About the wreck
Unlike other wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard, the Wareatea was a passenger and cargo transport, built in 1883. She ran between Melbourne and the north coast of Tasmania between Federation in 1901 and the end of WWII in 1945, when she was scuttled. The wreck has great life on it with nice sponge growth and schools of fish around. While the bow is somewhat twisted and flat to the seabed the stern stands up and has the prop and rudder still in position.
About the dive
After a few weeks of diving in some pretty average vis, I was wondering if wreck diving was all it’s cracked up to me. Upon jumping into deep blue ocean I decided it was all worth it. We planed out to the Graveyard in flat seas and the ocean lived up to expectations.
Of course, not everything in life is meant to be easy. Despite having changed my faulty strobe bulkhead over for a new one and tested it before the dive, the strobe attached to it refused to fire. The first 5 minutes of bottom time were spent trying to get enough coverage with one strobe without hazing out the foreground. I was glad to have off camera strobes on my buddy but annoyed that they seemed determined to flare off his bailout tanks. And I was feeling the pressure of good vis and a very nice wreck – better surface with some good shots!
About the photos
Technical issues notwithstanding I was happy with the photos that came out of the dive. I like the top photo here because of the combination of foreground colour, background superstructure and diver for scale all coming together. I found the fans on the boiler particularly photogenic. They may not be orange but they are all aligned to point in the same direction, bristling out of the boiler. It was also good to be able to shoot this at 1/40th of second and f7.1 and have the clear water still deliver enough sunlight to the sensor.
After landing amidships we made our way to the stern to check out the prop. It was there as advertised but somewhat buried in among the other wreckage and I moved about to try and get a good angle. I like this shot because the off camera strobes are flaring but somewhat hidden with excellent modelling skill. The yellow zooanthids are always a nice contrast against blue water. Even with only one strobe working I’ve managed to get relatively good light coverage and capture rudder, prop and model in one go.
This was a brilliant dive and a nice change from the recent conditions. Fingers crossed that it continues through into summer!