Known as Rob Parry.

Passed away suddenly on 11 June 2021 at 11am at Crystalbrook Marina, Port Douglas, aged 47 Years.

Much loved husband, adoring father and son, son in law, brother in law, uncle, and friend who will be sorely missed by so many near and far.

Family and friends are warmly invited to attend a memorial service to celebrate Rob’s wondrous life on Sunday 27 June 2021 commencing at 3:00pm to 5:30pm at Rex Smeal Park, Port Douglas.

A private cremation will take place early next week for family.

It was a wild ride for the sailors who took part in the 2021 Port Douglas race week as roaring winds supercharged the sails of the boats at the annual regatta.

25 boats over three divisions entered the weeklong event that saw winds up to 30 knots testing crews and boats to the limit, but the seadogs loved the challenge.

Secretary for the Port Douglas Yacht Club, Robyn Shelly said “it was a highly successful event, we are very pleased with how it went despite some very strong winds.

“It was a tough race for everybody, the conditions were demanding for all the sailors but they enjoyed the challenge.

“We had a lot of fun there were a lot of tired and very happy sailors at the end of the regatta,” said Ms Shelly.

2021 Port Douglas Race Week overall winners:

• Division one: Charm Offensive – Skippered by James Permezel
• Division two: Falcon – skippered by Russell Kingston
• Division Three: Jasmin – skippered by Julian Summers

Relentlessly ploughing through the extremely difficult conditions, not all boats came out of the dramatic sail unscathed. One boat had to retire with a broken rudder, and another suffered a serious knockdown that had the other boats in the fleet holding their collective breath. Fortunately, both boat and crew are said to be in good shape.

The sailing community was eager to make waves at this year’s event after COVID put the handbrake on the 2020 Port Douglas Race Week, making this year’s event a fantastic opportunity for skippers and crews to get out on the water for social racing and post-race celebrations.

Ms Shelly said within minutes of entries opening we had people signing up.

“This is the first regatta in this part of the world this year since the COVID shut down, Port Douglas is usually the first cab off the rank when it comes to regattas in North Queensland.

“People were very keen to get back out on the water,” Ms Shelly said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2021/may/supercharged-winds-amped-port-douglas-race-week/

On a voyage to save our seas, local superyacht M/Y Beluga has been bestowed ‘Yacht of the Year’ in Boat International’s Ocean Awards for 2021.

Awarded recently in Sydney, the coveted accolade in its first year, acknowledges the boat’s owners and crews’ efforts to survey and protect the marine ecosystem as part of the Great Reef Census.

Beluga was entered by charter management company, Ocean Alliance and the submission highlighted the owner’s commitment to ocean conservation and pioneering the way forward for the superyacht industry, embodied by Ocean Alliance as ‘Yachting for Purpose’.

The superyacht was used by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef’s scientists who completed necessary surveys, testing of new equipment, and piloted research and development which supported the inaugural Great Reef Census to become a pioneering and scalable approach to assessing reef health.

Ocean Alliance’s Managing Director, Joachim Howard said this award represents a clear example of how owners and charter guests can participate in the monitoring and preservation of the marine environments they are experiencing.

“Ocean Alliance partnered with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, several years ago with a combined interest to connect the superyacht industry with citizen science initiatives such as the Great Reef Census.

“When in 2020 a vessel was required to assist with testing new technology ahead of the first census, it was only natural for us to approach Beluga as the owners are actively involved in ocean conservation.

“We would like to congratulate Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and the owners and crew of Beluga for their leadership in marine conservation and their positive contribution to the very region in which they charter,” said Mr Howard.

Beluga Captain Peter Lacey said he was happy to get involved with the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef because they have a good chance of collecting enough tangible evidence to give us a reasonable picture of the current conditions of the reef.

“I personally don’t see any damage that’s noteworthy during my voyages, of course the reef is so vast and constantly changing so to date no one individual or entity is capable of covering it entirely.

“Based on that, I view with some scepticism the blanket reports of the Great Barrier Reef being in danger and I fully support the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef efforts and thank the owners of Beluga for gifting the use of the vessel to assist.

“I hope other vessel owners and crew will be encouraged to participate, it really is quite an easy process and adds another interesting conversation piece to our charters,” said Mr Lacey.

Beluga’s passion and willingness to support marine conservation extends beyond Australian waters to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to include supporting a turtle sanctuary in the Conflict Islands, Take 3 for the Sea, and supporting the production of conservation documentary, ‘Blue’. These are not activities removed from their charter season yet integrated into the guests’ experience whilst on charter.

“Our charter guests are looking for yachting experiences with deeper meaning and Beluga is the leader in this field.

“Involvement in the Great Reef Census is easily incorporated into an itinerary and we would encourage charter guests, crew, and owners, to participate,” offered Mr Howard.

Beluga is a 34.7M custom-built Moonen explorer-style motor yacht built in 2006 and last refitted in 2011. She was built as a go-anywhere yacht with a robust elegant style.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2021/may/port-douglas-based-beluga-crowned-yacht-of-the-year/

MARINE biologist Phil Laycock believes Douglas Shire has some of the most diverse and special fishing experiences in remote Australia.

Phil is hosting the Fishing for the Future community workshop at the Port Douglas Community Hall next week.

With the annual barramundi season now on, the life-long Far Northerner reckons with a bit of patience and some smart techniques, fishers should be able to find a Barra or two in the creeks and rivers of Douglas Shire.

He also particularly likes chasing trevallies and finger-mark along the inshore reefs and sandflats between Yule Point and Newell Beach.

Fishing for the Future will be held at 5PM on Wednesday February 17, bringing local fishers together to discuss the importance of healthy fish stocks and local actions.

The workshop marks the first initiative in the $15,000 grant received through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to promote sustainable fishing practices.

The initiative is a project driven by the Douglas Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) and Douglas Shire Council.

Douglas LMAC covers an area from the Bloomfield River in the north to Buchan Point in the south and includes the towns of Daintree Village, Mossman and Port Douglas together with Wangetti and Ellis beaches.

“I have worked as a fishing guide in the Northern Territory and been on deck chasing Black Marlins, but my best fishing experiences have been in the Douglas Shire,” Phil said.

“I think it’s the diversity of fishing experiences that makes it one of the best places I have fished in Australia – it is quite special, but it could be even better.”

“If the community can work together towards a common interest of a sustainable fishing future, fishers, business, industry and the environment all stand to benefit from the improved fishing experiences this can create.”

Council’s Sustainability Officer Ada Pasanen said Phil brought extensive experience to the Fishing for Future workshop.

“We want to encourage locals and tourists to fish and boat sustainably to help our fish populations,” she said.

“Our work will also help protect local marine animals by addressing threats to the reef while supporting the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.”

The Fishing for the Future workshop will also be available via Online access.

WORKSHOP DETAILS:

Wednesday 17 February 2021

5pm-8pm

Port Douglas Community Hall, Cnr. Mowbray and Muldo Streets, Port Douglas, or via online access.

Registration Essential

For event enquiries contact environment@douglas.qld.gov.au

Source: https://douglas.qld.gov.au/fishing-for-the-future-in-douglas-shire/

Concept designs for the world’s first Living Coral Biobank, a dedicated coral conservation facility proposed to be built in Port Douglas, have been revealed.

Great Barrier Reef Legacy’s $70 million Living Coral Biobank project aims to secure the long-term future and biodiversity of corals worldwide with the primary goal of the facility to store, keep alive and nurture over 800 species of the world’s hard corals which can be used to rehabilitate reefs in nature in the future.

With the look inspired by the ‘mushroom’ coral, the proposed building, dubbed a ‘living ark’, will be the only dedicated facility of its kind in the world and will be the base for the project which will also use public and home aquarium collectors to hold and maintain backup fragments all over the world, creating the largest collaborative preservation network of corals.

The facility’s innovative design and engineering – by Australian architects Contreras Earl Architecture, and engineering and sustainability consultants Arup and Werner Sobek – will make it a world leader in next-generation renewable energy design, creating optimal conditions for coral storage while minimising energy consumption and solar gain.

Dr Dean Miller, Living Coral Biobank Project Director and Managing Director of the Port Douglas based GBR Legacy said the project will begin collecting coral next week off the Far North Queensland coast, to be temporarily stored at Cairns Marine.

And if all goes to plan he said the Port Douglas facility is hoped to be built and housing coral by 2025.

“The Living Coral Biobank is the only project that can secure the living biodiversity of the world’s coral species immediately,” Dr Miller said.

“To ensure this priceless living collection is held in perpetuity for generations to come we need the world’s most advanced facility that also promises to use only renewable energy sources and function with optimum efficiency, while also creating an unforgettable visitor experience – and that’s exactly what this design delivers.”

While the corals will be the primary user of the building, the 6,830 sqm multi-function centre will also host exhibition areas, an auditorium and classrooms as well as advanced research and laboratory facilities over four levels.

The Living Coral Biobank would see visitors get up close to live specimens in aquarium displays, learn about coral ecosystems through exhibitions and events, and observe coral husbandry experts going about their daily work in a protected wet lab environment.

The facility will also have a unique 200-person function space.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said he was blown away by the new, modern design released for the Living Coral Biobank.

“This iconic design will be a recognisable structure which people will automatically relate back to Port Douglas,” he said.

“The unique architecture has the right feel for a globally significant and cutting-edge coral reef conservation facility to be based right here in Port Douglas.”

Mayor Kerr said he believes the proposed state-of-the-art centre will enhance Douglas Shire’s reputation as a leader in reef conservation through innovation and science. 

“With their drive and enthusiasm, the team at Great Barrier Reef Legacy are not only going to deliver a world-class preservation project, but give Port Douglas another special attraction for visitors to enjoy.

“Our community has a real opportunity to own this project while making a really positive difference to the environment and the future of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

The project’s architects and engineers have integrated a holistic sustainable strategy to the design which includes reducing energy consumption by tactically dividing the building into six compatible climate zones over four levels, with adjacencies minimising energy resource use for climatic control. Aspiring to the biosystems of the coral reefs themselves, the building will aim to be self-sufficient and carbon neutral.

Architect Rafael Contreras said this project brings with it a profound responsibility to consider the impact of architecture and the construction industry on the natural world.

“The Living Coral Biobank is an opportunity to set a global benchmark for sustainable outcomes and zero-carbon goals as well as creating a world-leading conservation and education facility.

“The ambition for this project is to create a beacon for environmental awareness – a centre of hope, learning and wonder,” she said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/october/designs-revealed-for-living-coral-biobank-in-port-douglas/

Hemingway’s Brewery is launching a new lager to salute the un-named cane cutters of a bygone era who worked in the fields under the sweltering sun without complaint.

The official launch of the mid-strength lager, Canecutter, will be held from 5:00 to 7:00pm on Friday at Hemingway’s Brewery Port Douglas and Cairns, where the public will be provided an opportunity to sample the new product.

After a very successful response to the limited release of the mid-strength FNQ Resilience Lager, Hemingway’s has made a few minor improvements and introduced the new Canecutter to its core range.

Hemingway’s CEO and founder, Tony Fyfe, said Canecutters Lager is inspired by the sugar cane that surrounds this region and the cane cutters who forged the industry that Far North Queensland is built on.

Hemingway’s Brewery has created a perfectly sessionable and thirst-quenching lager for the Far North Queensland climate. Best of all it is brewed right here in the Far North for locals in the Cairns & Port Douglas region. “You could say it really is the Beer From up Here,” says Fyfe.

“We wanted to create a beer that suited the Far North Queensland palate and was sessionable too. We had a lot of feedback from locals that they wanted a mid-strength as well.

“It’s all very well having great beers that are big on flavour and aroma, but they also tend to be higher in alcohol and you have to stop at just one or two.”

Fyfe said creating a good lager is very difficult. Without some of the higher hopping regimes and strong flavours that are typical of many craft beers, there is nowhere to hide any imperfections.

“We have already done it once with our gold medal, award-winning Tunnel 10 lager (4.2% ABV) but the challenge was to create another great lager in the mid-strength range. Our first iteration that we introduced to the public was the limited release FNQ Resilience Lager and it went down extremely well,” he said. 

Canecutter has been in development for some months but with the onset of COVID-19, Hemingway’s decided to test an earlier version and get it out to the public as soon as possible and at a great trial price.

“That was our FNQ Resilience Lager. Although extremely popular it wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be, so we made a few tweaks to get it just right,” said Fyfe.

Canecutter Lager is a mid-strength lager (3.5% ABV) with clean, citrus flavours on the palate with and grain tropical, passionfruit and watermelon aromas. Showcasing great Australian hops with a low bitterness and a crisp, refreshing finish. Perfect for a BBQ or day out with friends and family.

Canecutters’ is only available for purchase from either the Port Douglas or Cairns Wharf venues where you can enjoy it on tap or grab on the go for takeaway. It is also available at a few select local bars, cafes and is gaining momentum.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/new-hemingways-lager-a-salute-to-the-canecutters/

Hemingway’s Brewery Port Douglas turns four-years-old today.

The popular brewery will reopen for a one night only special event tonight to celebrate after being closed for months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With restrictions limiting numbers the event has already sold out.

Hemingway’s Marketing Manager, Kim Logan, said while they are not re-opening permanently just yet they couldn’t miss out on celebrating their birthday.

“We wanted to be able to celebrate our birthday with our Hop Head members and locals,” she said.

“The last four years have been just amazing with great support from locals and many regular tourists who visit us year after year.

“We can’t wait to get back to doing what we love which is creating a great place for people to chill and relax after a day on the reef, discovering the Daintree or after a hard day’s work, where they can enjoy a great locally made fresh beer. We hope COVID is just a blip on the radar.”

Ms Logan said the last few months have been extremely difficult, as has been the case for many local businesses.

“We have been able to drive some sales through online beer sales and home delivery and it has been encouraging to watch that side of the business grow but it is very small compared to previous revenue.”

Hemingway’s Cairns venue reopened on 18 June, but the Port Douglas venue will have to wait just a little longer.

“We have been preparing for re-opening, but we are just waiting for the border announcements from the Queensland Government before we make a final decision on when that will happen and what that will look like,” Ms Logan said.

“The team are keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Our venue manager, Chris Barber, has done an amazing job of keeping the team spirits up and communicating to the team about the many changes that have been happening over the last few months with all that COVID has had to throw at us.

“We are very proud of our ‘Brew Crew’ and how they have coped with these unusual circumstances.”

Ms Logan added that if people are disappointed that they missed out on the birthday bash they can sign up to the Hop Heads membership to be the first to get any Hemingway’s news about beer, offers and events.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/hemingways-celebrates-four-years-in-port-douglas/?L=22

Slowly but surely businesses are starting to re-emerge and one local favourite set to make an appearance this weekend is Calypso Snorkel and Drive.

For the first time since 21 March, Calypso will dip its toes back in the water venturing out to the outer reef this Saturday, 13 June.

Operations Manager, Chris Jones, said it’s a great feeling.

“We are very excited. Our crew is really happy to be back in the water and I think everyone around town is happy to see boats return to the ocean,” he said.

“It’s been extremely difficult, not just for our staff but the whole town.”

Locals looking to revisit the reef are in for a treat with Calypso offering a huge locals discount of 50 per cent for a limited time.

Mr Jones said the weekend’s weather will be perfect so it’s a great time to take advantage of the offer.

“We saw an opportunity to get out and see the reef and hopefully with the easing of restrictions in Queensland we will see more tourists start to come up.”

Calypso will operate under a COVID Safe plan with social distancing and extra hygiene measures in place.

With few tourists currently in town, Mr Jones said they will use Saturday as a trial run.

“This is our first run; we haven’t got a scheduled date for a second run yet; we will see how this one goes and take it from there.

“We will see who’s in town and how many people take up the locals offer.”

Mr Jones said he was eager for business to return to pre-COVID levels.

“I would like to see the borders open, the sooner the better but when it is safe to do so,” he said.

Currently, the state borders are still closed with the Queensland Government set to review matters at the end of the month.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/calypso-returns-to-the-outer-reef/

Beer lovers rejoice, the inaugural annual Port Douglas Craft Beer Festival is on Friday 27 December at 11.00am at Hemingway’s Brewery at the Crystalbrook Super Yacht Marina.

The festival is set to feature beers from Far North Queensland breweries and distilleries including Hemingway’s Brewery FNQ, Macalister Brewing Company, Coral Sea Brewing Co., Barrier Reef Brewing Co. and Wolf Lane Distillery.

There will be a range of beers from the different breweries on offer as well as Hemingway’s core range and six specially brewed beers for the day.

Hemingway’s Port Douglas Venue Manager, Chris Barber, said after the success of beer festivals at the Hemingway’s Cairns venue they decided it was Port Douglas’ time to shine. “We are going to have some funky new beers for people to try. We had a lot of new releases for the recent What The Funk? Festival in Cairns so there are a lot of new beers that people haven’t got to try up here yet,” he said.

“We have some Belgium barrel-aged beers, strawberry saison, hemp beer, sours, and a heap of other beers, so there will be something for everyone.”

Mr Barber said the festival is about showing off what Port Douglas has to offer.

“It’s a celebration of beer and Port Douglas is the perfect spot for it.

“There will be tourists here from down south so it’s a good opportunity to show that we can mix it with the best of them. “Our signature beer Pitchfork Bettys was rated number 34 on the GABS’ (Great Australasian Beer Spectapular) Hottest 100 Countdown last year.”

The GABS’ Hottest 100 Countdown is an annual ranking of the top craft beers in Australia and with this year’s voting currently underway, Hemingway’s is calling on Far Northerners to cast their vote for their favourite brew.

The winners will be announced on 25 January at Hemingway’s Brewery in Cairns.

As for Friday’s Port Douglas Craft Beer Festival, there will be live entertainment from local artist Cam Kettle from 2.00pm and the food truck, the Charcoal Chief, will have your food cravings covered.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2019/december/craft-beer-the-flavour-for-inaugural-beer-festival/

Port Douglas is enjoying two key milestones on its waters this year with the Chinese junk, the Shaolin, and the Lady Douglas paddlewheel river boat respectively celebrating 50 and 30 years of history.

Docked at the Marina, both have long and interesting stories to tell, none more so than the Shaolin, which, along with the Lady Douglas, is owned by Kate Agrums and members of her family.

The Shaolin has twice circumnavigated the world; experienced two cyclones; served as a listening post for the CIA off the coast of China; and has even been subjected to pirates.

It was originally built for a retired US naval officer in 1966 in Hong Kong with the intent to transport and trade rare shells out of the Mariana Islands in Guam. After foregoing her adventures, she sailed to North Queensland in the mid-1980s and is now a popular feature in Port Douglas for locals and visitors.

Kate, who manages both vessels with husband Lucas and brother Flynn Bickford, said they both have sentimental value.

“As kids we hung out on the Shaolin and my father played music on the Lady Douglas,” she said. The children of both families all play their role and help wherever they can. “It’s a real family affair with six children involved,” she said.

Referring to the milestones, Kate said this is very exciting.

“It’s the iconic significance these two beautiful boats have on Port Douglas. Both are original boats in the Marina from 30 years ago. Shaolin came into Port around the same time the Lady Douglas was built, so they have long and strong history as two of the original boats here in the Marina.

“Both boats are iconic to the port and people remember them and come back year after year to do our cruises again because they love the individuality and history that they both hold. Flynn and I were born here in Port and remember both the boats as we were growing up,” she said.

Kate said her first job was a deckhand on the Shaolin, so they hold significant memories for us and all of the locals.

“Our two families are proud to have these beautiful boats and we are devoted to loving them and looking after them with the love and passion they deserve.”

Over the years, there have been many highlights and Kate singled out the television coverage the Lady Douglas received with the Queensland Weekender Show and the Morning Show; along with the many famous faces who have enjoyed the voyage over the years.

“But the main highlight was bringing the Shaolin back to Port earlier this year (from Cairns) and reuniting the two.

“Since then we have had many people join us on the Lady Douglas for a croc-spotting river cruise; and enjoying the Shaolin for the authentic Chinese Junk Boat sailing experience,” she said.

Kate observed that both boats seem to appeal to the same people who love the fact that they are owned by a small local family and this positive feedback is definitely a highlight.

And what about the future? “We intend to market the Shaolin as the Port Douglas LOVE BOAT and use it for destination weddings. And use both boats for private charters and parties,” said Kate.

She said future plans include continuing to pour our hearts and souls into these two beautiful boats to keep them maintained and running daily.

“Although we are constantly working on ways to improve the vessels, we like to focus on encouraging the locals to join us on board.

“We always offer great local discounts, whatever the season, as we love having the locals out with us,” she said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2019/december/iconic-tourist-favourites-of-the-sea-celebrate-milestones/