The Tour Specialists Tour Blog
Quicksilver is the Great Barrier Reef – Fly/Cruise.
Posted on November 22, 2009 by admin
My day began with a perfectly timed pick-up from Palm Cove by the Quicksilver coach at 8:20 AM. The driver names “Wazza” enthusiastically introduced us to our day by going over the highlights, inclusions and the importance of the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs. Through studies and observation it has been found that the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs has the best weather conditions and visibility on the reef despite whatever is going on in-land with the weather. Furthermore from that, it is incredibly visible from outer-space due to the large bommies of corals, the drop off at the continental shelf and the bright colours. The company simply adds to this by using their Wavepiercing boat – Quicksilver which pierces right through those waves, allowing for minimal rocking of the boat and manages to get out and back from the outer barrier wall of the reef in the same length of time that most other boats would only get half the distance.
The option of flying out to the reef for an extra charge was available. We figured that we were going to do this right and take advantage of this once in a lifetime experience. We had 40 minutes to kill upon arrival at Marina Mirage Port Douglas so we headed next door for a scrumptious breakfast on the waters edge. We were shortly picked up by the Great Barrier Reef Helicopter girls and taken down the road to their office for a brief safety lesson and weigh in. As we boarded the helicopter, I knew I was in for an amazing ride!
As we took off, we headed towards the Daintree Rainforest and our friendly Captain Nigel excited us as he gave us an overview of what we were seeing as well as the history and importance of being able to fly and see the only place in the world where two world heritage sites meet! We flew through magnificent dips until we changed directions and headed for the Great Barrier Reef! Nigel pointed out every island/reef and everything under the sun that would interest us. He even lowered the heli to almost sea level as we reached the undine coral cay, where the company takes many couples to get engaged! There was no engagements planned for this particular day but we did manage to see a humongous turtle and an enormous manta ray. As we uplifted away from the cay, Nigel was sure to fly on a slight slant so we could look right down into the crystal clear waters at the marine life and corals.
We continued our flight through the clear blue skies, starring down at the reef. It really does give the impression of the Great Barrier Reef seeing it from above as a wall of corals. I couldn’t believe my eyes! We were soon able to see the Quicksilver pontoon in the distance. The boat was just pulling up. Nigel flew us around the pontoon a couple of times in order to attract attention and make a grand appearance. The guests in the helicopter said that they felt like “superstars!” We landed on a platform about 500 meters from the pontoon and were met by another member of the Great Barrier Reef Heli staff. We thanked our captain Nigel and hopped into the boat. If you don’t get the chance to fly out to the reef, I highly recommend a scenic flight or even a charter with the Great Barrier Reef helicopter group as it is a memory that will last a lifetime.
It was now 11:15 AM and time to head in for some lunch. The tropical buffet consisted of a wide variety of cheeses, meats, vegetables, breads, salads, pasta, curry, beef, lasagna and rice. The bar is open for anyone wishing to purchase non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Upon finishing lunch, we realized that the semi submersible was going out for its next tour. This would be our first adventure at the pontoon.
The semi submersible is best described as a boat with a basement and 360 degrees of window all around you to see the corals and fish. As a passenger on Quicksilver, you get unlimited access on this adventure that takes approximately 25 minutes. While you are driving around in the semi sub, you are bound to see a vast variety of fish, corals, shells and exciting marine life. The tour is lead by one of the incredibly knowledgeable marine biologists onboard the boat. You are destined to learn and see so much more than you’ll expect!
As you wander around this spacious 2 level pontoon, you’ll notice many areas to relax, take a seat and areas that are shaded from the sun as well as a sundeck. There is a bar as well and safety bags where you can store personal belongings with the friendly staff. Hot water and cold water showers are found on the main level as well as even a Great Barrier Reef Post office box so you can send a postcard directly to your friends and family from the actual experience itself! The underwater observatory is a definite must see where you can walk down a short flight of stairs to see a clear view of the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs as well as the fish. Below the windows is a brief description of the marine life that you will see.
The next stop was to the designated snorkel area. This particular area is supervised by life guards. There are also rest stations to take a break and an easy access into the water snorkel platform. Interested in diving? This takes place just past the snorkel area and is available for intro divers and certified. There is a chance to do up to 2 dives in which your guides will take you to 2 amazingly different but beautiful and unique sites. If diving is not your cup of tea, perhaps the sea walker helmet platform walking will work for you. A helmet is placed on your head in which fresh air is being pumped into. You can even wear your glasses if you wish, as your face and hair will stay 100% dry. This is suitable for non-swimmers too but you must be above the age of 12 years and not suffer from asthma nor be on other medications.
After 4 full hours at the Reef, it’s time to say goodbye and get back onboard to return back to Port Douglas. The Quicksilver boat was beyond amazing in terms of stability. It was so smooth and amazing how fast we were going and not able to feel any bumps.
For those who are very prone to sea sickness, travel calm tablets and cordial are available free of charge. However we do highly recommended that you start your course of seasickness tablets the evening prior to your reef trip and then with breakfast the morning of your reef trip. After an hour and fifteen minute smooth ride, we were back in Port Douglas. The Quicksilver coach was there to meet and greet us. We hopped onboard and made our way back to Palm Cove.
Overall, the reef, the staff, the activities on the pontoon, the wave piercing boat and the beautiful helicopter ride out to the reef all achieve a 10 out 10 and two enthusiastic thumbs up!
For more about this tour please visit The Tour Specialists
By: Blythe Rallo, Tour Consultant at the Tour Specialists, Palm Cove
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