Oct 042016
 
Stern of the HMS Southwold

The HMS Southwold was a WWII British destroyer. Built during the war and launched in late 1941, she was sunk less than six months later on March 24th, 1942. She was tasked with escorting the crippled HMS Breconshire to Malta after leaving the convoy. As she attempted to pass a line to the Breconshire, she hit a British mine. The resulting explosion in the engine room killed five people on board. With her back up generator fired up and crew working to plug the leaks, the Southwold was taken under tow by a tug. Shortly thereafter her hull began to split in half and the remaining crew were transferred to another ship as she went down. The split in the wreck means [read more…]

Sep 202016
 
Torpedos on the S-31 Schnellboot

Built in 1939 and sunk in 1942, the Motor Torpedo Boat the S31 had a short life. She had a thin metal hull with a mahogany wood coating, to assist her in slipping through mine fields. With 3 diesel engines on board she had a maximum speed of 38 knots carrying her crew of 24. In the early hours of May 10th the S31 was one of 7 MTBs lying in wait for the Welshman, who was expected to arrive in Valletta Harbour. The S31 had just finished placing a new minefield to the north west when she collided with a mine. Less than 30 minutes later she was underwater with 13 men still on board. The Schnellboot lies in [read more…]

Apr 052016
 
In the trees in Ela Elap

I spent the Easter long weekend in Mt Gambier. Four days of uninterrupted diving in sites at every level was a nice change from the usual two day jaunts. The first couple of days I dived with fellow-rEvo diver Tom in Pics, Kilsby’s and the site above, Ela Elap. Ela is a sinkhole site south of Mt Gambier. Unlike Piccaninnie Ponds it has greenish waters and a murky bottom. Ela is known for being cold and it lived up to its reputation – a balmy 18 degrees on the surface gave way to a chilly 11 degrees below 20m. We jumped in and spiralled down through the very murky surface layer to the dark water underneath. I took some shots of [read more…]

Dec 012015
 
Rusty stuff on the Milora

About the wreck The Milora was a steam powered coal cargo transport, built in 1921 in Melbourne and initially named the Emita. She had a cargo of 2,800 tonnes of coal on board when she ran aground in the Port Phillip Heads in September 1934. After removing 1,800 tonnes of coal she was refloated a week later with most of her hold flooded, and taken to Williamstown between two tugs. By 1935 she was found to be uneconomical to repair, stripped of her valuable parts and taken out and scuttled. The Milora now sits in about 40m of water. Originally 100m long, she is one of the larger wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard and a great dive. About the dive We’d done [read more…]

Oct 132015
 
Sponges on Lonsdale Wall

About the site I love Lonsdale Wall. It’s my favourite dive site in Melbourne – better than the scuttled wrecks, better than the really-hard-to-get-on reefs. Even in terrible conditions it’s usually not bad and on a good day it’s stunning. With good vis you can hang over the edge of the wall and look down into deep blue water below. If there’s a little bit of tide still running you can drift slowly along beside the yellow zooanthids and orange sponges, watching fish follow you curiously. In short, it’s nice. About the dive Sunday’s dive was the afternoon slack at the end of the flood tide. With good vis outside that morning I was looking forward to blue water and [read more…]

Sep 222015
 
Wreck diving the Wareatea

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 [read more…]