Australia: QL: Townsville: 16/07/04: Diving the Yongala wreck

I heard already a long time ago that the SS Yongala wreck is the best dive in Australia. That is als why I have a liveaboard booked for that divesite. But more and more, I heard that quite often the sea is too rough to dive there, so they divert to other divesites. Currently, there is not so much wind, so I didn’t want to risk to not dive at the Yongala, and therefore booked a daytrip to the wreck.

It is a long way to the divesite: 3.5 hours with a fast boat. Luckily, it was a calm day (although half of the boat will deny this, as at least 6 out of 12 divers got very seasick).
I was teamed up with a diver, Tim, from Sydney (he actually knows the diver, Paul, I dived with South of Sydney). After a very good briefing, Tim and I jumped in as first buddy pair. You have to follow a few ropes at the surface and going down. Already on the way down, we saw a large school of barracudas. This was very promising.
At the wreck, I immediately saw it is not exagerated to have the Yongala rated as a top-dive. The wreck, whcih sank in 1911, is far away from reefs and therefore the only (artificial) reef in the area. So, all life gathers around this wreck. It is overgrown with soft and hard corals and the fishlife is enormous. Hughe schools, very big kingfish, batfish, extreme big Giant Queensland groupers (upto 2 meters), seasnakes, turtles. Everything seem to be bigger than normal (and it is not the underwater effect). We also saw 2 big bullsharks. I was trying to photograph a school of fish when all of a sudden, in a split second, they went away. I looked at Tim to ask if he knew what happened. I turned back and there was a very big bullshark. So I understood why the little fish swam for their lifes.
You can’t penetrate the wreck, because it is fully protected (it is actually a graveyard as everybody died on the ship). To me, I absolutely agree it is a top divesite. I am looking forward to go back there next week.
In the evening, it took me a while to find a spot to camp, so I had to drive in the dark, and immediately you see the animals coming out again, mainly kangaroos. (I luckily didn’t hit them).



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