Issue #1, 2022
G’day from Port Douglas, Cairns and the wonderful Great Barrier Reef!
With more stability and positive signs ahead, it's been great to welcome so many visitors to our region to enjoy a Winter holiday in the Tropics.
COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer required for our reef experiences and with the relaxing of Australian border restrictions, we look forward to welcoming back many more international visitors.
Great Adventures Green Island Cruises have now recommenced daily services, and starting from 17 September we’re excited to announce Ocean Spirit’s Michaelmas Cay cruise will be back in operation.
A wonderful addition to the Green Island experience is a brand new indigenous tourism product now available with Great Adventures. The Gungganji and Yidinji Traditional Owners have commenced Wunyami Cultural Walking Tours, providing an authentic indigenous experience for visitors to Green Island.
In this issue of Quickies, we also look at coral nurturing research projects being undertaken for reef resilience and sustainability, including the remarkable outcome from restoring a cyclone impacted coral bommie. You wont believe the before and after!
We hope you enjoy catching up with the latest news from the Quicksilver Group.
A traditional smoking ceremony and ceremonial dancers treated guests on Green Island - Wunyami - for the official launch of…
A traditional smoking ceremony and ceremonial dancers treated guests on Green Island - Wunyami - for the official launch of a brand new indigenous tourism product now available with Great Adventures. The Gunggandji and Yidinji Traditional Owners have commenced Wunyami Cultural Walking Tours, providing an authentic indigenous experience for visitors to Green Island.
It was also a pleasure to welcome Michael Healy, Member for Cairns and Assistant Minister for Tourism, and our former Director of Sales and Marketing, to officially launch the new venture.
Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker said, “The Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour is 100% indigenous owned and operated. It’s a wonderful addition to the island experience bringing traditional stories to life and a whole new perspective to the cultural history”.
Wunyami, which means “Place of Spirits” is Green Island’s original name. The tour, designed for small groups, is very engaging and interactive, providing a fascinating insight for children and adults alike. Participants learn about traditional food and medicinal uses of the rainforest plants, participate in traditional fire lighting techniques and can learn about cultural importance of clay painting.
Elders Gudju Gudju Fourmile and Garth Murgha (Muka) say,” Our guides explain how the island is connected to an ancient journey of two ancestorial story-time beings who fought and formed the island and who still protect it today. This story is shared by the GuruGulu Gunggandji people (Yarrabah) and the Gimuy Yidinji people (Cairns). Our guides tell of the relationship of these warriors and the connectivity of this iconic island to the ancient seascape.”
Guides have been given special permission from their elders to share the stories of the island and the Great Barrier Reef with all who come on this tour.
The new business venture also includes the Black Seahorse gift shop which has opened in Green Island Resort’s day visitor area, selling a range of authentic indigenous artworks and merchandise. The shop draws its name from the Black Seahorse, a known lucky charm for the saltwater women of the Great Barrier Reef in memory of Alma Fourmile (nee Patterson Katchewan).
The Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour are available daily and takes approximately 1 hour. Tours can be pre-booked with Great Adventures Reef and Green Island Cruises or from the Black Seahorse gift shop on the island.
Main photo: Pictured left to right cutting the ribbon to the Black Seahorse Shop are Michael Healy, Gunggandji Elders June Noble and Dorita Wilson, Tony Baker.
After nearly two and a half years, we're excited to announce Ocean Spirit's Michaelmas Cay cruise is recommencing from 17…
After nearly two and a half years, we're excited to announce Ocean Spirit's Michaelmas Cay cruise is recommencing from 17 September. The beautiful 32 metre (105ft) sailing catamaran is undergoing refit to be ship shape and in top condition to welcome guests aboard.
Sail, snorkel, dive, relax. A day with Ocean Spirit can be as leisurely or active as you choose. Snorkel from the cay’s protected shallow waters, view the corals from a glass bottom boat or take some time to observe the island’s fascinating birds. Michaelmas Cay is a National Park and very important protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds, perfect for keen bird watchers. The reef surrounding the cay is renowned for an abundance of giant clams and sea turtles amongst a myriad of colourful marine life.
Throughout the day, the “beach buggy” transfers guests between Ocean Spirit and the beach. To protect this special bird sanctuary, access on the cay is limited to the roped beach area. Optional activites include introductory scuba diving and marine biologist guided snorkel tours to learn much more about the reef and the creatures that inhabit it.
Or if you prefer, just relax on the beach or onboard Ocean Spirit’s spacious decks. A perfect finishing touch to the day is a glass of complimentary sparkling wine on the way home. A Five Star day on the Reef!
For more information about Ocean Spirit's Michaelmas Cay Cruise
In July 2018, Quicksilver embarked on an Australian-first collaborative reef research and restoration project with scientists from Reef…
In July 2018, Quicksilver embarked on an Australian-first collaborative reef research and restoration project with scientists from Reef Ecologic to restore a cyclone impacted coral bommie. Four years later, the results speak for themselves (see the photo gallery).
“This project has been highly successful with significant increase in coral coverage and survival of relocated colonies. Important knowledge has also been gained in reef resilience and coral nurturing techniques,” said Quicksilver Group Environment and Compliance Manager, Doug Baird.
Located at Quicksilver’s Agincourt 3 platform, the small coral bommie under restoration was impacted by cyclonic waves several years prior and with an unstable substrate, natural recovery was impeded.
With GBRMPA approval, the project entailed the installation of six steel mesh panels of 1.5 x 3 metres size to grow coral ‘recruits’ of which three were initially connected to a power source. This was the first time this type of project had been conducted in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.
“This was a marriage of science and innovation coming together and we’re extremely pleased with the fantastic outcome, building resilience into this site and enhancing this specific coral bommie. The platform was the perfect base for our team of marine biologists and trained divers to manage and regularly monitor progress,” said Tony Baker, Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group.
Coral reefs around the world are susceptible to many types of impacts both natural and man-made and coral nurturing research is highly topical. The Agincourt Reef project is just one of three collaborative projects the Quicksilver Group is currently undertaking, each using different techniques suited to the reef location.
Other projects are underway at Great Adventures Moore Reef and Green Island.
“We’ve learned a great deal through these coral nurturing projects and recognise it is not a ‘one size fits all’; different techniques are suited in specific applications,” said Doug Baird.
Commenced in 2019, the project at Great Adventures Moore Reef is a collaboration with University of Technology Sydney. Coral recruits are grown in a nursery, then using an innovative coral clip, are attached to the substrate.
In 2020, another innovative project was commenced at our Green Island “New York” site. This involved attaching coral fragments to a web of 165 hexagonal frame “Stars”, additional coral fragments attached with coral clips, as well as a trial of biodegradable cable ties. This is a multi-stakeholder project with partners including MARS Sustainable Solutions, GBRMPA & QPWS and Gunggandji Land and Sea Rangers.
“By making the project sites visible to divers and snorkellers, they can gain further understanding of reef systems and the type of research being done to support reef resilience and the long term sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef. Our marine biologists and master reef guides also provide the opportunity for guests to learn more about these projects during their reef experiences.”
For the second year, Pro Dive Cairns have been running Minke Whale trips to the Ribbon Reefs and once…
For the second year, Pro Dive Cairns have been running Minke Whale trips to the Ribbon Reefs and once again, the whales haven’t disappointed! The 3 Day / 3 Night trips have been departing weekly during June and July to the Great Barrier Reef’s renowned Ribbon Reefs north of Cairns, where we find the most consistent opportunity for this remarkable experience.
Pro Dive Cairns General Manager, Paul Lim said, "The minke whales are quite curious animals. We place a line in the water which the swimmers hold onto and we find the minkes tend to swim in closer and closer each time as they become more confident. It’s a unique experience that words can’t describe for everybody that has a minke whale encounter."
The whole encounter is conducted under strict guidelines and Pro Dive Cairns has one of the few permits from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to swim with the dwarf minkes. it’s actually the naturally inquisitive minkes that decide how close they interact and swim with us.
The dwarf minke whale is the smallest baleen whale - growing up to 8 metres long with adults weighing in at 5-6 tonnes! As well as the minke encounters, divers are able to enjoy up to 10 exciting dives at the Agincourt ribbon reefs, Ribbon Reef 10 and Ribbon Reef 3.
Green Island Resort has launched a new app for guests, providing a general introduction to the island and…
Green Island Resort has launched a new app for guests, providing a general introduction to the island and Resort as well as a guide to some of the activities available to enjoy during their stay on beautiful Green Island.
Guests can scan the QR Code for information about their stay at Green Island Resort or go to https://app.greenislandresort.com.au
As well as being a great addition for our guests, as part of our commitment to environmental sustainability, we’re also reducing our footprint with reduced printed materials.
The app can easily be added to a guest’s home screen of their phone or tablet if desired or viewed though their browser.
Did you know Quicksilver's activity platform at Agincourt Reef 3 has a unique water powerd chair lift? It is…
Did you know Quicksilver's activity platform at Agincourt Reef 3 has a unique water powerd chair lift? It is a wonderful feature that enables passengers that are confined to a wheelchair or with mobility issues to be lowered into the weightless environment of the reef to snorkel and explore at their own pace. Quicksilver's fully qualified lifeguards are on hand to supervise for an enjoyable experience. The specially designed chair lift has a weight restriction of 90kg. Quicksilver's double story activity platform also has ramps between the levels providing wheelchair access to the snorkel platform.
The Green Island Living Classroom, a curriculum based educational program and facility launched last year by Great Adventures,…
The Green Island Living Classroom, a curriculum based educational program and facility launched last year by Great Adventures, is proving to be a resounding success in showcasing education on the Great Barrier Reef.
With island, reef and rainforest together, along with a dedicated classroom facility and led by Quicksilver Group marine biologists, the Green Island Living Classroom has been praised by teachers as providing place-based education at its best.
“More than 1,000 local Cairns students have participated in the Green Island Living Classroom over the past four months with many more booked through to the end of the school year from across the State,” said Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director.
“In addition, we’re also facilitating Green Island Living Classroom Camps with students staying at Green Island Resort.”
One such group from Trinity Bay State High School is part of the Young Indigenous Women's STEM Academy 2022 in which 25 young Indigenous girls from Year 7 to 9 are participating.
Maree Taylor of Sea Country Education said, “We are showcasing Citizen Science data collection that comprises Benthic Surveys, Coral Watch and sea grass transects. The girls have completed their first camp and will be returning later in the year. We are thrilled to be helping them to toward successful careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”
University of Qld Sustainable Development students are also participating in camp activities focusing on Green Island sustainable management systems.
While on Green Island, students are able to participate in glass bottom boat and guided snorkelling tours, rainforest investigations, tour Green Island Resort’s ‘back of house’ environmental management systems, as well as access to a leading edge coral research project.
Short video: Marine biologist guided snorkel tour is a great learning experience, part of the Green Island Living Classroom.
For more information about the Green Island Living Classroom, contact Great Adventures reservations team.
A group of very excited scuba divers with Great Adventures Cruises at Green Island were treated to a…
A group of very excited scuba divers with Great Adventures Cruises at Green Island were treated to a rare encounter with a young adult dugong.. Estimated to be around 2 metres in length, this was the first dugong sighting recorded by Great Adventures divers at Green Island in several years. It was also the first ever sighting for videographer Dan (DD) Liu and two very lucky introductory divers on holiday from Ballarat Victoria.
“It was so exciting to see! He was very curious swimming near us as the group were diving on a nearby coral bommie. He came close within about 4 metres, swimming away and then coming back for another look before swimming off over the seagrass beds,” said DD
Dugongs, often called sea cows, as they graze shallow seagrass meadows (eating up to 40kg a day!) are found across the tropical belt in Australia. They reach a length of 3 metres, live up to 70 years of age and can weigh as much as 400kg.
“Dugongs are fascinating mammals, sharing a common ancestor with elephants, and early sailors are believed to have confused them for mythical mermaids,” said Quicksilver Group Environment Compliance Manager, Doug Baird.
“They are most closely related to the manatee, their northern hemisphere relative. They resemble a large dolphin but lack a dorsal fin and have an upper lip covered in thick bristles. They are well designed for aquatic life, with nostrils situated on top of their heads so they can breathe, and have a large, strong tail that propels them through the water. Their eyes and ears are on the side of their heads. Although their eyesight is poor, they have an acute sense of hearing.”
Dugong are threatened on a worldwide scale and in Australia, are a protected species under various legislation including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
This important sighting will be reported to GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef monitoring program contributing valuable information about these endangered creatures as well as the long-term protection and management of the reef.
10 lucky prize winners joined Dave and Inkie from STAR FM breakfast radio for the experience of a…
10 lucky prize winners joined Dave and Inkie from STAR FM breakfast radio for the experience of a lifetime - scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef for the first time! Dave & Inkie's Deep Dive gave locals the opportunity to experience the magic of scuba and the wonders of the Reef with Silverswift, our Cairns based dive and snorkel boat.
Quicksilver is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Port Douglas Gran Fondo…
Quicksilver is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Port Douglas Gran Fondo Festival. The three day event features 136 km and 100 km Gran Fondo courses and a 48km Medio Fondo (medium ride). The stunning course takes riders along the Great Barrier Reef Drive coastline between Port Douglas and Palm Cove which will be closed to traffic on Sunday 11 September.
An early morning on the Great Barrier Reef is the way to…
An early morning on the Great Barrier Reef is the way to start your day. Add in over 100 eager swimmers, 1.5 km and 3km events and you have the Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island – the perfect warm-up ocean swim for Ironman Cairns.
Competitors had the unique experience of swimming in the Great Barrier Reef seeing turtles, coral bommies and colourful reef fish as they tackled the course.
Congratulations to all the competitors and we look forward to another great event in 2023!
Quicksilver was delighted to sponsor the Sand Sculpting Competition for the annual…
Quicksilver was delighted to sponsor the Sand Sculpting Competition for the annual Port Douglas Carnivale Family Beach Day. Congratulations to the very creative sculptors! Make May the time to visit Port Douglas to be part of next year's tropical carnivale in paradise!
The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 5000 different species of Molluscs, which include the well-known giant clams and triton shells to colourful nudibranchs, and cephalopods like squid and cuttlefish. Molluscs are an integral part of the reef, providing a source of food for many of the reef creatures, and in turn helping to control algal growth, as many are herbivorous grazers.
The large giant clams have algae in their tissues that photosynthesise, meaning all they need to do is get nice clear water and plenty of sunshine (two things we have plenty of on the Great Barrier Reef!) and they will survive quite happily. The giant clams can reach over 1 metre in length and weigh up to 300kg. It is weight alone that keeps them on the sea floor. They can live up to 100 years - the stories they could tell!
Aidan is Quicksilver’s new Engineering Workshop Manager, behind the scenes leading the workshop team that keep our fleet…
Aidan is Quicksilver’s new Engineering Workshop Manager, behind the scenes leading the workshop team that keep our fleet ship-shape and ready for our customers. Aidan has a long association of over 15 years with Quicksilver, originally as a diver, going onto become a Skipper and Engineer, including time on our support vessel Kalina based at Agincourt Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is a special place but I didn’t realise how beautiful it was going to be until we were there. ALL the staff were sooo kind and friendly. And so knowledgeable... The boat ride was smooth and we had plenty of room to move about... It was so spacious on the pontoon and lots of undercover areas to take a break from the sun. There’s a semi submersible boat to take you along the reef for a look at the fish and coral. It was really informative and interesting to see the coral from this angle.
Probably our most cherished moment was the helicopter trip we took from the pontoon. At an additional cost it takes you up and over the reef. The guys were super nice and again nothing was a problem and they gave you all the information of the area. Through tears of joy I could see all the colours of the reef. It’s so worth the extra cost as I’ll dream of that trip forever. The day ended far too soon for my liking (despite being out all day and getting kissed by the tropical sunshine). The trip back was enjoyable. Take a moment to sit outside and take in the bluest blue water our country has to offer.
Thank you Quicksilver for the best day. When we come back I won’t hesitate to do your tour again.