Issue #1, 2023
G'day from Port Douglas, Cairns and the wonderful Great Barrier Reef
As the weather cools down South, the Tropical North Queensland sun is out for a Winter warmer and favourite time of year.
In the Year of Accessible Tourism, Quicksilver Dive has achieved a Queensland first, becoming a PADI Adaptive Service Facility, opening up the world of scuba for many more people.
Meanwhile, our environmental teams have been busy undertaking important monitoring and conservation work as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Tourism Reef Protection Initiative, as well as taking part in the global Coralpalooza™ event planting hundreds of corals at a Green Island dive site.
And can you believe it’s 20 years since our favourite little orange fish Nemo warmed our hearts and ignited a love affair for a new generation to see the wonderful Great Barrier Reef. The Australian launch of Finding Nemo took place on Green Island in 2003!
Whale season has kicked off with the arrival of the minke whales and that means Pro Dive Cairns liveaboard minke encounter trips are underway too. The humpbacks will soon be joining them to enjoy the Winter warmth, providing a bonus experience for customers lucky enough to spot them during our reef trips.
We hope you enjoy catching up with the latest news from the Quicksilver Group
In the Year of Accessible Tourism, Quicksilver Dive in Port Douglas has become the first PADI Adaptive Service…
In the Year of Accessible Tourism, Quicksilver Dive in Port Douglas has become the first PADI Adaptive Service Facility in Queensland, and proudly the only facility of its kind on the Great Barrier Reef to hold this accreditation.
Opened in 2018, Quicksilver Dive’s state of the art diver training centre is now one of only four facilities in Australia with PADI Adaptive Service Facility accreditation.
Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said this is a wonderful acknowledgement. “We strive where possible to make our tourism experiences inclusive and accessible. This includes opening up the world of scuba to people with special needs. It means that we can take even more people diving, including those with varying levels of mobility.”
PADI Global Adaptive Techniques Coordinator Fraser Bathgate said, “This recognition means that Quicksilver Dive is able to give an open-door policy to all who wish to take part in recreational scuba diving and associated courses. This status shows that your centre is fully accessible to everyone, not just for training but to all aspects of the diving family.”
“On behalf of PADI I would like to thank you for your support in promoting accessibility which will offer a chance for those with different abilities in accessing the underwater world.”
Chris Snel, Quicksilver Dive School Operations Manager said, “Our skilled dive instructors are focused on diver abilities and can apply adaptive teaching techniques when training and diving with people with special needs; people who may have previously thought diving was not accessible to them. As with all diving, age and medical conditions apply.”
In addition, significant investment in the centre’s infrastructure such as a lift, ramps, disabled facilities and wheelchair access to classrooms and the training pool ensures the needs of divers of all abilities are met.
The Quicksilver Group’s environmental teams have been busy undertaking important monitoring and conservation work as part of the…
The Quicksilver Group’s environmental teams have been busy undertaking important monitoring and conservation work as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Tourism Reef Protection Initiative.
Following the success of the initial program conducted throughout 20-2021, the new $15 million initiative has dual aims; conservation and protection of high value tourism sites within the World Heritage Marine Park, and the support of the reef tourism industry’s post pandemic recovery.
“Over the course of 18 months, our experienced marine biologists and dive teams will be conducting around 150 activity days dedicated to reef stewardship initiatives spanning from the Agincourt reefs north of Port Douglas to Moore Reef south of Cairns,” said Doug Baird, Quicksilver Group Environment and Compliance Manager.
Eye on the Reef Weekly monitoring data, which is generated by trained staff conducting a timed swim over a known area and noting key species, is being collected at key sites. As well as this monitoring, Reef Health Impact Surveys and Photo Point Enhancement surveys, permitted site intervention such as crown of thorns starfish (COTS) and drupella removal (known coral predators) where required, and coral nurturing projects are being conducted.
Through Stewardship plans of our key sites, the information gathered will inform GBRMPA about what is happening at our sites locally, and when the data from other operators involved in the initiative is added, a reef-wide perspective allows any changes to be identified.
Administered by GBRMPA, 26 Queensland reef tourism operators are participating in the Tourism Reef Protection Initiative providing services along the length of the Great Barrier Reef. The Initiative runs until the end of June 2024.
Swapping the red carpet for green, it's been 20 years since the Australian launch of Finding Nemo took…
Swapping the red carpet for green, it's been 20 years since the Australian launch of Finding Nemo took place on Green Island!
At the time in August 2003, then Premier of Queensland Peter Beattie said, “This movie, which highlights the adventures of a clownfish hailing from the Great Barrier Reef, is the highest grossing animated movie of all time. Finding Nemo showcases the Reef in a way no movie has done before, and I hope audiences will be inspired to come and visit the real thing. Education programs are but one of the spin-offs from this movie. Importantly, this is probably the most significant worldwide promotion of the Great Barrier Reef ever in our history, which is important for tourism and jobs.”
Joining in the launch festivities were the film’s director and writer, Andrew Stanton and co-director Lee Unkrich who are pictured with former Premier Peter Beattie.
Fun fact, Andrew Stanton was also the voice of the thoroughly cool dude turtle, Crush.
Twenty years on, visitors from all over the world are still Finding Nemo.
Showing guests the reef with informed eyes, answering those questions you’ve always wanted to know and creating reef…
Showing guests the reef with informed eyes, answering those questions you’ve always wanted to know and creating reef ambassadors is all in a day’s work for our Reef Biosearch marine biologists.
Founded by a small dedicated team of Port Douglas marine biologists back in 1986, Reef Biosearch, the Quicksilver Group's pioneering environmental division, now boasts the largest tourism based marine biology team operating on the Great Barrier Reef.
With over 20 university qualified marine biologists, our Reef Biosearch teams deliver knowledge, understanding and appreciation through professional marine interpretation onboard our range of reef trips based in Port Douglas and Cairns.
Where to meet the Reef Biosearch teams daily:
They also regularly travel aboard our dive and snorkel vessels Silversonic and Poseidon from Port Douglas, often involved with our sustainability activities (see the Tourism Reef Protection Initiative in this newsletter).
Education is a powerful conservation tool and we hope that each and every visitor leaves us as ambassadors for reef protection.
For a limited time, Pro Dive Cairns special three-day, three-night Minke encounter liveaboard trips are back.
For a limited time, Pro Dive Cairns special three-day, three-night Minke encounter liveaboard trips are back.
Departing every Tuesday from 30 May with last trip on 1 August, the Pro Dive Cairns team will be travelling to the minke hotspots at the ribbon reefs off Port Douglas and Cooktown where we find the most consistent opportunity for this remarkable experience.
Pro Dive Cairns General Manager, Paul Lim said, “This liveaboard trip is perfect for the diver looking for that next level of marine life encounter. It’s a unique experience that words can’t describe for anyone that has had a minke whale encounter."
While minke's operate on their own schedule and no encounter can ever be guaranteed, this liveaboard trip visits multiple sites popular with migrating minkes, so encounters each trip are highly likely.
Minke whales are curious animals. When encountered, a line is placed in the water which the swimmers hold onto and the minkes tend to swim in closer and closer as they become more confident.
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. Quicksilver’s Silversonic dive and snorkel day trips departing from Port Douglas also have a permit to swim with minkes.
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.
The Quicksilver Group strives where possible to make our tourism experiences inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities…
The Quicksilver Group strives where possible to make our tourism experiences inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities and accessibility needs. Scuba diving engages all your senses and our dive teams have over the years been able to share the underwater world with vision-impaired guests. And now Quicksilver Dive brings dive courses to even more people with PADI Adaptive Service Facility accreditation (see more information in this issue). Carers with a companion card travel at discounted fares and assistance dogs are welcome.
In the Year of Accessible Tourism, we’d like to highlight the best suited Great Barrier Reef experiences for guests with mobility issues.
Outer Reef Experience - Quicksilver Cruises
A unique feature at our Agincourt Reef activity platform is the chair lift which enables disabled passengers to be lowered into the water to enjoy snorkelling.
At the platform, there are ramp facilities from the vessel between the levels of the platform, however access to the underwater observatory, swim platforms and semi-submersibles is by stairs only.
Our wharf facilities in Port Douglas have boarding ramps suitable for wheelchairs. Onboard our wavepiercer catamarans Quicksilver VIII and Quicksilver V, there are oversized toilet cubicles suitable for most wheelchair passengers.
Island Experience - Great Adventures Green Island & Green Island Resort
Green Island’s wide paved or timber pathways are easy for wheelchairs to access, as is the jetty – perfect for some turtle spotting. There is a boardwalk through the rainforest into the centre of the Island to explore the flora and birdlife. The sandy beach for access to the water is not accessible by wheelchair. The glass bottom boat is only accessible via a number of steps.
The day visitor area has disabled toilet facilities and easy access to the food outlets.
At our Cairns jetty and Green Island, Great Adventures catamarans have boarding ramp gangways able to accommodate standard sized wheelchairs, however larger motorised wheelchairs may not be suitable. Depending on tidal conditions, at times there may be a few steps at the end of the gangway onto the jetty. We recommend contacting our reservations staff 24 hours prior to travel to ensure the most appropriate departure times regarding tide.
Green Island Resort has an Island Suite configured for wheelchair access to the room and bathroom facilities, with the room located in easy access to central facilities and boardwalks.
For more information about wheelchair accessibility across our operations, or contact our friendly reservations teams for advice.
Adding to the Quicksilver Group’s ecotourism accolades, our Poseidon Outer Reef Cruises joins Quicksilver, Great Adventures and Green…
Adding to the Quicksilver Group’s ecotourism accolades, our Poseidon Outer Reef Cruises joins Quicksilver, Great Adventures and Green Island Resort in Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame having now been accredited with Advanced Ecotourism for 20 continuous years.
Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Officer Elissa Keenan said this was a remarkable achievement to celebrate. “It is fantastic to see leading ecotourism operators engage tourists in sustainable experiences that build knowledge and foster environmental and cultural appreciation.”
Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group's managing Director said, "Being ecotourism certified provides a foundation to sustainable operations and also lets our customers know the value we place in our environment. We get to showcase the incredible Great Barrier Reef to a global community and share the importance of protecting our natural environments for future generations."
Quicksilver’s Port Douglas based operations entered the Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame in 2018, having been continuously accredited since 1997.
The Quicksilver Group’s full range of Great Barrier Reef products are all Advanced Ecotourism certified and are recognised as High Standard Operators by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
From Tokyo to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef – the long way! It was great to welcome…
From Tokyo to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef – the long way! It was great to welcome Japanese adventurer @Uni.Kick for a Green Island & Great Barrier Rref Adventure after travelliing by kick scooter from Melbourne to Cairns. While at Great Adventures platform, he got to experience a different kind of scooter - the very cool Scuba Doo underwater scooter taking in the sights of Moore Reef. Uni covered over 3500 km in 124 days, all while raising money for charity. What an incredible journey and accomplishment!
It was wonderful to welcome the winners of the inaugural Run4Reef event to Port Douglas and a day out…
It was wonderful to welcome the winners of the inaugural Run4Reef event to Port Douglas and a day out on Quicksilver to experience the Reef. Thirty eight winners and partners from across Australia and NZ attended the grand finale in Port Douglas. Quicksilver was delighted to be the reef partner for the event.
A team of Great Adventures marine biologists joined the global Coralpalooza™ event…
A team of Great Adventures marine biologists joined the global Coralpalooza™ event celebrating World Oceans Day by outplanting hundreds of coral fragments at a Green Island dive site. Coralpalooza™ is the biggest international day of collaborative action for coral reefs and building resilience to climate change.
For the first time, Australia has participated in the event, partnered by The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Coral Nurture Program with the aim to assist recovery and research at high-value reef locations. Over 45 divers from tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays participated to plant over 6,700 coral fragments on the day.
As the perfect warm up event for the annual Cairns Ironman, the…
As the perfect warm up event for the annual Cairns Ironman, the Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island saw enthusiastic swimmers take on the 1.5 km and 3km course.
First held in 2011, we’re proud to partner for this iconic Great Barrier Reef event. Good luck to all the competitors tackling the Ironman and we look forward to another great event next year.
This year’s Street Parade theme was Living the Best Life and the…
This year’s Street Parade theme was Living the Best Life and the Quicky crew shone bright as luminescent jellyfish, showing just how it’s done!
Quicksilver was also delighted to again sponsor the Sand Sculpting Competition for the 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 and put May 24-26, 2024 in the diary!
Clownfish, or Anemonefish are a type of damselfish that are only found living symbiotically with sea anemones. Anemones use stinging cells to catch small prey. Clownfish, however, can live amongst the tentacles without getting stung! How do they do this? They rub up against the anemone to coat themselves with the mucous that is produced by the anemone. Once coated, they can move freely amongst the anemones’ tentacles.
A single anemone can host lots of clown fish, depending on its size. The largest member of the group is nearly always a female, and the rest are generally immature males. If the female dies, or is removed from the anemone, the next most dominant male will assume custody of the clan, and over a week or two will change sex into a fully functional female. By rights, Nemo’s dad, Marlin, should have been a female half way through the movie!
Phil is our Cairns Operations Reef Biosearch Manager, and Master Reef Guide, leading our team of marine biologists…
Phil is our Cairns Operations Reef Biosearch Manager, and Master Reef Guide, leading our team of marine biologists and Reef Ed Program for school groups.
Growing up in Cairns, it’s no surprise his love and fascination for the underwater world has led to an extensive career in Marine Biology including a curatorial role at an Oceanarium, tour guiding roles on the GBR to heading and developing the education and conservation initiatives for the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, Western Australia for nearly 20 years.
Back in Cairns since 2019, our customers and staff benefit from his passion, depth of experience and knowledge.
I travelled with Quicksilver and felt compelled to get in touch to say thank you. My partner and I did the intro scuba diving and some snorkelling and had the most fantastic time. We both wanted to send a special thanks to Emma for her kindness and her professionalism which made our experience so positive. Despite the choppy waters, popping ears and lots of nerves, she ensured we felt safe and supported while giving us opportunities to look around the reef and swim on our own for moments. We have come from Ireland to travel the east coast and have been doing lots of different tours and activities - not one has lived up to our day on Quicksilver.
Green Island Resort - Conservation activities with Marine Biologist: Starting July 2023 for Green Island Resort house guests, a Reef Biosearch Marine Biologist will present activities including beach walk (Mon) and glass bottom boat tour (Fri) to the coral rehabilitation research site. Available 10am - 11am Monday and Friday.