2013 September
In September 2013, Rob Jarvis, Mick Todd and I stayed three nights at Yongala Dive Centre, Alva, approximately 110 kilometres south-east of Townsville,. We were there to dive the wreck of the SS Yongala which lies 12 nautical miles off Alva Beach. This freighter sank in a cyclone in 1911 with the loss of all aboard and now has incredible marine life growing on and swimming around the wreck.

Day One: As the Yongala Express took us out to the wreck we were treated to the sight of breaching humpback whales and later Rob and I could clearly hear them underwater. Mick cannot use his hearing aids underwater so could not hear them but at least Rob and I had been able to point them out to him on the surface. Unfortunately Mick can’t wear his glasses underwater either but on our second dive, he somehow stumbled across an enormous nudibranch. Mick has huge “prehistoric sized” hands. However as my one of my shots shows, this big nudibranch was even larger than his hands.

Day Two: Mick posed with an olive sea snake, close to his face. This snake is said to be a dangerous venomous snake. I suggested to Mick that to ensure that both the snake and his face were both in focus, he needed to place his face very close to the snake. Disappointingly the olive sea snake didn’t bite him. After that we finned to the bow seeing snappers, emperors, estuary cod, potato cod and trevallies and on our second dive of the day, a Queensland grouper as well.

Day Three: As the Yongala Express again took us out to the dive site, we saw the distressing sight of a mother humpback whale and its calf in trouble. The calf had a large gash by one of its fins and kept flipping onto its back only for its mother to roll it back the right way up. Reaching the dive site, we had to fight a strong surface current down to 10 metres on both dives. But below 10 metres it eased off considerably. Our second dive was the better of our final day’s two dives with Rob spotting both a hawksbill turtle and a really large tawny nurse shark. An excellent end to our three days of diving the wreck of the SS Yongala.