Letho's Blog

The S.S. Yongala wreck dive

by on Jul.25, 2011, under The East Coast

July 25, 2011

We left Townsville very early in the morning as we had to be in Ayr at 7:30am for our next big adventure: a wreck dive at the S.S. Yongala.

This steam ship sank off Cape Bowling Green in a hurricane in 1912, leaving all 122 passengers dead. It was finally discovered over 50 years later. Since its demise a rich, abundant marine life has settled on the wreck. Moreover, as it is a graveyard with human bones still lying well visible inside the ship it is now a Heritage site, meaning: it is protected, penetration or alteration of its objects is forbidden. Diving this wreck is supposed to be one of the top wreck dives in Australia, and we had been planning to do it since we had learnt diving at the Great Barrier Reef!

We started the journey to Ayr still in the dark and could enjoy the sun rising up. In addition to that we observed pre-harvest cane field burnings, a procedure not approved of by many locals but still traditionally executed by some farmers. It serves to get rid of wildlife and burn off the leaves, leaving behind the stalks only.

At the Yongala Dive Center we checked in, set up our gear and got a full and detailed briefing.

Afterwards we were transported to the beach, got on the transport vessel and had a rough ride to get to the wreck site as the sea was quite choppy.

It took us about 30 minutes. Then we finally jumped into the water for our first dive around the wreck. The abundance of marine life down here was amazing: huge schools of fish, turtles, rays, giant gropers, corals – it was all there and hanging around the wreck. On the surface again some of us had to struggle with sea sickness. Funnily in the water everything’s fine, but on the boat everything’s shaking around. I could only so avoid throwing up despite having taken pills against it!

On our second dive we could enjoy the scenery even more, with some key items being pointed out by the instructors again.

And now for some pictures, dive down with us into this fascinating adventure:

After returning to the dive center we enjoyed a good barbecue all together, still full of impressions.

In the end of the day we made our way further south and arrived in Bowen to stay for the night.

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