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Wreck Dives

South Australia has a rich maritime history with more than 800 shipwrecks recorded along the coast and inland waters. They provide a haven for marine life and an excellent platform for dive training and recreational dives. There are also a number of deliberately scuttled wrecks for the diving community such as the Ex HMAS Hobart.
 
Our shipwrecks are a non renewable heritage resource, we believe the protection of these historic sites is critical for the preservation of the states marine history and the surrounding marine life. Adelaide Scuba are wreck diving specialists conducting wreck specific training and fun dives on our SA wreck sites.
South Australian ‘AKA’ the Dredge

Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg

Depth: 15-20 meters

Rating: Open Water

The shipwreck of the South Australian, commonly known as the Glenelg Dredge, was built in Holland in 1911 and sailed to Adelaide in 1912. The vessel was a self-propelled cutter suction dredge at the Port River. The South Australian ceased its working life in 1982 and scuttled in January 1985 as an artificial reef for recreational divers and anglers. The wreck is laying upright in 20 meters of water with the deck area in about 15 meters of water, so it’s an ideal dive site for all levels of divers including beginners. The ship has a total length of approximately 40 meters and a width of around 8 meters. The main superstructure is primarily intact although some sections are unstable and care must be taken when visiting the site to reduce impact on the wreck.


Norma

Location: Metro Coastline, 40 minutes offshore, north of Glenelg

Depth: 12 meters

Rating: Open water

The ill-fated Norma was anchored off Semaphore preparing to sail to Europe with a cargo of 31,045 bags of wheat. At 0200 in the morning 21st of April 1907 the iron barque Adencraig rammed the Norma amidships on the port side, Adencraig had misjudged the distance between them. The Norma sank immediately drowning one of her crew, the sixty-year-old carpenter. When the Norma sank in 15 meters of water it settled upright on the bottom and had its mast sticking out of the water, which caused a shipping hazard. The wreck site is a mass of iron work – frames, ribs, plates, fittings, machinery, masts, etc. which makes a haven for many fish varieties including wobbegong sharks, bullseye, snapper, old wives, talma, boarfish and crabs.


The Saurian and Stanvac Barges

Location: Metro Coastline, 45 minutes offshore, south of Glenelg

Depth: 30 meters

Rating: Advanced

There are 3 barges at this site, one is 50 meters in length and 9 meters wide and the other 2 measure approximately 20 meters in length. These shipwrecks lay in approximately 30 meters of water of water so being is an advanced level dive so no decompression times are limited. The barges form an artificial reef on an otherwise sandy/silty bottom. Large schools of mackerel, whiting, pike and bullseye scatter the wrecks and make for an exciting dive. Many other marine species are present with many talma, moonlighters, old wives and gurnards making the site home. Keep your eyes out of large nudibranchs cruising the encrusted hulls. On calm sunny days small hammerhead sharks can occasionally be seen on the surface chasing schools of garfish.


MV Seawolf

Location: Metro Coastline, 45 minutes offshore, south of Glenelg

Depth: 18 meters

Rating: Open Water

The boat, originally named the Matsu Maru, was owned by a tuna fisherman from Port Lincoln who’d obtained the boat from the Australian Government after it was confiscated while operating off Darwin. With her new name emblazoned across her stern and bow, on Saturday, March 23rd 2002, she was scuttled and lies on her starboard side, some 20 meters to the south east of the hull of the HA Lumb, making the site a 2 wreck dive with a tyre reef thrown in for added interest. Commonly seen on the site are schooling kingfish feeding on mackerel above the wreckage. A generally clear dive with a lot of interesting growth and creatures about including the large cuttlefish under the hull and blue devils amongst the wreckage.


Cape Jaffa

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 2 hours south of Glenelg

Depth: 35-40 meters

Rating: Deep

The wreckage of the Cape Jaffa, a fishing trawler that was lost at sea in 1973 when sailing from the fishing community of Kingston, south east – South Australia to Adelaide. 3 lives were lost to the tragedy. The remains of the wreck sit in approximately 35 meters of water in the Gulf of St. Vincent. Whilst the vessel had been known for some time amongst a small number of divers, no one followed up on this knowledge to share it with the community and families who were impacted by the loss of the vessel. In September 2011, nearly 38 years to the day of its loss, a local diver was able to track down a previous owner of the vessel whom categorically confirmed it being the wreck of the Cape Jaffa.


Av Ulonga

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 2 hours south of Glenelg

Depth: 35-40 meters

Rating Deep

The Ulonga is the sister ship to the South Australian live aboard dive/fishing vessel, the Falie. She was originally a sailing ketch, was then converted to work on the river Murray, and then converted again, with an engine, to do short costal freight runs. She was lost in a storm in 1976, and wasn’t found again until approximately 2001. She lies in 39 meters of water to the sand, in an area prone to high currents, it can only be dived on days with dodge tides, or during slack water. Other things to look out for are entanglement on the myriad of anchors and fishing lines hooked on her bow, the ever present wobbegongs and excess amounts of silt.


Star of Greece

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 45 minutes south of Adelaide

Depth: 4-8 meters

Rating: Open Water

The Star of Greece was built in Belfast in 1868 and was a 1227 ton, 3 masted ship. The ship ran aground just north of Port Willunga in the early hours of the 13th of July 1888 having left Port Adelaide the previous afternoon. A permanent buoy marks the wreck and access is by long walk and snorkel or boat launched from the southern end of Aldinga beach or from O’Sullivan’s Beach ramp. Despite being wrecked only 200 meters from shore in 6 meters of water only 10 of the 27 crew survived. When the area is free from heavy swell and in calm water the wreckage can be easily seen from shore and above the costal cliffs, during times of rough water the wreckage can be covered in sand and hard to see.


Clan Ranald

Location: Yorke Peninsula, 3km offshore, 4 hours west of Adelaide

Depth: 18-25 meters

Rating: open Water/Advanced

The SS Clan Ranald weighing 3500 tonnes was a 2 decked, turret deck ship that sank off the rocky coast near Edithburgh. It’s the only turret ship to have been lost in Australian waters, and therefore represents a unique part of Australia’s maritime history. The bulk of crew were Asian sailors, known as lascars. The Clan Ranald is considered one of the worst shipwrecks in South Australia where only 24 survived out or 64 crew members. Large boar fish, snapper and cod are usually found on the site, as well as huge crayfish which cannot be taken out as it’s a marine reserve. A flaw in the ship’s design caused her to turn over when overloaded, causing her to sink after her departure from Port Adelaide on the 31st of January 1009. The anchor of the Clan Ranald sits on the cliffs above the wreck, marking its location to visitors.


Zanoni

Location: Yorke Peninsula, offshore, 4 hours north west of Adelaide

Depth: 18-20 meters

Rating: Open Water

The Zanoni cannot be dived without a permit issued by Heritage SA. A boat mooring buoy has been installed at the site for the safety of divers and so the wreck will not suffer anchor damage. It’s illegal to damage or interfere with the wreck and penalties are sever and may involve substantial fines, imprisonment and/or confiscation of equipment. The wreck is a marine reserve, so no fishing or taking anything from it. Built in 1865 and sunk in 1867. Approximately 15 nautical miles from Ardrossan. She was a 3 masted composite ship, 42 meters long. A remarkable intact wreck for her age. She lies on her side, and a bit of the superstructure is still standing.


Songvaar

Location: Yorke Peninsula, offshore, 4 hours northwest of Adelaide

Depth: 10 meters

Rating: Open Water

Songvaar was a 3 masted iron ship built in Stockton, England in 1884. On April the 14th 1912 (the same day the Titanic sank) the Songvaar’s chief mate dropped a second anchor as a storm was approaching. Unfortunately the tide went out and the vessel settled on the anchor and sank, it lays upright in 8 meters of water, between the northern end or Wardang Island and Point Pearce. Attempt to re-float the ship have failed and it was eventually blown up as a shipping hazard. The wreckage is scattered over a large area. Due to its location and the environment surrounding the wreck, marine life is prolific throughout the area with large schools of ocean sweep, leather jackets and blue devils commonly sighted. Visibility at the site is dependent on current, but plenty of bottom time can be spent among the fish life.


HMAS Hobart

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula, 1 hour south of Adelaide

Depth: 15-30 meters

Rating: Advance

The Ex HMAS Hobart was a Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer in the Royal Australian Navy, built in the USA and commissioned in Boston in 1965. The vessel completed 3 tours of duty off Vietnam in 1968, 2 sailors lost their life and 7 were injured when the vessel was hit by “friendly” fire. The Hobart was sunk in November 2002 as an artificial reef and lies in 30 meters of water approximately 4kms off Rapid Bay. Access is by boat from Marina St Vincent’s boat ramp and a permit system applies. The 134 meter wreck which takes several visits to see it all, it’s a fabulous wreck dive ideal for advanced level divers.


Ha Lumb

Location: Metro Coastline, 45 minutes offshore, south of Glenelg

Depth: 18 meters

Rating: Open Water

The Lumb is a wreck sunk in 1994 specifically as a dive site by the South Australian dive industry. She lies upright on the bottom 30 meters west of the Noarlunga tyre reef in approximately 20 meters of water 2.5kms west of the Noarlunga aquatic reserve. The Lumb started life as tug working in Tasmania before being used in Port Lincoln. She was refitted as a fishing trawler and used to fish for tuna. At the end of her life she was purchased by the dive industry. She was cleaned up and holes were cut in her deck and she was sunk for recreational SCUBA diving and fishing. The Lumb is just 20 or so meters off to the west of the MV Seawolf making the site a 2 wreck dive with a tyre reef thrown in for added interest towards the northern sections of the wreck. Commonly seen on the site are schooling kingfish feeding on the mackerel above the ship.


Portland Maru

Location: Kangaroo Island, 4 hours southwest of Adelaide

Depth: 18 meters

Rating: Open Water/ Advanced

The remains of the Portland Maru are slightly west of the cliffs at Cape Torrens and 500 meters from the shore. Broken up over many years, the hull is lying flat on the seabed with a number of straight lines encrusted with sponges and coral. Standing tall in the water are the 2 huge boilers and steam engine covered with colourful growth. There is a large concentration of fish including red snapper, old wives, long-snouted boarfish, blue devils and a huge assortment of decorator crabs and crayfish.


Glenelg Barge

Location: Metro Coastline, 20 minutes offshore from Glenelg

Depth: 15-20 meters

Rating: Open Water

The Glenelg barge is a hopped barge used by the Glenelg dredge to take the silt dredged up from the Port River and dump it farther out to sea. She was sunk in 1984 as an artificial reef and lies in 20 meters of water and has a total length of approximately 30 meters. The barge is a very interesting wreck with a wide variety of fish life. At either end there’s a small opening where divers can get into the work rooms. In these rooms on each side of the hopper is the entrance to the floatation chambers and divers may peer into them, please note the strong surge currents moving through these sections. Divers may be tempted to attempt a penetration and it can be done as long as the divers are properly trained and have the appropriate safety equipment. A large variety of nudibranchs are also regularly found and being in such close proximity, on occasions, frog fish are also sighted.


Freshwater Dives

Ewen’s Ponds

Location: Limestone Coast, south east, 5 hours from Adelaide

Depth: 6-15 meters

Rating: Snorkelling/Open Water

Ewen’s Ponds are a series of 3 limestone sinkholes on Eight Mile Creek, 25kms south of Mont Gambier and 5km east of Port MacDonnell, South Australia. Due to the fresh spring fed water, visibility of up to 80 meters is common among with a large fish population including the endangered, golden pygmy perch. Divers enter at the first pond, drift with the current through the first, race to the second and continue through, then race to the third before exiting the pond via a ladder there. The water temperature of the ponds is generally around 15 degrees Celsius and stays that way for most of the year; this is due to the continual flow through the aquifer. The ponds are owned by the South Australian Government’s Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation and are managed as a conservation park by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Piccaninnie Ponds

Location: Limestone coast, south east, 5 hours from Adelaide

Depth 6-120 meters

Rating: Snorkelling/Cave Divers Association of Australia (Deep Cavern)

Piccaninnie Ponds contains 3 main features of interest to cave divers. The ‘First Pond’ is an open depression about 10 meters deep with a silt floor and a lot of aquatic life, the ‘Chasm’ is a sinkhole with a depth of over 100 meters and the ‘Cathedral’ is an enclosed area with limestone formations and a depth of around 35 meters. Underwater visibility is excellent and may exceed 40 meters. Diving or snorkelling at Piccaninnie Ponds is by permit only. Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park is located 32kms south east of Mount Gambier or 482kms south east of Adelaide. Access is via Piccaninnie Ponds Road.


One Tree Sinkhole

Location: Limestone Coast, south east, 5 hours from Adelaide

Depth: 30-50 meters

Rating Cave divers Association of Australia (Deep Cavern)

One Tree Sinkhole is located approximately 15 minutes south west of Mount Gambier. As the name suggests, it’s stuck out in the middle of a bare paddock with only one tree nearby. One Tree has a maximum depth of around 45 meters. Visibility is usually very good although conditions constantly change depending on the season. It’s not uncommon to find the water clear enough during winter to see the surface from the bottom. The bottom includes what’s believed to be an old wooden harvester, an old car and a swim through behind the eastern wall. Access to the site is via private property. Permission is key and required from the landowner – for CDAA members only.


Pines Cave

Location: Limestone Coast, south east, 5 hours from Adelaide

Depth: 15-45 meters

Rating: Cave divers Association of Australia (Cave/Advanced Cave)

The Pines is one of the most popular cave diving sites in the Lower South East as it is picturesque and readily accessible via a small artificially-cut ramp. The small “cenote”-style sinkhole entrance is a portal to a large boulder strewn cavern which is filled with “air-clear” water. The talus mound slopes away quickly to the south, dropping to a readily attained depth of 27 meters some 40 meters from the entrance lake, and to more than 30 meters in a wall. There are also a number of more technically-demanding areas where no natural light ever gets to and some of these can only be safely reached by divers who are trained and experienced in the skills and techniques needed to negotiate underwater restrictions in zero-visibility conditions.