who tendered for the business. As an established local company with a great reputation and an established network of clients we are very pleased to announce our future partnership with Nautilus Aviation. Nautilus will provide a modern fleet of air-conditioned helicopters which will add value and complement our four outer reef platform sites, Green Island and be a value partner in marketing and promoting our destination. We look forward to offering our reef travellers an exceptional helicopter experience in addition to the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas and Cairns.”
Nautilus Aviation Managing Director Aaron Finn said: “Nautilus Aviation is extremely proud to partner with the Quicksilver Group. Together with the strength of our brands we believe there is great synergy between our two Companies and an unwavering commitment to excellence and the delivery of quality experiences in the region. Nautilus Aviation will launch the contract with an additional two factory-new Airbus H130 helicopters, our company’s signature aircraft. The Airbus H130 incorporates the latest technology has great operational performance which combines with excellent visibility and quietness for our passengers.
Quicksilver marine biologist, Dr Glen Burns, has become one of first Master Reef Guides of the Great Barrier…
Quicksilver marine biologist, Dr Glen Burns, has become one of first Master Reef Guides of the Great Barrier Reef, being an official interpreter, storyteller and ambassador for our World Heritage icon.
Delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 13 of the best tourism guides operating along the Reef were selected for the program, covering a comprehensive online training course and field school.
Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said, “Quicksilver is delighted to be involved in this program which aims to enhance our visitor experiences by providing more indepth information about the marine environment in a memorable way. We congratulate Glen on participating in the inaugural program and look forward to more staff across our operations joining the Master Reef Guides program in the near future.”
A marine biologist with over 30 years of experience, Dr Glen Burns said, “We want our visitors to leave us with a better understanding of the environment that they visited. We want them to care about the Reef and if people go home and care, they are more likely to help look after it.”
The Master Reef Guides program covers reef management and protection, responsible practices, citizen science, along with public speaking skills, storytelling and science communication. It is delivered GBRMPA and supported by the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland.
We’re delighted to receive some very positive and insightful comments from foremost coral reef scientists, Dr Charlie Veron…
We’re delighted to receive some very positive and insightful comments from foremost coral reef scientists, Dr Charlie Veron and Dr Dean Miller following their visit to Quicksilver’s Agincourt Reef 3 platform in February.
Dr Veron, widely regarded as the “Godfather of Coral" having named more coral species than anyone in history, said, “I was impressed with the whole facility – well run and safe. It affords an excellent chance to introduce people to The Reef. I was particularly impressed by the marine biologists covering the important topics, a couple being fairly complex, in a way that newcomers to the reef could readily understand.
I saw a large colony of an undescribed Acropora. There have been no discoveries of new corals on the GBR for many years. I only saw this species for the first time on a Legacy trip to Lagoon Reef in the far north, so now we know if occurs in two places."
Dr Dean Miller is the Director Science and Media of Great Barrier Reef Legacy and on documenting the impact of coral bleaching in the region over years, commented , “After seeing so many sites with heavy levels of mortality, it was fantastic to see such good healthy staghorn corals at the pontoon. Quicksilver are clearly doing an incredible job in terms of the tourism experience and as site and coral custodians. To take so many people to the reef day after day, and to have corals in that condition is a testament to their exceptional visitor management. On top of that, the crew were outstanding and demonstrated a passion for their site that was just so great to see. Well done - can't wait to come out again and see more!
www.coralsoftheworld.org captures most of Dr Veron’s life’s work and that of other reef scientists forming the world’s foremost information source about corals.
The Green Island Underwater Observatory was installed in 1954 and after 65 years, sadly the time has come for…
The Green Island Underwater Observatory was installed in 1954 and after 65 years, sadly the time has come for it and the supporting structure to be removed from the Marine Park.
Built from an old Navy dive chamber by Vince Vlasoff and Lloyd Grigg it was the world’s first stationary underwater observatory built with steel plates, girders and ferro-concrete. Unfortunately over the years the structure has become unsound and the materials and finishes have deteriorated and now needs to be removed from the reef environment she has been a part of for so many years.
For the past 6 years the underwater observatory had been closed following a detailed investigation by structural engineers who deemed the facility unsafe. After further consultations with architects and engineers, it became apparent that it was no longer practical or viable to restore. Following extensive consultation with Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Authority advised as per permit requirements the Green Island Underwater Observatory will need to be removed to avoid potential environmental and safety issues.
Tony Baker, Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group said “The Underwater Observatory was an iconic tourist attraction in the early days, however after many discussions with relevant parties we can no longer repair the structure to the required environmental, structural and safety standards required by law. It will always have a unique and special place in the history of Green Island. We will work with Queensland Parks and Wildlife to develop appropriate signage on Green Island dedicated to the history of the Underwater Observatory.”
The removal of the observatory is one of a number of projects to be undertaken at Green Island under the State Government’s Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Fund’s matched funding, ensuring this beautiful destination continues to provide sustainable world class experiences for visitors.
With thanks to Grigg Family for the historic photos featured of the Underwater Observatory.
Over the next 12 months, a number of very exciting projects will be taking place at Green Island…
Over the next 12 months, a number of very exciting projects will be taking place at Green Island Resort enhancing our visitor experiences and environmental sustainability. From refurbishing dining areas to installing more solar and newer, greener energy technology through to innovative waste management systems, we will ensure our beautiful island home remains a jewel in the Great Barrier Reef.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come…
Emeralds Restaurant outdoor terrace and Green's Buffet dining areas will undergo stylish architecturally designed refurbishments which will include new roofing, flooring and weatherproofing enclosures.
Turning glass into sand and food scraps into compost! Waste management systems may not usually be an exciting topic, but with a combination of innovative solutions, general waste volume will be reduced significantly, averting landfill. An innovative food digester will reduce kitchen waste by a remarkable 90% with the byproduct being compost for gardens! A glass crusher will also reduce volume by 90% with the byproduct being sand.
Renewable and greener power: More solar power and the replacement of older technology diesel power generation will collectively reduce carbon emissions by over 620 tonnes per annum. Green Island Resort generates power for all island premises including the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Ranger’s house, Marineland Melanesia and navigational aids on the jetty.
Along with the removal of the underwater observatory, these projects will be jointly undertaken with assistance of the State Government’s Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Program's matched funding, ensuring our beautiful island destination continues to provide sustainable world class experiences for our visitors.
Sailing to Low Isles is about to get a whole lot more luxurious! Wavedancer, our beautiful 30 metre…
Sailing to Low Isles is about to get a whole lot more luxurious! Wavedancer, our beautiful 30 metre sailing catamaran is in the midst of an extensive three month refurbishment.
The vessel’s main cabin has been completely gutted with the refurbishment including a reconfiguration of the layout. This includes new seating arrangements along with a new bar, servery and photographer’s booth while the contemporary interior design and colour scheme features new floor coverings and seating.
The twin hull spaces have also been stripped to provide new change room and toilet facilities on one side and new galley and scullery to the other. Mechanically, two new engines and generators have been installed to complement sailing with all new rigging.
Tony Baker, Managing Director of Quicksilver Group said, “While our entire fleet undergoes annual refits and regular maintenance, we recognise the need to reinvest and keep our products to the standard of a five star, premier reef operator.
Wavedancer’s completely new interior and mechanical refurbishment ensures she meets the highest standards of presentation and comfort for our passengers to have the best facilities available to enjoy their journey and time at the Great Barrier Reef.”
Setting sail daily from Port Douglas, Wavedancer is scheduled to return to her Low Isles operation on 8 April, ready to dance our passengers across the waves for a coral island adventure.
Green Island, with Surf Life Saving Queensland Lifeguards on duty, is one of several Queensland beaches that is now…
Green Island, with Surf Life Saving Queensland Lifeguards on duty, is one of several Queensland beaches that is now connected with SLSQ's world-first technology, Life-Fi.
Life-fi is a free wi-fi service aimed at encouraging beach-goers to swim between the flags on the patrolled beach. It automatically detects your phone's language setting with a live feed of multi-lingual information on beach conditions and safety tips such as wearing lycra suits and sun protection.
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan said the benefits of Life-Fi are two-fold; "it’s a great way to encourage all swimmers to stay between the flags, but it’s also a wonderful platform to provide live information on conditions and safety tips, particularly to international tourists in their own language.”
After a day of showing the wonders of the Reef to our guests, this beautiful photo was captured…
After a day of showing the wonders of the Reef to our guests, this beautiful photo was captured by Wilson Tela, our Great Adventures caretaker at our Moore Reef platform. How's the serenity!
Quicksilver is once again proud to sponsor of the Port Douglas Yacht Club’s 2019 Quicksilver…
Quicksilver is once again proud to sponsor of the Port Douglas Yacht Club’s 2019 Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week. Yachts from all over the coast will come together for a week of sailing, food and fun set against the beautiful backdrop of Low Isles, Snapper Island and the famous Four Mile Beach. The “Skippers Welcome” aboard our very own sailing catamaran, Wavedancer, will set the scene for an exciting week of sailing ahead.
The annual Port Douglas Carnivale is set to shine and with this…
The annual Port Douglas Carnivale is set to shine and with this year’s Street Parade theme of SILVER & SUNSHINE, we couldn't think of a more perfect Quicksilver theme! With a raft of amazing events, food and wine, and entertainment for all ages, it's a wonderful time to visit our beautiful part of the world.
Now synonymous with The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship…
Now synonymous with The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns, our Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island will once again provide a great warm-up in the lead up to the main Ironman event. This amazing reef swim will see competitors tackle 1.5km or 3km swims in the sparkling waters of Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef
Now in its 14th year, our annual Great Adventures Green Island Ocean…
Now in its 14th year, our annual Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim will once again welcome swimmers to compete in 500m, 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 book online at http://www.green-island.com.au/oceanswim
Blue tangs are a species of Surgeonfish commonly found throughout the Indo-Pacific, and of course, right here on the Great Barrier Reef. These beauties were pictured at their Agincourt Reef home. You may also recognise this fish as Dory, Nemo’s goofy friend from the movie Finding Nemo.
Their body is basically flat and oval in shape with a small mouth for grazing on algae. They have very distinctive colours. When snorkelling or diving, look for a vibrant electric blue body with bold black markings and a yellow tail. They usually live in pairs or in small groups. Blue tangs are generally found on the seaward edge of coral reefs as they prefer high current areas.
Thanks to Indepth Photography for this great shot.
We're delighted to introduce Michelle Murray who joins as our new Business Events Sales Executive. Michelle has been…
We're delighted to introduce Michelle Murray who joins as our new Business Events Sales Executive. Michelle has been part of our Quicky family for over 12 years and has previoulsy worked across Reservations, Customer Service and crew aboard Quicksilver's daily reef cruises, with an intimate knowledge of our wonderful range of experiences.
Michelle can be contacted at [email protected]
A magical day!!!! We saw so much including a shark, a turtle and a Nemo fish plus thousands more at 3 different sites! The crew were really friendly, professional and clearly passionate about The Reef. At each site we were shown our area for snorkelling and they explained what we might see. Safety was a big part of the day but not in a stifling way, just in a really good way. The food was delicious. All in all a perfect day. Do hire the underwater camera if you do the trip, they're good cameras and we've got wonderful memories of our day. Can't recommend highly enough!!!