Townsville, Maggie Island, and Yongala Wreck Dive: Waiting, Holding, and Hurling

Townsville Travel Blog

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Magnetic Island Bungalow Bay: Me and my favorite boa!

This trip was punctuated by Waiting for the right dive weather conditions, Holding animals, and Hurling (from aforementioned dodgy weather conditions).

I went to Townsville in search of the mighty Yongala wreck dive.  Unfortunately, the rough wind conditions canceled the dive from Townsville and I had to extend my trip by a day to bus it south an hour to a tiny town called Ayr and then catch a 16 km ride to Alva Beach, an even more remote area...all to do what is considered one of the best dives in the world. 

Before heading down to Ayr, I spent a day and a half in nearby Magnetic Island, which is green, sparsely populated, and very refreshing.  I stayed at Bungalow Bay Hostel in Horsehoe Bay, which also had its own Koala Park, where amongst koalas, also let you hold a python, a salt-water crocodile, and a cockatoo.

Few people know that the secret to carrying off the python look is wearing it with attitude.
  There is also a daily feeding of pretty ravenous rainbow lorikeets at 4:30, which despite the rainstorms, came out in full force to eat a mushy bread mixture and sometimes sample a bit of your hand.  Good times!  I did a couple beautiful hikes between pristine bays and got stuck in a healthy-sized downpour.

The Yongala Wreck dive, rated the top dive in the world by some random UK scuba site (it's good enough for me!), was the main reason for the trip up north so I was pumped to drive 10 minutes in a 4x4 jeep to the beach where we boarded a zodiac on steroids to the dive site 40 minutes away.  The winds were very high and waters quite choppy, which created low visibility in the water (~5-7m only) and even worse conditions during the surface interval, when I very quickly lost my energy-filled breakfast off the side of the boat.

Me and Dexter. At least he bought me dinner and a movie.
  I've never gotten seasick like that before.  An interesting and cathartic experience I hope to very seldomly repeat except after nights with too much alcohol and if an enemy terrorist organization makes me swallow a poisonous pill (I've been watching too much Chuck).  Still, I managed to collect myself from the side of the boat, gear up, and jump right back in.  You're supposed to be able to barf into your regulator...they're that reliable!

The dives were eerie.  At about 15-28m deep, the Yongala ship lies on its side and has become essentially a big coral reef in the middle of nowhere, which makes it a popular spot for all types of reef and pelagic fish.  There were many schools of Maori wrasses, barracuda, and other large pelagic fishes.  A hawksbill turtle was hanging out as well.  Was it the best dive ever for me?  No, but I think in the right conditions (aka better viz), it is an absolutely exceptional dive site.

After a delicious barbecue (which didn't consist of oatmeal and instant soup...my previous dinners), I headed back up to Townsville.  The next morning I did a quick (but extremely tiring) hike up Castle Hill to get cool vantage points of a not so noteworthy city. 
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Magnetic Island Bungalow Bay: Me a…
Magnetic Island Bungalow Bay: Me …
Few people know that the secret to…
Few people know that the secret t…
Me and Dexter.  At least he bought…
Me and Dexter. At least he bough…
Blue-tongued skink.  Pretty self-e…
Blue-tongued skink. Pretty self-…
This cockatoo interestingly will a…
This cockatoo interestingly will …
Me and a black cockatoo
Me and a black cockatoo
Me and Britney, the salt-water cro…
Me and Britney, the salt-water cr…
Rawrr!  The croc is not amused.
Rawrr! The croc is not amused.
Florence Bay on Maggie Island
Florence Bay on Maggie Island
Blue and orange lagoon sting rays …
Blue and orange lagoon sting rays…
Me at Radical Bay on hike back fro…
Me at Radical Bay on hike back fr…
They are ravenous in rain or shine
They are ravenous in rain or shine
Me and my new friends, ravenous ra…
Me and my new friends, ravenous r…
Maggie Island hike: Inca Trail Red…
Maggie Island hike: Inca Trail Re…
Neighborhood possums
Neighborhood possums
Bungalow Bay
Bungalow Bay
View from Forts in Maggie Island
View from Forts in Maggie Island
Me at top of Forts Walk
Me at top of Forts Walk
Boarding the over-sized zodiac
Boarding the over-sized zodiac
Storm conditions during Yongala Di…
Storm conditions during Yongala D…
Yongala dive: tons of fishes
Yongala dive: tons of fishes
Yongala dive: Large pelagic fish
Yongala dive: Large pelagic fish
Yongala dive: Large pelagic fish
Yongala dive: Large pelagic fish
Yongala dive
Yongala dive
Yongala dive: Maori Wrasse
Yongala dive: Maori Wrasse
Yongala dive: Maori Wrasse
Yongala dive: Maori Wrasse
Yongala dive: swimming partner
Yongala dive: swimming partner
Yongala dive: Moorish Idol
Yongala dive: Moorish Idol
Yongala dive: Hawksbill Turtle
Yongala dive: Hawksbill Turtle
Yongala dive: Batfish
Yongala dive: Batfish
Yongala dive: Batfish
Yongala dive: Batfish
Delicious barbie!
Delicious barbie!
Andy nicking sugar cane from the r…
Andy nicking sugar cane from the …
Castle Hill, Townsville
Castle Hill, Townsville
Castle Hill, Townsville
Castle Hill, Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
Townsville
photo by: tamara1973