Sep 152015

Swimming along the walkway of the ex-HMAS Adelaide

About the wreck

The ex-HMAS Adelaide is a sister ship to the ex-HMAS Canberra. Both were deliberately sunk after a useful life of service and now serve as diver attractions. I have dived the Canberra (which sits out of Melbourne) a few times, but I hadn’t visited the Adelaide. She can be found on the NSW Central Coast, just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney.

Scootering on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

About the dive

I was up in NSW to give a talk at Dive Imports on the delights of cave diving around the country. After a great night with an enthusiastic audience we were up early Saturday morning to head out to the wreck. The topside weather was fantastic with bright sunshine. Unfortunately the glass seas had developed a large swell over the last few days. Once in the water it was clear this was going to be a dark and surgey dive.

I followed Sue and we headed down to the engine room, timing my movement through the doorways with the surge. I was hoping for better vis inside but it was all pretty stirred up. From there we worked our way up through the wreck to the bridge, then back along the deck to find the mooring line. I got some up close shots of the rooms and features as we worked our way through, with the dark water outside making it feel very cave-like at times.

For the second dive we had a quick dip and a play with a couple of Suex scooters. It’s well known that scooters make you look a lot cooler. The problem for photography is catching it on camera as divers whiz past. I was happy to get this shot of Ian entering the wreck on the way to the bow.

About the photos

I was very glad to have brought my off camera strobes along and to have found a willing model to carry them! Without the extra backing light the top shot here would have had the diver disappearing into the background. The extra light behind the deck railings appears to be coming from Sue’s torch but is also shining out from the strobe on her hip d-ring.

Even in terrible vis it’s possible to take photos that show off the wreck, and a nice reminder that it’s not always blue, calm and clear under the ocean.

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