We get asked many different questions about visiting the Great Barrier Reef every day!
Some of the most commonly asked questions are listed below. If you have a question that we haven't answered here, please contact us via email or telephone on (61 7) 4087 2100.
About the Weather
What is the temperature of the water?
The warm waters of Tropical North Queensland range in temperature from 22-29 Celsius (75-85 Fahrenheit) and make for year round comfort for water activities.
Summer 29 c 83f, Autumn 25c 76f, Winter 22c 72f, Spring 25c 76f.
As a guide, average water temperatures in our region are:
|Average ocean water temp.(C)||29||29||28||26||26||25||24||22||23||26||26||27|
|Average ocean water temp.(F)||85||85||83||79||79||77||75||72||73||79||79||81|
What is the weather doing?
Quicksilver has 3 day forecasts and we also get weather updates every morning from the Bureau of Meteorology as well as directly from our crew stationed at Agincourt Reef. Guests can call our office from 6am daily onwards for an update. You can also visit the weather page on our website to see the latest trends and extensive forecast.
As a guide, average air temperatures in the Cairns and Port Douglas region are:
|Average daily max air temp .(C)||31.8||31.5||30.7||29.3||27.6||25.9||25.6||26.4||27.9||29.7||30.8||31.8|
|Average daily max air temp. (F)||89||89||87||85||82||79||78||79||82||85||87||89|
What if the weather is really bad?
Providing we have availability you are welcome to change dates of your cruise. On very rare occasions cruise services can be subject to the effect of weather. Should a cruise not operate for any reason, you will be offered an alternative day or a refund authorised.
Do you ever cancel cruises?
Very rarely. However as we are located in a tropical region, we can experience the effects of a seasonal tropical cyclone and would therefore cancel our operation. This is not common.
Can I change the date of my cruise?
Yes you are welcome to change your day of travel providing we have availability. There are no fees to change dates.
What’s the best day or time to visit?
We operate year-round, everyday is a holiday! Generally you will find the warm air and water temperatures in the tropics (see our average temperatures charts) make for comfortable conditions year-round for water activities.
If you are visiting between the months of May to October, while certainly not guaranteed, there is the added bonus of potential whale sightings on the journey to and from the reef. Humpback whales regularly migrate from Antarctic waters every winter to the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef. They are most commonly sighted from June to September. The smaller Minke Whales can often be seen at Agincourt Reef from as early as April but from our experience, the most common sightings occur from June to July.
How far out is the Outer Barrier Reef (Agincourt Reef) and how long does it take to get there?
Agincourt Reef is 72km NE of Port Douglas. Travelling time aboard our state-of-the-art wavepiercer catamaran from Port Douglas to Agincourt Reef is 90 minutes.
How far out is Low Isles and how long does it take to get there?
Low Isles is 15km NE of Port Douglas. Travelling time aboard our sailing catamaran Wavedancer from Port Douglas to Low Isles is 70 minutes.
What are the differences between the cruises?
- Platform: Quicksilver’s Outer Reef Cruise travels to the acclaimed Agincourt ribbon reef system on the edge Australia’s Continental Shelf. This cruise is a “Platform” experience and offers the widest range of activities to experience the reef at your own pace, whether you choose to snorkel and dive or stay dry and explore in a semi-sub. At Agincourt Reef you will experience the highest visibility and greatest marine biodiversity. Due to the fresh ocean currents that filter through the Outer Reefs, water visibility and quality is at its best. This is regarded as one of the best environmentally managed reef sites in the entire Great Barrier Reef.
- Island Sailing: Wavedancer sails to Low Isles, an inner reef coral island just off Port Douglas. This Great Barrier Reef island experience is perfect for those wanting a relaxing day lazing on the beach or exploring the island and snorkelling at leisure.
- Adventure: For an active day dedicated to diving and snorkelling, Silversonic spends 5 hours visiting 3 different Agincourt Reef sites.
What do I bring?
Bring along a towel, sunscreen, hat, swimwear and camera to capture your memories. Limited underwater digital cameras are available to hire onboard. A professional photographic service is also available for you to purchase photos of your day. For optional activities or onboard purchases like souvenirs or drinks from the bar, bring along your credit card or some cash.
Where do I wait for the coach pick-up?
Generally at the hotel reception unless otherwise advised by hotel staff or Quicksilver.
Do you supply towels?
We recommend you bring your own towel. We do have some towels for hire however we have limited stock and cannot guarantee availability.
Does lunch cater for vegetarians?
Yes our daily buffet lunch provides food options for vegetarians. Our meals are prepared daily by our Catering Department utilising local produce wherever possible. All menu options are labelled with ingredients lists. Please contact us directly if you have specific dietary needs.
Can I smoke at the reef or on the boat?
Due to government regulations and comfort of all passengers, smoking is not permitted on board any of our vessels. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas at the outer reef platform and island. Please ensure cigarette butts are disposed of responsibly in the receptacles provided.
Do you have facilities for wheelchair passengers?
We recommend our Outer Reef cruise and our Quicksilver VIII vessel as the most suitable for wheelchair passengers. Low Isles is not suitable for wheelchairs. At the Outer Barrier Reef (Agincourt Reef) there are ramp facilities from our vessel to our platform, and a wheelchair access toilet on the vessel. However access to the underwater observatory, snorkel platforms and our semi-submersible vessels is by stairs only. For guests confined to a wheelchair, our specially designed water powered lift allows for easy access into the snorkel pool. This is available only at our Agincourt 3 platform. We recommend guests call us to discuss arrangements prior to travel.
Can we sit anywhere onboard the boat?
Yes, there is no reserved seating and you are free to sit where you prefer. It’s up to your personal preference whether you would like to sit inside in the air-conditioned cabins, on the outside decks undercover or in the sun.
Will I get seasick?
Hopefully not. Our wavepiercer catamaran cruise to the Outer Reef provides the smoothest possible ride in all sea conditions. Where there is motion whether in a car, bus, plane or boat, some people will suffer from motion sickness. Motion sickness medication is available onboard for purchase. Ginger tablets are available as a natural alternative motion sickness medication on a complimentary basis. To be effective, motion sickness medications should be taken immediately on boarding prior to travel.
Do you have lockers onboard?
We do not have lockers however we do have safety bags which can be used for smaller items like wallets, passports, jewellery and small cameras. This is at no cost and can be accessed by checking with our bar staff.
Do you supply life jackets?
Life jackets are onboard for emergency use only. Flotation/buoyancy vests are supplied free of charge on the platform for your use if required.
Can I use credit cards on the boat?
Yes we take Visa, Mastercard & Amex
Are there toilets and change rooms on the boat or at the reef?
Yes, toilets are found at the rear of the boat. Fresh water showers and change rooms are found on the platform.
At the Reef
How big is the platform at Agincourt Reef?
With two levels at 47.5m in length and 23.4m wide, our reef activity platform is permanently moored in a sheltered lagoon at Agincourt Reef. It is the largest and most spacious platform on the Great Barrier Reef. An important point to consider when choosing your reef cruise is the comfort of your day. Together our large stable catamaran and platform provide the most passenger space of any reef cruise. In fact on an average day there will be more than two seats for every person onboard and if you’re into space, about 8m2 per passenger!
Is there any shade on the platform?
At the outer reef activity platform, over two thirds of the platform is shaded. You can also sit inside the vessel’s air-conditioned cabins throughout the day.
What facilities are on the platform?
Some of the facilities on the platform include undercover tables and seating, change rooms and freshwater showers, buffet servery, underwater observatory, semi-submersibles, snorkelling platforms, specially designed introductory dive areas and carpeted sundeck. The vessel alongside also provides air-conditioned comfort, a licenced bar as well as toilets and change room facilities. Click here for our platform page.
Are there any stingers?
At certain times of the year, jellyfish, commonly called marine stingers, can affect the seas of Northern Australia. Most jellyfish are harmless to man, however certain varieties may cause a serious reaction. Incidents involving serious marine stings in this area are extremely rare. Quicksilver’s crew are conscious of the danger of marine stingers and will take appropriate steps to ensure your protection if they believe conditions are such that there is a possibility of encountering these creatures. Lycra suits are available to protect guests from the sun and to reduce the possibility of stings and irritations.
Do you have lycra suits and snorkelling gear for all passengers?
Yes. Our largest lycra suit is XXL and largest fin is size 13. Our smallest lycra suit is size 2. We have small snorkels and masks for toddlers, our smallest fins are size 1-3.
Do you have prescription masks?
Standard masks magnify objects underwater by 25%. However prescription masks are also available ranging from -4 to -7 in strength. Prescription masks are available at no extra charge. To obtain one of these masks, see our safety supervisors on the snorkelling platform.
Can I wear my glasses or contact lenses under my mask?
No. We do not recommend contact lenses are worn as water may get into the mask. Glasses cannot be worn under the masks however standard masks do magnify objects. For prescription masks, see the safety supervisors on the snorkelling platform.
Is there easy access to the water for snorkelling from the platform?
Yes, the snorkelling platforms are situated right on the waterline and there are bench seats on the snorkelling platform where you can put on your fins, mask and snorkel before entering the water.
What time does the boat leave for the Outer Reef (Agincourt Reef) and come back?
Quicksilver’s wavepiercer boards at 9:30am for 10:00am departure from the Port Douglas Marina Port Douglas. The vessel returns to Port Douglas at 4:30pm.
How long are we at Agincourt Reef?
We spend 3½ hours at the reef.
How deep is the water at Agincourt Reef?
The maximum depth around the platform at Agincourt Reef is approximately 8-9 metres.
Are there any sharks at Agincourt Reef?
Yes, but they are harmless white tip reef sharks which only grow to a length of approximately 5 feet. If you are lucky to see one, don’t be frightened as they are very timid.
What is the minimum age for Scuba Diving?
The minimum age for diving is 12 years. No experience is necessary for an Introductory scuba dive, however certain medical conditions or medications may preclude some people from diving. Please contact us directly if you require more information.
Travelling with Children
Can I take a pram on the boat / platform / island?
Our Wavepiercer catamarans and reef platforms are pram-friendly with ample room on the boat and ramped areas on the platform. We do not recommend prams on our Wavedancer Low Isles cruise however as the sailing catamaran has many stairs and narrow entries. The beach at Low Isles has quite soft sand and therefore not practical for prams.
Is it safe for babies / children?
Yes, infants and children are welcome however we recommend they are supervised and are accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. We suggest buoyancy vests are worn and these are available free of charge. Noodles/flotation devices are also available. There are many activities for children and families to enjoy together at the Outer Reef and at Low Isles.
Do you have lycra suits and snorkelling gear for little kids?
Our smallest lycra suit is size 2. We have small snorkel & masks for toddlers, our smallest fins are size 1-3.
Are there any babysitting facilities if I want to dive with my husband?
We do not have babysitting facilities onboard. Our crew can help you schedule separate dive times to ensure your child is always supervised.
What is on the Island (Low Isles)?
Low Isles is a vegetated coral cay. It is home to a historic lighthouse (Heritage listed) and a rangers station. All facilities such as change rooms, toilets and licenced bar are onboard the vessel. There are no shops on Low Isles.
Is there any shade on the island?
On Low Isles, there is shade provided by trees and large thatched umbrellas which line the beach.
How do I get from the boat to the island?
Two shuttle vessels operate throughout the day to transfer guests to and from the island at their leisure.
What time does the boat leave for Low Isles and come back?
Wavedancer boards at 9:30am for 10:00am departure from the Port Douglas Marina Port Douglas.
The vessel returns to Port Douglas at 4:30pm.
How deep is the water at Low Isles?
0-5 metres depth. The corals are close to the island which makes snorkelling easy and enjoyable.