Ultimate dive and snorkel adventures
CAIRNS & PORT DOUGLAS
Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkelling

FAQ - COMMON QUESTIONS

Reef Questions..

What is the difference between the reef sites Silversonic and Silverswift visit?
The reef systems that Silversonic and Silverswift visit are approximately 100 km apart giving rise to very different styles of reef formations and marine life. Both provide spectacular experiences for divers and snorkellers.

Silversonic, from Port Douglas, takes you to the Agincourt ribbon reef systems at the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Parallel to the Continental Shelf, they are recognized as the most pristine eco-systems in the reef's environment. Clear water provides the best possible underwater visibility, encourages rich coral growth and supports spectacular marine life. Agincourt's formations offer large wall dives as well as great bommie and pinnacle sites.

Silverswift, from Cairns, takes you to many exclusive dive sites on some of the very best Outer Great Barrier Reef locations at Flynn, Pellowe, Milln and/or Thetford Reefs. These sites are chosen for their magnificent coral formations, varied marine life and underwater visibility. They have superb bay-like dive and snorkel sites providing spectacular underwater sand dunes and remote steppingstone- like coral bommie systems. These sites are also renowned for their congregating schools of large pelagic fish.

Are there any sharks on the reef?
Yes, there are sharks in every ocean and a variety inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. The most frequently seen sharks are white and black tip reef sharks which are quite timid and pose no threat to divers and snorkellers.

What is the "Outer Edge"?
The Outer Edge is the where the Continental Shelf ends and deep ocean begins. At the Outer Edge the ocean floor drops from 30 – 40 metres to hundreds of metres. Ribbon reefs are situated on the edge hence the name the "Outer Edge".

Do you really go to the Outer Edge?
Yes, Silversonic travels to Agincourt reef which is a ribbon reef on the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Silverswift travels to Milln, Flynn Thetford or Pellowe reefs, which are considered Outer Barrier Reefs. They sit approximately 5 km in from the edge of the Continental Shelf.

How many hours are we at the Reef?
You will have over 5 hours at the reef sites combined.

What sort of marine life will we see?
All of our reef sites offer great ecological diversity and an abundance of marine life. Some of the commonly seen marine life include turtles, anemone fish (Nemo), lionfish, cuttlefish, moray eels and reef sharks.

Will we see whales?
During the months of May to September, there is an added bonus of potential whale sightings as these gentle giants migrate to warm tropical waters to mate and give birth. The commonly sighted species are dwarf minke and humpback whales. A unique treat is to see the famous Migaloo, a rare white humpback whale. Silversonic has one of the few permits available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allows our guests to swim with dwarf minke whales if encountered. In season, these inquisitive creatures are frequently sighted at the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs where Silversonic visits. This activity is conducted under strict codes of practice.

Are there any stingers / what are Lycra Suits?
Lycra suits are available onboard to reduce the possibility of stings and irritations while also offering protection from the sun.

At certain times of the year (generally November – April), 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. Our 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.

 

General Questions..

How do I check-in before departure?

- If you are travelling on our Silverswift Vessel:
Please check-in at the Silverswift/Great Adventures counters inside the Reef Fleet Terminal (1 Spence Street in Cairns) between 7:30 and 8:00am. Silverswift departs the marina at 8:30am. Our staff will issue you with your boarding pass and direct you to our vessel.

- If you are travelling on our Silversonic Vessel:
Please check-in at the Silversonic/Quicksilver reservations counter inside the Port Douglas Reef Marina between 7:30 and 8:00am. Silversonic departs the marina at 8:30am.

Do you go to a platform/pontoon?
No. Silversonic and Silverswift have roaming permits. The day's operation is conducted from the vessel, their large hydraulic platforms enable easy water access. These roaming permits enable the vessels to visit 3 sites daily from a wide selection of reef sites best suited to the day's conditions.

Are you just a dive vessel?
No, our reef sites offer great experiences for snorkellers and divers. The large sundeck areas and custom designed aft deck with hydraulic platform enable both activities to be conducted without either affecting the other.

What is the difference between Silversonic and Silverswift?
Both are identical sisterships, 29 metre high speed catamarans custom-designed for scuba dive and snorkel operations. Both visit 3 different reef sites and spend 5 hours at the reef. The difference is where they are based and the reef sites they visit.

Silversonic departs from Port Douglas and has the choice of 22 stunning Agincourt ribbon reef sites to visit daily. Silverswift departs from Cairns and has the choice of 16 spectacular outer reef sites at Flynn, Pellowe, Milln and/or Thetford Reefs.

What are the departure times?
Silversonic departs Port Douglas Meridien Marina at 8.30am and returns back into Port Douglas at 4.30pm. Silverswift departs Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal at 8.30am and returns back into Cairns at 4.30pm.

Is lunch provided?
Yes a hot and cold buffet lunch is served on board at the second reef site. A scrumptious morning tea on boarding including focaccias, muffins/cake selection is served, as well as afternoon tea cakes and cheese and biscuits on the homeward journey. This is all included in your cruise price.

Do you have foreign speaking dive/snorkel staff?
Our crew do speak a number of different languages, however a specific language can not be guaranteed on any given day of travel due to staff rosters. We recommend you contact our office prior to travel.

Are your dive instructors PADI certified?
Yes.

Are there life jackets and swimming aids?
Life jackets are onboard for emergency use only. Flotation or buoyancy vests and swimming noodles are supplied free of charge for your use.

Will I get seasick?
Hopefully not. Silversonic and Silverswift have state-of-the-art ride control systems to ensure a smoother journey. Where there is motion however, 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 free onboard as a natural alternative.

Do you provide optical masks for snorkellers and divers?
Standard masks magnify objects underwater by 25%, however prescription masks are also available ranging from -2 to -7 in strength. Prescription masks are available at no extra charge.

Do you need to know how to swim to dive?
Not technically. It is recommended however that if you can't swim but would like to do an introductory dive, that a reef platform such as Quicksilver's Outer Reef or Great Adventures Outer Reef cruise would be better suited to ensure the best experience.

My child is certified to dive, but I will not be travelling with him / her? Do I need to sign a waiver?
If your child is under the age of 15 years they are unable to travel without a parent or legal guardian . If your child is between the ages of 15 -18 years he / she can travel unattended but a dive waiver (either certified or introductory) and letter signed by you the parent / legal guardian giving permission for your child to dive, must be presented to the crew on the day before travel for your child to be allowed to dive. Please contact our office for the required paperwork.

Can we take children?
Yes, any age is welcome accompanied by an adult, however we highly recommend that children be confident in the water. Babysitting facilities are not available onboard. The minimum age for scuba diving is 12 yrs.

 

Diving Questions..

What type of dives do you offer?
Depending on the sites visited and conditions of the day, our reef sites offer a range of dive types including drift, wall, bommie, pinnacle, ledge and swim-throughs.

How deep can you dive?
Our dives are approximately 12 to 18 metres in depth. The Great Barrier Reef is generally not a deep dive destination, more shallow diving. As coral relies on sunlight for growth, some of the best snorkelling and diving can be done in shallow areas around the reef top.

Can anyone do an introductory dive?
No experience is necessary however age and medical conditions apply. The minimum age is 12 years. Some medical conditions prevent diving, for example, asthma or respiratory conditions, heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes and certain medications. Diving is subject to medical questionnaire.

I am keen to do an introductory dive, can I pull out if I am not comfortable?
You can withdraw from the dive at any time under the care of the instructor. Please note if you have commenced the dive (ie. let go of the skills decent line and started the dive) you will be charged the diving fee.

How many dives can we do?
Certified divers can do up to 3 certified dives during the day. Introductory divers can do 2 dives.

Do I need my dive certification card?
Yes. We accept most certification cards including PADI, Maui and SSI. If you forget your card, evidence of certification may be provided by log book or verification letter from your certifying dive company. We can provide assistance if you are PADI affiliated.

I am a certified diver but haven't dived for some time, can I do a refresher?
If you do not have a chance to do a refresher before travelling, you can participate in the first introductory dive of the day and if comfortable then participate in the 2nd and 3rd certified dive.

Can my son/daughter dive?
Yes if accompanied by yourself or a legal guardian, the minimum age is 12 yrs for introductory diving and is subject to the successful completion of a medical questionnaire and the PADI Discover Scuba Diving briefing.

Do you have DIN fittings for our dive gear?
Yes, we carry DIN fittings.

What are the guidelines regarding 'FLYING' after diving?
If only one dive is undertaken then a minimum of 12 hours is recommended before flying (to an altitude of 300 metres or greater). If doing multiple dives, an interval of 24 hours is recommended. Other activities to avoid in this period are sky diving, hot air ballooning and going to Kuranda.

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