Issue# 143, 2014

Welcome to our Spring issue of Quickies,

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

With the temperatures on the rise and the mango trees in bloom, Spring in the tropics is definitely in the air! And what a great time it is to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef!

It was an added bonus for some lucky passengers and crew with minke and humpback whale sightings on our daily reef cruises, and even the elusive famed white humpback, Migaloo, was spotted fleetingly off Green Island heading north to Port Douglas.

The impending annual coral spawning phenomenon is once again anticipated in the later months of the year and for avid divers, a liveaboard trip is a perfect opportunity to witness this special natural event with night diving.

We hope you enjoy catching up on our latest news showcasing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Enjoy a break with our latest Quickies!
With warm tropical wishes from the Quicksilver Group Crew.


AG2 Platform gets a Facelift

Our engineering teams have certainly been kept busy with major refurbishments of our fleet and equipment. Following the recent refurbishment of Great Adventures' Moore Reef activity platform, Ocean Spirit and Quicksilver VIII, our Quicksilver Agincourt Reef 2 platform is now undergoing a major facelift and is currently high and dry at BSE Cairns Slipway.

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Pictured here, she is being towed in from the very edge of the Outer Reef in a journey that took approximately 20 hours. While annual refits and maintenance are conducted, this is the first time she has been towed back to the mainland in 18 years for a complete refurbishment.

Tony Baker, Quicksilver Group Managing Director said, "This continued investment into our fleet and assets reflects our commitment to our region's tourism industry and ensures the best possible facilities available on the Great Barrier Reef for our customers to experience our amazing collection of reef products."

Cairns Cup goes for a dive on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is known for its underwater treasure trove but a different kind of treasure has been seen on an aquatic adventure with Quicksilver at Agincourt Reef!

Quicksilver diver instructor Brindley, took the 'infamous' 1947 Cairns Cup horseracing trophy on an underwater journey in the iconic waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Much like some of the marine life on the reef, the prized trophy has led a colourful and mysterious life, believed to have been lost in the Cairns Trinity Inlet around 1959, only to be fished out by some local children several years later and used as a fun childhood fishing cup prize. Long forgotten, this year it resurfaced and was returned to the Cairns Jockey Club.

Celebrating the 103rd running of the Cairns Cup this year, the Cairns Jockey Club thought it would be a novel idea to take the infamous 1947 Cup for another underwater adventure. In 2012 Quicksilver took Australia's most famous trophy, the Melbourne Cup on an underwater dive on the Great Barrier Reef, this time though protected in a watertight clear casing.

Pictured with the 1947 Cairns Cup at Agincourt Reef are:
- Underwater with the Cup is Quicksilver Diver Brindley
- Bluey Forsythe (ABC Radio and Win TV Sports presenter) and Jeff Mizen (Promotions manager at Brothers, naming rights sponsor for the Cairns Cup).

Coral Spawning Night Dives with Pro Dive Cairns

The annual phenomenon of Coral Spawning on the Great Barrier Reef is heading our way and the team at Pro Dive Cairns will be offering front row seats to witness the event with a liveaboard dive trip and exciting night diving.

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While it's often difficult to predict the exact dates when this will occur due to the contributing factors, the earliest prediction for Coral Spawning this year is around 11- 13 November depending on water temperatures, or alternatively between 10-12 December.

This simultaneous mass spawning of corals was first scientifically observed in 1981 by several marine biologists and it's Mother Nature's way of maintaining a consistently robust coral gene pool. Predicting when this will occur is not an exact science but does rely on several environmental cues. The ocean temperature needs to be 26 degrees celcius or above for the month before for the gametes to mature. Secondly, they will generally reproduce 4 to 6 nights after the full moon in November or December when there is little tidal movement. Thirdly, it will generally be about 2-3 hours after the sun sets, because it's nice and romantic! But more importantly most of the plankton feeders will be asleep, giving the eggs more time to settle to the relative safety of the reef.

While not guaranteed, if you would like to experience this amazing natural event with a 3 Day / 2 Night Liveaboard Dive Trip, contact the team at Pro Dive Cairns [email protected] for more information.


Whale of a time

With the inquisitive minkes and majestic humpbacks paying us a visit, here's a snapshot of some of their antics captured by our passengers and crew.

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A curious dwarf Minke Whale eyeing off Silversonic's lucky snorkellers!

Dive & Snorkel Adventures with Poseidon

With Poseidon Outer Reef Cruises recently joining the Quicksilver Group family, we'd like to introduce you to a day aboard this fantastic reef trip that perfectly complements our boutique day dive and snorkel vessels, Silversonic in Port Douglas, and Silverswift in Cairns.

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Departing daily from Port Douglas, the 24metre Poseidon is designed for personalised dive and snorkel adventures. With a special roaming permit to visit three different and unique reef site environments daily, like Silversonic, Poseidon takes you into the stunning Agincourt ribbon reefs - one of the most pristine reef systems of the entire Great Barrier Reef.

Catering for snorkellers, introductory and certified divers, daily passenger numbers are capped at 85 to ensure personalised service and attention. Poseidon also has a special permit allowing guests to swim with the Dwarf Minke Whales in season and is accredited with Advanced Ecotourism Certification.

Poseidon departs Port Douglas at 8.30am and returns at 4.30pm.

Your day aboard Poseidon includes:

  • Return coach transfers from Port Douglas accommodation.
  • Return Poseidon cruise from Port Douglas Port Douglas Marina.
  • Morning tea, coffee with fresh muffins and focaccia on boarding; afternoon tea with cake and tropical fruit platter.
  • Tropical buffet lunch with prawns.
  • Reef interpretation talk.
  • Guided snorkel tour with marine biologist.
  • Snorkel equipment and instruction provided.
  • Lycra suits and flotation devices.
  • Equipment and wetsuit provided for divers.
  • Prescription masks available at no extra cost.

    Optional Extras:

  • Introductory Scuba Diving
  • Certified Scuba Diving
  • Wetsuits available for hire on board
  • Professional photographer service on board.
Visit www.poseidon-cruises.com.au for more information.

Locky the Legend!

In a wonderful success story and testament to training opportunities, we're delighted to congratulate Lachlan Crocker - or "Locky the Legend" as he is now known, for winning an Australian Vocational Student of the Year Prize.

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Great Adventures mentored and provided Lachlan's school based traineeship for the past two years while he attended Trinity Bay State High School to complete Grade 11 & 12, and one day per week, worked as a deckhand on Great Adventures to complete his Certificate II in Transport and Distribution (Coastal Maritime Operations - Coxswain).

Commenting on his past 2 years with the Quicksilver Group HR Manager Tess Pinches said, "We are absolutely delighted with the progress Lachlan has made. It is a tremendous accolade to see him start out from high school and over 2 years gain his qualifications and be awarded the Australian Vocational Student of the Year is a wonderful success story. We look forward to Lachlan continuing his career path with the Quicksilver Group. Lachlan completed the course in 18 months and was offered a permanent part time position".

As part of his prize he will be sponsored through his Master Class 5. Brian Cave, Great Adventures General Manager Operations said "We look forward to seeing Locky go on to greater challenges and assist him as he gains his Master Class 5. This will enable him to skipper vessels up to 24 metres."

Lachlan said he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a skipper and lead a life on the water. His dad had a boat and was always out on the reef. Speaking of his award Lachlan said "I am thrilled with the recognition and the opportunities the award provides and I can continue to progress my career with Great Adventures and across the Quicksilver Group. I have learnt so much about tour vessels from the skippers and crew, from fast cats to sail boats and I'm very excited about the prospect of obtaining my Master 5 and being at the helm in the future.

The Quicksilver Group currently employs 10 apprentices across the Group and is pleased to support local traineeships.

Keeping the Low Isles Beautiful

Quicksilver and Wavedancer's crew were once again delighted to support the hard work and ongoing conservations efforts of Tangaroa Blue in keeping our marine environments beautiful.

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Heidi Taylor from the Australian Marine Debris Initiative said the annual Woody Island Clean Up held recently was a great success and pleasing to say this site has also seen a reduction in marine debris. "In 2012 we removed 637kg, in 2013 we removed 210kg and this year, our volunteers collected 140.8kg.

Thanks to Mort and all the crew on Wavedancer for transporting volunteers and the bags of rubbish back to the mainland. A huge thanks to Jenni and Wayne - Low Isles Caretakers for all their logistical support. And of course a huge thanks to all our volunteers who did a wonderful job in cleaning the island!"

Christmas Day on the Great Barrier Reef!

It's hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner again. And that means the special opportunity to celebrate in unique style with a Christmas Day feast on the Reef! Our Quicksilver and Great Adventures Outer Barrier Reef cruises will be operating as usual but will have some traditional delights on offer to celebrate, tropical style of course.

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If you're dreaming of Christmas Day on a tropical island, then you will be delighted with the sumptuous buffet lunch at Green Island Resort's signature restaurant, Emeralds. Led by the very talented Executive Chef Shuki Salem, the team have been busy creating a wonderful menu full of fresh seasonal produce and traditional delights for a special Christmas Day buffet lunch. A two hour beverage package with an assortment of wines, beers, juices and soft drinks will also quench your thirst.

As well as a treat for house guests, there are limited seats available for day visitors to join in the celebrations at Green Island. After feasting to your content, enjoy the island surrounds with a leisurely stroll through the rainforest, snorkel or view the reef from a glass bottom boat.

For Green Island Day Visitors, the price is $190 per adult and $88 per child, and in addition to lunch, your day also includes return fast catamaran transfers with Great Adventures and the choice of snorkelling equipment or a glass bottom boat tour to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

Green Island Resort Emeralds Christmas Day Lunch Menu

Bookings are essential as places are limited, book directly with Great Adventures on 4044 9944 or email [email protected]

Cam's epic Swim from Green Island to Cairns

Setting out for a return trip to the mainland from Green Island is usually done by boarding one of our Great Adventures fast catamarans, but not for 15 year old Cairns lad, Cameron Keith! Instead, Cameron completed the epic 27km crossing from Green Island to Yorkey's Knob on 16 August in a time of 7 hours in a personal fundraising challenge.

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Cameron has been vision impaired since birth and the purpose of his swim was to raise $5000 and awareness for the good work of the Fred Hollows Foundation to assist vision impaired people.

Encountering a pod of dolphins along the way, Cameron was escorted across the Coral Sea crossing by his support team including Dad Alan, Ted Bunt and Ben Eales aboard the support boat and paddle board.

Following Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim (3 km event) on 14 September, he will continue training for his next big adventure in October when he heads to Hawaii to attempt the 42km Molokai Channel. Cameron also recently won the Quicksilver Green Island Reef Swim as part of the Airport Cairns Ironman 3km swim for juniors.

On behalf of everyone at the Quicksilver Group, a massive congratulations to Cameron and his outstanding spirit. Good luck reaching your fundraising target and with your next big swim!

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  • Senator Christine Milne with Quicksilver Group Environment Compliance Manager, Doug Baird.

  • James Tobin from 7 Weekend Sunrise spent a day on Low Isles with Wavedancer - and put on a great demonstration on how to wear a lycra suit!


Great Adventures Green Island Reef Swim, Sunday 14 September 2014

Our annual Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim will once again see swimmers taking to the water to compete in 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 [email protected]

Community Spirit and Raising funds for Animal Welfare

Green Island was the setting for our annual Great Adventures Green Island Family Fun Day on Sunday 29 June, a wonderful community event with a swag of activities for Cairns families and visitors alike to enjoy together. The Pirate's Treasure Hunt was a big hit and through our charity beach volleyball game, we were pleased to raise nearly $1700 for YAPS (Young Animal Protection Society) and Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre - two very deserving local animal welfare groups.

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BIO BITS - Humphead Maori Wrasse - "Wally"!

With fashionably large lips that may rival a supermodel and striking electric blue tattoo-like markings, meet "Wally" the Humphead Maori Wrasse - possibly one of friendliest and most photographed fish on the Great Barrier Reef! He's often seen "photo-bombing" as he is here with the very groovy Scuba-Doo scooters!

  • Humphead Maori Wrasse grow up to 230cm and up to 190kg. At maturity (about 5-6 years) they are approx 112cm in length.
  • Their forehead hump grows larger as they get older. This hump plays a very important role - it helps the fish 'hold its head up'. Since the jaws on a mature male are very heavy (so they can crush shells for food), the hump is filled with buoyant oil that helps float the wrasses' heads.
  • Maori Wrasse change sex from female to male however the factors that control the timing of sex change are not yet known.
  • The common name of this species refers to markings on the head of adult males, which are said to resemble the facial tattoos of New Zealand Maori people.


Meet Craig Hardes

Finding Paradise! Craig moved to Cairns from New South Wales in 1996 and found paradise as a dive instructor with Great Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef, and 18 years on, is still Living the Dream! "Every day, I share my passion of Green Island and the Reef with our visitors. It is so rewarding to see the sheer joy and happiness this natural wonderland has to offer people from Australia and around the World.

I love to share my experiences and knowledge learnt over the years and have heard many times, "This is the best day of my life". Something they will remember forever. A personal highlight was carrying the Queen's Commonwealth Games Baton to showcase the Great Barrier Reef on its journey to Glasgow in 2014. I live, work and breathe this natural wonder every day and it is my privilege to showcase this World Heritage icon."

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Postcard.... to Ocean Spirit Michaelmas Cay Cruise

Leisurely Day on the Cay!

Awesome experience, fabulous crew!

The whole day was lovely. The check-in was swift. The crew were attentive and couldn't do enough for you. Tea/coffee and muffins greeted us on arrival, as well as lunch while we were there. A nice touch was a glass of sparkling wine to round off the day. At the Cay there was a continuous shuttle boat off and on the boat. The snorkelling was fine, but the bird colony gave a wonderful show watching them flying off and onto the nests. But the best were the number of Brown Booby birds courting and nesting within feet of us. But then the piece de resistance was seeing not one but two breaching humpback whales - one off the Cay and the other on the way into port. Extraordinary!
BT, Windsor UK


  • Check out Green Island Resort's new website: http://www.greenislandresort.com.au/
  • Great Adventures Moore Reef Platform Facelift: After a 3 month sojourn to the mainland for a major refurbishment, Great Adventures 45m Moore Reef activity platform is now back at home and ready to help showcase the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef to our guests.
  • 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 are also able to access free Wi-Fi from the Coral Cay guest lounge.
  • Online Booking System Upgrade: For Agents using our online booking system for our Port Douglas and Cairns products, we're very pleased to advise a significant upgrade will be launching in the coming weeks. We will notify you with more details soon.
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