Saturday, July 5, 2008
In 1911, off the coast of Ayr, the SS Yongala sailed into a severe cyclone and sank with the loss of all 121 passengers and crew on board.
Today it is regarded as one of Australia's best wreck dives and was our reason for diverting 16km off the highway to spend 2 nights in sleepy Alva beach.
The wreck is renowned for its fish life, but it can be rough and strong currents can make this dive demanding. Fortunately we had calm seas and little currnet to contend with, though visibility was down to about 10 -12m.
All descriptions of the marine life around SS Yongala should be prefixed with the word "big". For turtle, read "big turtle", for wrasse read "bloody big wrasse" and for giant trevally read "big, fast, mean looking fish that would fill your average doorway".
Other creatures spotted were sea snakes, groper, cod, and batish (NB, above prefix applicable to all). One of the highlights for me was finding myself in the middle of a school of Nunnygai (below). I have never been in the middle of such a large school of large fish before. We litteraly had to brush our way through them. Fantastic!