- Wreck diving
The NSW Central Coast has quite a few wrecks spread out along the length of the coast. Many of these wrecks had a very illustrious career, whilst some had a very hard life. The majority of wrecks met their demise by misfortune. To this end, they have become a great source of adventure and have re birthed as fish habitats, where fish have gathered and produced great fish aggregation areas for fishos.
We regularly dive local wrecks like the Valiant, which lies in 27 metres of water off Barrenjoey. The wreck of the Hall Caine which lays in 54 metres of water off Killcare, then there is the Galava which lies in 51 metres off Terrigal, whilst the remains of the Commonwealth lays in 43 metres off Forrester’s and the Kiama is in 42 metres off the Entrance.
Further north the Nerong lies in 44 metres off Norah Head along with the Patersen at 10 metres just off Jenny Dixon beach. A little tug called the Advance lies in 47 metres off Catherine Hill bay.
Most of these wrecks as you can see, are in very deep water or have become wreck sites that resemble junk piles. To this end the Central Coast now has its very own ex naval warship sunk as an artificial reef that has become a very exciting, new dive site-
The HMAS Adelaide is a short five-minute run from the boat. As an artificial reef you will be able to see the genesis of a reef with juvenile fish seeking hiding places, with larger fish seeking ambush hideouts and predators patrolling the edge of visibility.
You can dive and explore the Ex HMAS Adelaide with us, every day of the week.
The HMAS Adelaide
A frigate built as a long-range escort with roles including area air defence, anti submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. The ship was capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and subsurface. The vessel displaced 4,100 tonnes and at around 138 metres long, this will be an impressive dive site that will entertain thousands of divers from all over the world.
The HMAS Adelaide was instrumental in rescuing ‘Around the World’ yachtsmen Thierry Dubois and Tony Bullimore from the Southern Ocean in 1997 The HMAS ADELAIDE was also the first vessel of her class to fire a Harpoon missile
Being the first of the Oliver Hazard Perry Class guided missile frigates (FFG) built in Seattle, USA she was commissioned on November 15th, 1980
Wreck of the Nerong
Coastal collier that sank in September 1917 located three nautical miles off Norah Head Lighthouse on sand. This wreck attracts a multitude of fish life and Wobbegong’s lounge everywhere.
The fate of the Nerong is full of mystery and intrigue, after leaving Sydney heads the crew headed up the NSW coastline to Nambucca where they were to take on a fresh cargo, during the trip a storm of immense size was coming down the coast, as the Nerong headed straight into the storm, the captain ordered all hatches secured. The captain knew his vessel well She would be quite capable of riding out this one as she had weathered many, many storms before.
Very early the next morning the crew noticed water coming into the engine room and alerted the captain who immediately ordered all hands to the pumps. The men desperately tried to stem the flow of water, even the cook pitched in to help bail out the water.
Try as the crew did, they could not stem the flow of water and were very puzzled as the Nerong had only days before come out of dry dock. The flow of water became so intense the captain had no option but to give the order “Douse fires” followed less than an hour later by the order to abandon ship.
The Nerong lies on beautiful white sand, her boiler and the galley stove still remain, as do the deck winches on the forecastle. You can still see the remains of the wreck scattered around in the sand, but the wooden superstructure has long since disappeared. Large Cuttlefish, schooling Morwong, Yellowtail and Nannygai are all favourite food for the ever-present lazy Wobbies who lounge all over this site, like shepherds tending their flocks. Depth ranges 43 to 46 metres.
This dive is for experienced divers as fishing lines; sinkers and nets sometimes cover the wreck from stem to stern.
Wreck of the SS Kiama
A 446-ton, collier that steamed down the NSW coast on its regular journey between Newcastle and Sydney. The fate of the SS Kiama was sealed in 1951 when she was caught in a storm off the Entrance Bommie. Being a well-known traveller along the Central Coast with a few of the ships crew, being residents of the Central Coast.
The SS Kiama may not have been the prettiest of colliers but, as a workhorse plying her trade almost by clockwork along the coast, she was very profitable and reliable for her owners.
The tragedy of the Kiama was a blow to several families of the coast as the crew were all well known locals. To the crew, after the Kiama capsized, having to float off the coast so close to shore but yet so far, must have been extremely difficult to endure.
The Kiama lays in 45 metres of water. The most prominent feature is the engine laying off to the port side and the large boiler. This is a dive for experienced deep divers and some artefacts can still be found.
The SS Paterson was another member of the small coastal freighters that plied their trade along the NSW coastline between Sydney, Newcastle and Sydney. On the 11th of June 1951, the SS Paterson set sail from Cabbage Tree bay, sprung a leak and sunk rather dramatically and promptly in only 10 metres of water not 300 metres away from the wharf. Built at Sydney in 1920 and being a wooden steamer, after her demise she soon began to disintegrate and her 148-foot length has all but disappeared. Lying on sand in shallow water fairly close to the rocky shoreline has allowed the ocean to brutalise this wreck and after salvors removed as much cargo and equipment, the wreck is now classified as a humble wreck site. With an ideal depth of around 8 to 10 metres makes the remains of the SS Paterson a good place to finish off the remaining 50 to 80 bars in your tank, especially as the site is only two minutes away from the boat ramp in Cabbage tree Bay.
The large fire tube boiler is a prominent feature of the site with Moray eels and Ling fish taking up residence in the holes.
A large wobbegong occasionally sleeps under some wreckage where the scattered remains are strewn in a fairly big area. The SS Patersen is an ideal introduction into wreck diving as she is full of obstacles, with no entry points and being shallow-allows ample time for mapping and hazard reduction exercises.
After severe storms, sand shifts that follow large storms, move fantastic amounts of sand that expose relics that can still be found today- Ipana toothpaste tubes, white Marmite jars and several handfuls of knives and forks, plates, cups and saucers still can be found around the wreck site.
Wreck of the Speedwell
Another vessel, one of the many victims of the notorious “Bully Nugget Reef” commonly called Bull reef. The Speedwell came under the shelter of Norah Head during a storm on the 14th of April 1884 and struck the Bull reef, mortally wounding the ship. She soon took water and sank very quickly, the wind and ocean swells did the rest, scattering the wreckage over a wide area in fairly shallow water.
The ships’ Admiralty pattern anchor can still be found quite easily, wedged under several large rocks and what are left of the hull plates can be found nearby.
Very easy dive, when the conditions allow- Fish prefer to shelter on this side of the reef in a large overhang.
There is quite a bit of wreckage strewn about and a diver recently found a gold ring wedged in a tiny crevice. Lost from the wreck? Maybe not, more than likely an unlucky fisherman or diver who recently lost their wedding ring.
Depth ranges 8 to 14 metres
The "Galava" was a small collier "60 Miler" that plied its trade between Sydney and Catherine Hill bay on a fairly regular schedule. On the 9th of February 1927 the vessel left Catho wharf heading south, when the crew noticed water leaking into the forward holds. The water came in so quickly, the crew didn't even have time to really save the vessel. With seven casualties the Galava was a tragic incident only three nautical miles offshore of Terrigal.
Swimming down the anchor line you will come across a huge winch, that sits in front of the scotch boiler near the steam compound engine. There is a lot of wreckage to see and the depth does hinder your exploration. The wreck is sometimes difficult to find, as the fishlife often hides the ship- This is a great fishing possie, as every time I dive the site, I retrieve heaps of fishing lead and lures.
Depth is 50+ metres and suitable for experienced divers only.