SS Yongala Dive Site Alva Reviews
Great dive site with lots of big stuff Jul 02, 2015
I dived the SS Yongala with Yongala Dive Centre based in Alva, near Ayr. Alva is about 1h20 minutes south from Townsille. I stayed at their pleasant dive lodge the night before the dive.
It is possible to dive the Yongala from Townsville but the commute by sea is quite long and it makes it a very long day.
This is a wreck dive of a 107m steamship which sank during a cyclone in 1911 killing all 122 crew and passengers.
We checked-in at the dive centre at 0730 to do the paperwork and then get our dive gear sorted. There was a bit of waiting around for the others to get themselves all set up. After a dive briefing at around 0840, we departed for the beach in an old Landcruiser. The tractor with the dive boat was there waiting for us. We climbed aboard and were backed into the water for a 35 minute ride to the dive site.
Despite having taken a motion-sickness pill, I felt a bit queasy. This was rather unexpected as I was in far worse conditions only a week ago in Fiji on the shark dive.
We did two dives at SS Yongala in the same way. We backrolled into the water and held on to ropes secured to a buoy while the others entered. Descent was by way of holding on to ropes until the Yongala was in sight. At that point, we would continue swimming down to the wreck. Each time we circumabulated the wreck completely. With the air levels in mind, we then revisited the first side of the wreck partially before turning back to the rope to come up for our safety stop and ascent.
Our group had one divemaster for four paying divers, which was quite good. The other group of four had an additional divemaster who had recently qualified I think.
I threw up immediately upon surfacing from the first dive, then before and after the second dive.
Marine life seen on both dives were the same: large schools of barracudas, napoleon, giant groper, turtle and many small fish. The SS Yongala had come highly recommended from a divemaster at Sipadan that used to work here, saying that it’s full of big stuff. Sure enough, it didn’t disappoint in that respect.
I thought visibility wasn’t that great but a fellow-diver who had dived this site for the seventh time said that it was the best ever. I guess it’s not a place that’s known for good visibility.
A BBQ lunch was served back at the dive centre. Everyone remarked how good, amazing and awesome both dives were. I nodded in agreement but I didn’t have to go very deep down in my heart to know that it doesn’t come close to Sipadan. In a way, it is unfortunate that my entire diving career has been ruined by diving in such special places like Sipadan.
Part of the 2015 Tanzania with Asian deja vu travel blog
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!