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Silversonic Port Douglas Dive Review

Created by Richard under on Monday 24th of December 2012

Quicksilver’s Silversonic is an outstanding diving and snorkelling day tour from Port Douglas, to the Great Barrier Reef’s Agincourt Reef. Surveyed for over 130 passengers, this high speed catamaran limits its daily passenger numbers to a maximum of 85, ensuring all guests have a comfortable trip, to and from the reef. Travel time is approximately 90 minutes and Silversonic visits three (3) separate reef sites during the day. Standard trip inclusions are: a guided adventure snorkel tour, hot and cold buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea and up to five (5) hours at the reef. Certified divers can choose between 1, 2 or 3 guided dives and have the option of using hire equipment or bringing their own.

Our morning commenced with check-in at the Quicksilver office at Marina Mirage at 8:00am. Here we were issued with boarding passes and given directions to the boat, a short 50m walk away. Conditions this December morning were perfect for just about anything, with bright sunshine and a forecast for light winds. The Coral Sea was glassy and flat and everyone was excited about the trip ahead.

Boarding the boat at 8:15am, we were greeted by the crew and welcomed aboard where both snorkelers and divers completed their safety and medical paperwork. Morning tea was available inside and featured complimentary, percolated coffee (very good quality), tea, muffins and assorted focaccias.

Silversonic is a 29m catamaran with two (2) levels of air-conditioned interior. The lower deck featured interior seating, exterior dive deck, with two toilets, and a forward sun deck. The upper deck is a mixture of air-conditioned interior seating and exterior sun deck.

Departing the marina at 8:30am, the crew commenced the safety briefing and outlined the timetable of our day’s activities. Then the on-board photographer also gave a brief speech about the services he offered. He is in the water throughout the day, taking photos of snorkelers and divers: these are available for review and sale on the return journey.

NB: There are digital underwater cameras available for hire on the boat, at a rate of $68.

On today’s trip Silversonic had 65 passengers aboard: 41 were snorkelers, 18 were booked to try an introductory scuba dive and the rest (6) were certified divers. Greetings and briefings complete, the snorkelers were allocated mask and fins on the back deck, before the certified divers were shown their equipment and places.

Please note: Silversonic has a range of wetsuits and lycra suits available for hire on board. The lycra suits are $7 each for the day and are highly recommended in summer, as they provide protection from the sun and any jellyfish that may be in the water.

We then gathered downstairs in the air-conditioning for our certified dive briefing, given by Dive Instructor Jason. All dives on Silversonic are guided (unguided is not an option) and Jason ran through the style of diving we were doing today and covered the basics skills and procedures. Topics covered include: the on-board equipment and dive computers, hand signals, air consumption and lost buddy procedures.

NB: If you are a certified diver who has not dived for a while, you have the option of taking one of your dives as an introductory diver, to refresh yourself with skills and equipment, before completing other dives with the certified group.

By the time we completed this, we had nearly arrived at our first dive destination for the day. Agincourt Reef is classified as a Ribbon Reef, as it runs parallel to the coast, on the very limit of the continental shelf. It’s a part of the Great Barrier Reef and is around 60km offshore.

Dive 1: ‘Chapel’ – Agincourt Reef – 10.10am

Water entry was a comfortable giant stride from the side of Silversonic. Entering the water, we dived along a wall at around 15-20m. Looking up, we could make out the shape of a Grey Reef Shark who decided to come a little closer for a look. Grey Reef Sharks are a little more ‘sharky’ looking than the white and black tip sharks you commonly see in these parts. Half way through the 50-minute dive, Jason turned the group around and returned to Silversonic, bringing us up through the safety stops at some great locations on the reef with plenty of corals and marine life. Highlights of this dive included seeing: Dotted Sweetlip, Giant Clams, Blue-green Chromis, Pink Anemome Fish, Red Bass, Midnight Snapper and a Pufferfish.

Dive 1 completed, we had around 30 minutes to relax, drink some water and enjoy the sunshine, while Silversonic moved to its second reef location for the day. For those with underwater camera equipment, this is a great time to change batteries (if needed) and prepare for dive 2.

Dive 2: ‘Just Magic’ – Agincourt Reef – 11:48am

With perfect conditions and flat seas, the Silversonic crew decided to do a live drop for the second dive. A live drop is when the divers get dropped off the boat, before the boat has tied up at the mooring blocks. It allowed us to be dropped right on top of the dive site, in this case a bommie (coral head) called ‘Just Magic’. Circumnavigating the bommie we saw a few pelagic fish including Red Bass, Snapper and Barracuda. Exploration finished, we let the current push us towards the reef and the boat. A highlight of the drift component of the dive was seeing a huge gorgonian fan and a small outcrop of coral, surrounded by thousands of small glass fish.

Getting back on board it was time for lunch, a delicious buffet selection of mixed salads, bread rolls, fresh prawns and hot and cold dishes. Lunch is served from 12 – 1.15pm and is included in the price. Beverages are available for sale from the on-board bar at an additional cost. Note: Alcohol should only be consumed once all in-water activities have been completed, you will not be allowed in the water once you have had any alcohol.

While we ate on the forward sun deck, Silversonic moved to its third and final reef site for the day.

Dive 3: ‘Povona’ – Agincourt Reef – 1:45am

It was another giant stride, live entry at this site. As the divers descended into the warm blue waters, we were almost immediately greeted by a giant Bumphead Parrotfish. This was a wall drift dive with Jason taking us along the corals and pointing out creatures of interest including Nemo, Feather Stars and a large school of Yellow-tailed Fusiliers. We also did a swim through on this dive, which was about 25 long, before returning to the boat at 2.50pm.

Climbing aboard Silversonic the crew were very efficient at packing up the dive deck and preparing the boat for a prompt departure at 3pm. Grabbing a few cold beers from the bar, we headed to the sun deck to chat with other guests about what they had seen during the day. For those wanting to complete log books, Jason had recorded all dive details and these were now available. Complimentary afternoon was tea was served, a delicious combination of cheese, crackers and assorted cakes and slices.

Silversonic gave a fast, comfortable ride back to Port Douglas, berthing at Marina Mirage at around 4.30pm.

VERDICT:

Silversonic is a quality reef tour that takes guests to exceptional dive and snorkel locations. The trip is a great option for divers looking to experience the Ribbon Reefs with a guide. The crew are friendly and helpful and are all about making your day that little bit better. As one of the premium reef tours from Port Douglas, this trip is worth every extra cent.

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Silversonic

Silversonic provides daily reef tours departing from Port Douglas and visiting the ribbon reefs at Agincourt Reef. 5 hours at reef and up to 3 dives.
$230


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Review Image Gallery

Chromis Low Isles Happy Diver On the way home Anenome Fish Anenome Fish Bubble Rings - Thanks Jason Christmas Tree Worm Coral Trout Soft Fan Corals Wonderful Feather Stars Giant Clam Yellow Tailed Fusilier Swim through Jason Nemo Lunch Snorkeling Lunch Buffet Reef Scene Feather Star Jason the dive intructor Ross Feather Stars Sweetlip Glass Fish Puffer Fish Clown Fish Bommie Soft Corals Blue Green Chromis Ross my dive buddy Sea Squirt Sea Star Grey Reef Shark Top Deck View from the bow Flag Jason and the dive briefing Intro Dive Briefing Tanks and gear ready to go On the way out of Port Douglas Briefings Muffins Silversonic Marina Mirage

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