Tributes have begun pouring in for a respected Port Douglas fishing boat captain, described as “the kindest man you could meet on the water” after his tragic death at age 46.

TRIBUTES are pouring in for a respected Port Douglas fishing boat captain who lost his brave battle with a terminal illness.

Zulu Game Fishing skipper Casey Dent, 46, died on Friday at the Mossman Hospital after an almost two-year fight with kidney cancer.

The much-loved marine industry skipper was diagnosed with the illness after complaining of severe lower back pain and sciatica symptoms.

He was initially prescribed pain killers before a scan revealed the cancer had spread and was incurable.

His partner, Amanda Haines, has fought bravely by his side and has shared her torment through a series of heartbreaking social media posts.

“I already miss you so so so much. My heart is completely broken, my body feels as heavy as a rock and I don’t know how to do life without you,” she said in one post after his passing. “I just want to talk to you and get a sign that you’re out there somewhere and not in the pain that stopped your heart yesterday. “My pain is only just beginning.”

Friends and colleagues have also taken to social media to pay their respects to the “gentle soul” who would “literally give you the shirt off his back”.
A Zulu Game Fishing spokesman said Mr Dent’s skills, experience and knowledge were “simply irreplaceable”.

“He will forever be ingrained in every aspect of our operations,” one post said. The Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association said he was “the kindest man you could meet on the water”. “It is with deepest sadness and a heavy heart I share the news of the passing of Captain Casey Dent from the Zulu,” the post read. “A true gentle soul and the kindest man you could meet on the water.” “Condolences to Amanda and the Dent family who have been by Casey’s side this whole time.” “If anything this past few weeks prove that life is very fragile and short. RIP Casey.”

Ms Haines, who worked alongside Mr Dent on the Port Douglas-based fishing charter, told her followers she was starting to feel the “after” of a long and courageous fight.
“I would do anything to go back to ‘before’ but that would just be transferring the pain back to you babe Casey Dent – I’ll carry it for you now.”

Source: Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette https://bit.ly/3jO6xvr

Today the community is remembering a true hero and pioneer of Great Barrier Reef conservation, who has left a legacy that will live on forever.

Renowned conservationist, John Rumney passed away peacefully on the weekend aged 70, after suffering a stroke in early September.

Few names are as synonymous with reef protection as that of the Port Douglas-based conservationist who for more than three decades dedicated his life to safeguarding the reef.

John was awarded Australian Geographic’s Lifetime Conservation Award in 2019, in recognition of his life’s work and was named Douglas Shire’s citizen of the year in 2017.

Originally from the United States, and a nature lover, John came to Australia because he had to see the Great Barrier Reef. Once he arrived in Port Douglas he knew this was home. He and wife Linda built a boat and started a commercial fishing business and soon he became increasingly aware of the negative effects human activities were having on the fragile environment.

From there, John’s passion grew, and he founded the scientific research and dive vessel, Undersea Explorer, and Eye to Eye Marine Encounters research and eco-tourism operations, advancing research and understanding of the reef that resulted in greater protection and conservation.

Most recently, John founded the Great Barrier Reef Legacy in 2016 of which he described as the evolution of his life’s work, building on all his previous endeavours to create a foundation that brings together the best scientific minds, educators, and multimedia specialists to create positive and lasting outcomes for the environment.

In its first four years, GBR Legacy has raised over $1 million, ran five major reef expeditions, and supported research projects from major universities and government organisations, as well as educated our regions school students through their unique multi-media content like the Virtual Reality experiences many of us have enjoyed.

GBR Legacy co-founder and friend, Dr Dean Miller, said John was selfless beyond measure and “had the unique ability to fuel the fires in you that made you want to do great things.”

“John loved the natural world. Every little detail was fascinating beyond belief, and he inherently understood the processes that drive the systems we take for granted from local to global,” Dr Miller said.

“John started, was part of, or chaired countless committees, attended meetings at every level, lobbied our politicians, appeared in and coordinated countless documentaries, and most importantly was a leader and a trusted voice in all reef-related matters.”

Dr Miller said his mentor was a “pioneer in thought and actions”, creating the first ecotourism venture before the word had meaning, expertly mixing science, tourism and adventure to benefit the reef and the communities that rely on it.

“So today we celebrate a humble man who achieved larger than life goals – a loving family man, great colleague, inspiring mentor, and the most loyal and genuine friend anyone could hope for. An adventurer at heart, a conservationist by nature, and one of the worlds’ great leaders who valued those around him,” Dr Miller said.

Recently GBR Legacy launched the world’s first Living Coral Biobank Project, which will see hard-coral species stored and kept alive in a state of the art holding facility in Port Douglas in perpetuity to aid in all reef research, restoration and recovery projects.

John was extremely excited about this project that would help secure a better future for the reef’s survival and leave a true legacy for future generations.

Overall John’s work, endeavours, and organisations have helped increase reef research as well as raise the standards surrounding fishing, tourism, and diving on the reef, and has accelerated actions vital to the future survival of coral reefs around the world and ensure community resilience for his beloved Port Douglas and the Far Northern region.

John is survived by wife Linda, three daughters, Shannon, Jenna, and Nikki and his grandchildren, who all share his passion and love for the environment. 

There are no Barriers too Great to save our Reefs – GBR Legacy

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/september/vale-john-rumney-true-pioneer-and-champion-of-the-reef/?fbclid=IwAR2Qf7781lDqMaS00FVzn6-VgfYWkMddooAhRHjG8eXC_vkLTEV9izh4v28

Spirit Superyacht is making waves and turning heads as she arrives at her new home for the season in Port Douglas.

The arrival of My Spirit Superyacht to the Crystalbrook Marina better solidifies Port Douglas as a high-profile superyacht destination.

The 35-meter wave piercer demands attention with a stunning design that catches the eye, showcasing sleek muscular exterior lines that will leave marina visitors ogling at the sheer scale and luxury of the vessel.

Martin and Jo Debanks – Captain and Chef team of Spirit Luxury Charters along with their professional hand-picked crew had a bit of a rainy start to their voyage from Brisbane to Port Douglas but are elated to be berthed in the idyllic town.

Captain Martin said Port Douglas is an obvious choice for a luxury yacht mooring with its world-class facilities, 5-star resorts and renowned restaurants.

Swaying palm trees, sandy beaches and both the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest on its doorstep, Port Douglas bursts with all the natural gifts of Mother Nature.

“We just love coming here. Whenever we’re in Port Douglas we can’t help but feel like we’re on holiday,” said Jo.

Have you ever dreamed of a super lux, super indulgent vacation onboard a superyacht that is usually reserved for A list celebs, royalty and titans of industry?

Martin and Jo have a passion for making sea-loving dreams come true for most anyone. Both with over 26 years of worldwide yachting experience the two specialize in bespoke experiences up and down the East coast and to the beautiful, remote South Pacific Islands, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

“In my opinion, this is the most stunning and safest yachting adventure you’ll have in the world,” said Martin.

This speaks volumes considering Martin and Jo have recently completed two global circumnavigations.

“Living in the Tropical Great Barrier Reef region we get the best of both words – the beauty of the nature on land while still being able to dip a toe in the water on our personalized charters,” said Jo.

It has been proven that superyachts inject ample revenue into the economy of the destination they harbour in, from crew spend, maintenance and repairs, to provisions. However, due to the COVID climate, Spirit have had to position themselves a bit differently.

With a client base that is predominantly International, they have had the good fortune to be able to shift those charters to later dates.

“Our focus is now on clients from Australia, to get them to discover what’s in their backyard. This is the ideal time for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to vacation on a superyacht like Spirit, it’s first-class all the way,” said Martin.

Forward bookings are looking strong for those Australians looking to soak in the scent of the ocean, and relish in the chic boat life floating the days away in comfort and style.

Imagine, the gentle rocking of the ocean, salty sea breeze, fresh culinary delights at your whim while sailing to sensational locations that makes real life actually look like what you see on Instagram.

“Where better to practice social distancing than on a yacht?” Said Jo – surrounded by the sea and your loved ones, makes this the safest and most low-risk holidays you can have.

“Plus, you don’t get cleaner than superyacht clean,” she jokes referring to the constant cleaning and detailing of the ‘floating hotel’ – once you finish polishing end to end, time to turn around and do it again.

If a getaway on a luxury superyacht sounds pretty good right now with a culinary extravaganza that is the wind in the sails of any indulgent charter, come and have a porthole peek at My Spirit yacht moored at Crystalbrook Marina and say “Ahoy” to Martian and Jo.

For more information visit My Spirit Superyacht or call +61 408 503 339.

A fruitful marina restaurant is luring foodies in with quality produce and exceptional service.

This year it has been anything but predictable on the culinary landscape with restaurants forced to chop and change how they do business.

However, amongst all this ambiguity Lure Restaurant at the Crystalbrook Marina remains a favourite for locals and visitors, by getting the basics right, still finding success during uncertain times opening for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

Owner, Kelly Caughey, said their family run restaurant continues to offer outstanding value for money and amazing coffee.

The successful aspects of Lure include a casual yet inviting environment, a menu stamped with personality, passion about coffee and using fresh locally forged ingredients.  

These factors are suiting our population right now as people seek more connection to the food they eat, more space to relax and tune out and more experience from dinning out.

It also doesn’t hurt when your restaurant is on the right side of the tracks with gorgeous rainforest and marina water views.

The secret sauce to Lure’s success is Kelly’s team. Many of them have been with her since she took over the marina hotspot six years ago – This is something refreshing in a place where high staff turnover runs rampant and a true testament to Kelly’s ability to cultivate a positive culture in the restaurant.

“Some of the team here are part of the furniture. I love them to bits and can’t thank them enough for all their efforts, they are my second family,” said Kelly.

Kelly has effectively blended creative artistry to her products while running an optimistic business which is vital to keeping a good team and being an employer of choice.  

There is a pride among the staff to cover all the details making Lure the kind of spot that is a blueprint for the perfect day date – Ideal for settling into panoramic mountain views, sipping something bubbly while rediscovering something incredible, the simple pleasures in life that make moments magic – much like their menu, it is a playful twist on classics.

“With cold beer on tap and the best views in Port Douglas, you know you’re in for a perfect afternoon,” said Kelly.

Easy dining for all dietary requirements such as vegan and celiac – seasonal produce takes centre stage, delivering a polished, evolving menu that reflects the best of the region and surrounds – think bugs, oysters, tiger prawns, barramundi, coral trout, calamari, whiting and scallops.

It may seem obvious, but the foundations of a thriving restaurant during these times need to be rock solid. The clear vision for your staff culture that is stirred you into action, a deep-rooted passion for service, an excellent understanding of value to your guests and fresh local produce.

Kelly and her team give a masterclass in these fundamentals. 

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/september/marina-restaurant-is-luring-in-the-foodies/

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/

Local businesses are continuing to call on the public to ‘Do It In Douglas’ as part of the Buy Douglas: Build Douglas campaign, including the operators of the Lady Douglas River Cruise and the Shaolin Chinese Junk, who recently used their downtime to give a bit of love to the old ladies of Port Douglas.

In what is a family affair, Lady Douglas has been owned and operated by locals Kate and Lucas Agrums for the past six years, while Kate and brother, Flynn Bickford, have owned the Shaolin for the last year and a half.

Like many small businesses, the tours had to shut up shop during the height of COVID restrictions earlier this year with both boats out of action for 80 days.

There was no downtime for the small business operators, however, who got busy lovingly restoring the vessels’ unique charms.

“We actually haven’t had many days off at all, we have spent the time focussing on getting the boats sparkling and in their best shape,” Kate said.

It was all hands on deck, with the whole family joining in the refurb as well as lending a helping hand when the tours restarted.

“Our families all come and work during the school holidays, we get all of the kids helping out wherever possible. The kids love it and guests think it is fantastic to see a local family running their business firsthand,” said Kate.

Over the last couple of months, business has slowly been building back up and Kate said it has been a long road.

“There have been many hurdles to overcome, endless hours of reading ever-changing guidelines and many frustrating moments trying to decipher exactly what we are and aren’t allowed to do.

“Not to mention the many changes that we have had to make on both our boats and tours to keep in line with the COVID safe restrictions and regulations.

“And despite the circumstances we are always trying to growing our businesses and have introduced a new Shaolin Seafood Lunch Sail on market days, Wednesdays and Sundays,” she said.

The Lady Douglas River Cruise has been operating out of Port Douglas for over 30 years.

The 1.5-hour river cruise meanders along the unspoiled mangrove channels of Dickson’s Inlet, spotting estuarine crocodiles, sea eagles, Brahminy Kites, several varieties of crabs and much more local wildlife along the way.

The Shaolin is a 50-year-old traditional Chinese junk ship taking guests on a unique sunset sail, or for those looking to venture further, a snorkelling trip out to Low Isles.

As a small business owner, Kate believes locals supporting local business will be vital to helping the economy through this tough period.

“I think it is very important for our community to buy local and support our fellow local businesses.

“If we all spend our money locally, it will definitely have a domino effect and I believe what goes around should come around.”

Building on that community spirit, the boats are currently offering local discounted rates of $30 on Lady Douglas and $40 on the Shaolin for a limited time.

“This has proven very popular with our local’s, we have had loads of positive responses and great feedback, which is always nice to hear,” said Kate.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/two-douglas-icons-get-a-little-bit-of-love/

Choo Choos at the Marina has recently reopened its doors for the first time since March and is sporting a fresh new look.

Like many Douglas businesses Choo Choos was forced to close due to COVID restrictions and manager, Rebecca Stemp, said the team, who have been part of the Choo Choos family for many years, were extremely excited to finally get back to work.

“It’s been a really good start,” she said.

“We were probably one of the last places to reopen because we are on the marina, so when the boats weren’t running we didn’t get the foot traffic, so it was hard.”

Now with more visitors in town, Choo Choos is raring to go.

The Choo Choos team were certainly not twiddling their thumbs during the closure, using their downtime to give the place a freshen up.

“We have been repainting all the outside, we have re-varnished all the floors, and have just been getting everything looking fresh and nice again.”

Greenery is now a big feature of the café with plants donning the walls and bar along with beautiful hand drawn artworks.

However, Rebecca said one of the best parts about the café is the beautiful location overlooking the marina and the great atmosphere, which can be enjoyed from the sun deck under the large new weatherproof umbrellas.

“I think we are very lucky in that regard,” she said.

In reopening, Choo Choos also launched a new menu, sporting an all-day breakfast as well as lunch from 11:30am.

“We are also planning to add a dinner service in the near future,” Rebecca said.

And for the dog lovers out there, Choo Choos welcomes furry customers as well.

Choo Choos is open seven days from 7:00am to 2:00pm.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/choo-choos-reopens-with-fresh-new-look/

Businesses are rejoicing as stage three of Queensland’s roadmap to easing restrictions came into effect at midday today, including one of Port Douglas biggest venues, Hemingway’s Brewery, who will reopen its doors tonight.

Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes will be afforded greater freedoms under stage three making it easier to operate with capacity limits risen.

The maximum number of patrons at any one time will now be determined by the four square metre rule, with divided areas no longer required.

For smaller venues below 200 square metres, businesses can have one person per two square metres up to 50 persons at a time.

For large venues such as Hemingway’s the previous capacity limits had made it difficult to open, but today’s easing, as well as the announcement that borders will reopen on 10 July, has prompted the brewery to throw open its doors.

Hemingway’s Marketing Manager, Kim Logan, said the team was extremely excited to welcome everyone back to the Port Douglas brewery.

“The easing of restrictions allows us to open for three days a week to gauge patronage,” she said.

“We truly hope that Port Douglas sees enough of an upsurge in visitors so we can once again return to something close to ‘business as usual.’ Only time will tell.”

The Port Douglas venue will be open Fridays and Saturdays 4:00pm to late and Sundays 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

And for those who loved the taste of Hemingway’s recent special FNQ Resilience Lager, which was sold in cans during the closure, you’re in luck, it will be available on tap.

“Finally, you can enjoy drinks on the marina again,” Ms Logan said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/hemingways-opens-as-restrictions-ease-today/

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

Sailaway Port Douglas has returned to the seas this week resuming tour operations to the reef, Low Isles, and sunset sailing.

After having to suspend tours in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, Owner Steve Edmondson said it’s a great feeling seeing customers walk aboard the catamaran again for the first time in 80 days.

“It’s fantastic, we had two separate private family charters to start with last week and from Saturday we began our scheduled trips,” he said.

“It was a good start in difficult times. We were delighted to see the immediate support from two family charters who were overseas tourists who had been stuck here due to COVID, and as soon as it was allowed, they wanted to get out on the water.”

Mr Edmondson said Sailaway was eager to welcome back customers and for locals looking to get out for a spin now is the time to do so with big specials and locals discounts on offer.

“Those who book a full day reef trip will also receive a complimentary Sunset Sail. That’s only $283 for a full day reef trip and a Sunset Sail. Valid to travel until 30 November 2020.”

The downtime hasn’t been a holiday for Sailaway however, with Mr Edmondson saying they have been active on the boat, training and preparing for the return.

“We have had complete training days to make sure we are all ready. It’s not just a re-start but a rethink. We are reinventing how we do everything with the right practices, total safety and adapting to suit current circumstances.”

They have adopted a number of COVID Safe measures including temperature checks before boarding.

“We also kindly ask that customers have the COVID Safe app loaded and enabled on their phones. We think that is a simple and positive way of contact tracing should the need arise. The good thing is we don’t have to change our space and tour numbers as we already comply because we offer a spacious luxury catamaran with small groups,” he said.

Sailaway has also been busy with its environmental initiatives including the Eco Shamba Tree Farm.

“We’re planting another 650 hardwood cabinet timber trees (Spotted Gum and African Mahogany) on Eco Shamba Tree Farm in June, supported by every passenger who travels on Sailaway, contributing to our Carbon Offset Program,” Mr Edmondson said.

They have also been working on the Coral Nurture Program, installing coral frames and out planting fragment corals at their sites to enhance the coral cover.

“This is a new approach for the Great Barrier Reef that is initiated by a partnership between tourism and science,” Mr Edmondson said. “A core objective of this program is to introduce coral planting into localised stewardship and adaptation. This is to help ensure sustainable reef ecotourism and promote education on the major threats to coral reefs and possible future solutions. This involves nursery frames with opportunity coral fragments, then out-planting corals with an innovative ‘coral clip’ in order to boost live resilient coral growth at reefs that have experienced a fall in cover and also helps ensure reef sites with existing high coral cover that are economically valuable stay healthy.”

Over recent month’s Mr Edmondson has been heavily advocating for the state border to reopen and said he is pleased to see 10 July put forward as a likely open date.

“There hasn’t been much uptake in bookings for July and August because of a lack of confidence in the timeline due to the government’s mixed messages.”

Mr Edmondson hopes now some consumer confidence may return allowing visitors to start booking flights, tours, and accommodation.

Source:https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/sailaway-sets-sail/