Diving the SS Yongala ShipwreckDiving the SS Yongala ShipwreckDiving the SS Yongala ShipwreckDiving the SS Yongala ShipwreckDiving the SS Yongala Shipwreck

SS Yongala Shipwreck - Dive Packages

FROM $220

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Yongala Dive
Yongala Dive specialise in one thing, dive trips to the Yongala wreck. This operator is located the closest to the wreck, which means less time travelling and more time in the water. Yongala Dive limits passenger numbers to just 12 people, to ensure personalized service and attention. There’s no restricted bottom time, so dive time depends on your air consumption, experience level and depth. Everything about the Yongala Dive day trip is an adventure. It begins with a 4WD transfer to the beach, followed by a short 30-minute transfer to the wreck and time for two (2) dives with a minimum one (1) hour surface interval. When the diving is done, it’s back to Yongala Dive for an Aussie BBQ. The Yongala is an adventure dive and as such there’s some strict diver requirements. You must at a minimum have an Open Water certification and at least 6 logged dives. Divers with less than 20 dives must be guided. This Yongala day dive tour commences with check-in at the dive ship at 7.30am and finishes with a coach transfer to Ayr, for a 3.25pm bus. For your convenience, Yongala Dive also provides onsite accommodation. It caters to a maximum of 12 and should be booked in advance. 
 
 
Highlights
  • 2 dives on the Yongala Wreck
  • Rated in Top 10 Wreck Dives in the world
  • BIG marine life and experience 
  • Buddy diving – no solo diving 
 
About the SS Yongala Shipwreck
The historical wreck of over 100 years old lays in 14-28 metres of water and 109m long, it is the largest and most intact historic shipwreck in Australian waters. The SS Yongala is now known as one of the worlds top wreck dive sites and certainly one of Australia's best ‘must do’ dives due to the prolific variety of marine life.  Situated 11 nautical miles off Cape Bowling Green in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park the wreck has become an artificial reef with more varieties of coral growing on it than most natural reef systems. It is also host to a huge diversity of pelagic and reef fish species found in the Coral Sea.
 
 
Giant Queensland gropers hang beneath the stern while schools of trevally and cobia congregate around the depths of the wreck. Queenfish, barracuda, turtles, sea snakes, eagle rays and clown fish are just some of the other incredible fish life inhabiting the coral encrusted structure. 
 
The SS Yongala is a “must do” dive for all divers where you will see more fish and marine life in one dive on the wreck than any one dive on the Great Barrier Reef. 
 
“One thing you can count on, the SS Yongala will be a dive experience you will never forget and one not to be missed”.
 
 
Please note that surface conditions can be choppy and moderate currents may be experienced.  Therefore it may be advisable to seek the appropriate treatment if you suffer from seasickness prior to arrival. 
 
Need to bring: Dive cards, sunscreen, Hat & jumper for the boat
 
 
Yongala Diver's Lodge: Alva Beach
 
Enjoy the comforts of this classic Queensland style on-site accommodation.  Set in tropical gardens makes diving the S.S. Yongala even easier. Clean dorm and double rooms available, kitchen and BBQ only minutes from the beach. You can purchase food from Ayr to cook in the lodge.  Other facilities include telephone and washing machine area. Dive Gear washing/storage facilities are also available.
 
The beach is just a few minutes walk from the Dive Lodge and is great for sunbathing, walking or fishing. The local park is situated just off the beach and has toilets and showers and also BBQ facilities

 

Dive / Accommodation Packages

If time is on your side you can stay longer at the lodge and continue exploring the wreck.

Our 2 Day 2 Night – 4 Dive (Full Gear + Dorm Style Accommodation) is the most popular dive package.  Upgrade to the Double room (if available) for an additional $39.00.

Please see available options listed under the “Buy Now”.

If you would like to stay longer then please let us know and we can advise you on availability and price.

Videos

Your Day
 
Your day begins on arrival at the premises, which are based at Alva Beach, 16kms from Ayr. Once checked in you will complete the necessary paperwork, fit you up for your dive gear and you can meet and relax with your new dive buddies.  A detailed dive brief is completed on land first before being transferred by 4WD for an exciting trip to the beach where the boat is launched and then it's off to the Yongala dive site. With just a short boat ride of (approximately 30 minutes depending on conditions) you will arrive at the wreck in no time and then it’s straight in for your first dive.
 
Fresh fruit and snacks is provided during the surface interval (including free cordial and water) then its back into the water for the final dive before heading back to Alva Beach where you can shower, change and enjoy a wonderful BBQ lunch whilst discussing your awesome dive experiences with your new found friends.
 
Daily departures from Alva Beach
 
Check in times at Dive Centre
 
1 Trip day – 7.30am
 
2 Trip day – 7.00am and 11.30am
 
NB: 2nd trip is only available once first trip full
 
Courtesy pick-up is available from Ayr Bus Stop (call for times) (applicable to accommodation guests only)
 
2:00pm Return back to Yongala Dive Shop for BBQ Lunch, complete logbooks, knowledge reviews and adventure dive paperwork.  Photo Slideshow (option to purchase photo dvd’s), browse through Yongala Dive merchandise
 
3:00pm Drop-off’s back to Ayr (to catch the 3:25 pm greyhound bus (applicable to accommodation guests only)
 
NB: The above schedule is a guide only and times may change depending on weather and tides and number of trips per day.  Schedule commences 30 mins earlier on 2 trip days.
 
Other Important Information
 
    Open dated tickets need to give 7 days notice to book
    All bookings MUST reconfirm 48hrs in advance. Check-in prior to 5pm or must organise late check-in. (Keys to your accommodation will be left out – instructions will be given for collection)
    Pick-ups available from Ayr Bus Stop at 12.45pm & 3.25pm but MUST be arranged day before. (Lodge Guests Only)
    Arrivals at any other times will require taxi to accommodation - Burdekin Taxis (07 4783 2244) Estimated cost $50.00.
    No use of own sleeping bags/linen.
    Dive Operator’s Cancellation Policy: A 48-hour cancellation policy required from February to August and a 7-day cancellation policy required from September to January.  If the cancellation policy is not adhered to a 100% cancellation fee will apply.
 
Getting there: Yongala Dive operates a pick up service from Ayr twice daily (Dive Lodge Guests Only) at 12:45 pm and 3:25pm. If you are traveling by Coach Service (Greyhound buses or Premier Buses) we recommend you check your arrival times at AYR bus stop to coincide with the two above pick up times.  Customers can also be dropped back after their dives, which would see you dropped off at the Ayr Bus Stop by 3.25pm.
 
Driving Instructions:
 
Address: 56 Narrah St, Alva Beach, Ayr. – Alva Beach is approximately 15km (15 minutes drive) from turn off at Ayr.  Follow signage once you are in Alva Beach.
Yongala Dive trips are for certified divers only. There’s a maximum of 2 dives, per day trip. You must have a minimum of Open Water certification with 6 logged dives. Divers with less than 20 dives must be guided. Divers with less than 20 dives who have not dived in the last 6 months must have a refresher course. This can be provided the day before your dive, ask us for more information. Divers with Advanced certification are provided with an experienced dive guide, at no extra cost. Experienced divers with more than 50 dives may be able to dive unguided with their buddy, after an initial orientation. Maximum depth is 29m for the first dive and 25m for the second dive. A minimum one (1) hour surface interval. Decompression diving is not allowed and Nitrox is available for those with appropriate certification. You will need to bring your certification card and log book.
 
Important Information for Certified Divers – Dive level requirements to dive the SS Yongala
To dive the Shipwreck “unguided” you are required to have an Advanced Open Water Certification with a minimum of 6 dives.
 
If you currently hold only an Open Water Diver Certification you will be required to undertake deep dive training as part of the 1st dive with one of their Dive Instructors. (Additional Cost - $25) 
 
If you would like to upgrade to the PADI 'Deep' adventure dive and use this dive towards your PADI Advanced Certification then you must purchase a manual (or currently hold a PADI Adventure Diver manual) (Additional Coast - $50 and is payable on the day) (Second Dive can also be a PADI Specialty as a Shipwreck dive – Cost $25) which will also go towards your PADI Advanced Open Water Certification.
 
Do I need a medical to go diving?
Important Information For Course Participants continuing on with their dive education.
 
Insufficient dive qualifications and/or some medical conditions may prevent you from diving. Prior to diving, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your diving qualifications, experience & current fitness to dive prior to commencing your course.  Participants will be required to complete a PADI Medical statement.
 
Should you answer yes to any of the medical question asked you will be required to consult a doctor to acquire a written medical clearance to dive prior to your dive course/trip. If you are unsure about a specific medical condition please check with your doctor or with us prior to making your reservation.
 
Important Information For Certified Divers
 
You will be required to sign a Waiver Release & Indemnity Deed onboard the vessel.
 
Please Note: Some medical conditions may prevent you diving. You will be required to complete a waiver and medical statement prior to diving. If you would answer 'Yes' to any of the questions below you will need to consult a doctor and acquire a medical certificate stating that you're 'fit to dive' prior to your dive trip.
 
Since completing your last dive medical assessment have you suffered any illness or injury that may affect your ability to dive safely?
Are you currently suffering any illness or injury?
Are you currently taking any prescription medication other than the contraceptive pill?
Is there any other condition, fact or circumstance that may affect your fitness or ability to dive safely
 
What is the best time of year to dive in Queensland?
 
The warm waters of Tropical North Queensland are ideal for year round diving. Water temperature can vary from 22° to 28° Celsius (75° to 85°F).
 
Are there sharks on the Great Barrier Reef?
 
Yes, there are sharks in every ocean. A variety of sharks inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. What we most commonly encounter are smaller species which pose no threat to divers or snorkellers. The shark that Australia is infamous for is the Great White shark, prefers cold water of the Southern Ocean and does not exist in Tropical North Queensland.
 
I have heard about the stinging jellyfish. Can I still go diving?
 
There are 2 main types of dangerous jellyfish in our local waters. The Box Jellyfish is coastal dwelling and is never seen on the reef. They breed in estuaries and live their life on the shoreline, therefore do not pose a threat to divers. The Irukandji jellyfish is also predominantly a coastal dweller but is occasionally found on the reef.  Divers are rarely troubled by either species but there is still a risk of being stung. Full body coverage is recommended when jellyfish are prevalent. The jellyfish season in North Queensland is from November to April.
 
What depths will I be diving to?
 
The Great Barrier Reef is generally not a deep dive destination – so more your shallow diving. Our dive sites have an average depth range of 15 - 30 metres (45-130 feet).
 
Do I need my own equipment?
 
No. Majority of dive operators include all required equipment you may need for any dive or snorkel package.
 
What if I am travelling alone? Who will I dive with?
 
Before every dive, the dive supervisor conducts a detailed site briefing beforehand. You will be allocated a dive buddy. 
 
I have forgotten / lost my certification card / license, can I still dive?
 
Yes, as long as evidence of certification can be provided eg log book, verification letter from your certifying dive company. You can do this by contacting your original certifying organizations. We can provide assistance in this area if you are PADI/SSI affiliated.
 
What is Reef Tax – EMC?
 
A compulsory fee is collected for the Government Environmental Management Charge. A total fee per person is payable directly to operators. This amount incorporates the EMC as well as Port Departure Tax and administration costs. (This fee varies from company to company and is subject to change at short notice)
 
When can I fly next after diving?
 
PADI standards recommend you leave at least 24 hours after your last dive before flying. You can fly, then dive the same day, however not dive then fly. You will complete your last dive around 12 noon on your last day of the liveaboard trip, so flying the next day anytime after noon will be ok. Other activities to avoid are sky diving, hot air ballooning and going to Kuranda.

Dive Review - Diving the SS Yongala

Trip Review – SS Yongala

Date of Travel – 22nd December 2014

THE DIVE - The Yongala Wreck

The historical SS Yongala is a superb dive, embellish in a myriad of marine life, it is known as the best wreck dive in Australian waters.  Diving with large pelagic species is always an unforgettable experience, what makes the SS Yongala unique is few divers have ever witnessed so many schooling fish in the one location.  Nothing quite prepares you for the oversize giant trevally darting through baitfish, huge schools of Barracudas, various species of Sharks, inquisitive sea snakes, Green and Hawksbill turtles, giant Maori wrasse, enormous coral trout and the undisputed master of the wreck “V.W.” a 2.5m Queensland Grouper.  Richly adorned with colourful parades of sea whip and soft coral trees the SS Yongala is a dive not to be missed.

LOCATION – Alva Beach, AYR, Queensland – Yongala Wreck

Leaving from Cairns we are heading south toward a small residential seaside village, Alva Beach as you arrive at Ayr. The drive is about five hours south, approximately 460Kms along the Bruce Highway, 1.5 hours south of Townsville and 2.5 hours north of Airlie Beach. Yongala Dive is renown for its unique proximity to the historical wreck, a short 30 min boat ride.

TIP:

We highly recommend you stay for 1 or 2 nights and relax after your dives or book a weekend package and enjoy the comforts of the Yongala Dive’s classic Queensland style on-site accommodation.  Set in tropical gardens makes diving the S.S. Yongala even easier, with clean dorm and double rooms, kitchen, BBQ only minutes from the beach. You can purchase food from Ayr to cook in the lodge.  Other facilities include telephone and washing machine area. Dive Gear washing/storage facilities are also available.

A Quick Overview

(5 Star Rating)

  • Australia’s largest historical shipwreck
  • ŸLarge pelagic fish life witnessed in one location
  • ŸAll levels of divers  - Deep dive - Training can be undertaken during the 1st dive if none previously completed
  • ŸSpecialty Courses available
  • Ÿ30 min ride to the wreck
  • Ÿ2 Dive – with no restrictions on dive times
  • ŸExperienced skipper and crew
  • ŸMax 12 passengers, 4 crew – more personal experience
  • Enriched Air (Nitrox) Fills – Additional cost
  • Camera Hire/ Housing – Additional cost
  • Lunch at the dive lodge upon return

 

YOUR DAY

Check in at the Dive Shop: 7.30am

Dive Briefing: 8.10am

Departure:    8.30am - 4WD transfer to the beach where we launch the Yongala Express 

Returns:        1.30pm

Hours on the Site:   3 Hours                                 

Number of Dives:    2 Dives with no time restrictions and 1 hour surface, Fresh fruit and snacks are provided during the surface interval

Dive Gear:     You can bring your dive gear or hire dive equipment – Pricing options available with of without dive equipment. 

Coach Transfers:     Pick-ups available from Ayr Bus Stop at 12.45pm & 3.25pm but MUST be arranged day before. (Lodge Guests Only)    

Your Boat:     A purpose built 10m rigid inflatable boat ensuring a fast, fun and safe trip.  Protection from the sun, spray and wind – overhead sun canopy and side curtain.  There is a marine toilet on board for your convenience.         

Your itinerary for the day:

Your day begins on arrival at the premises, which are based at Alva Beach, 16kms from Ayr. Once checked in you will complete the necessary paperwork, organise your dive gear and you can meet and relax with your new dive buddies.  A detailed dive brief is completed on land first before being transferred by 4WD for an exciting trip to the beach where the boat is launched and then it's off to the Yongala dive site. With just a short boat ride of (approximately 30 minutes depending on conditions) you will arrive at the wreck in no time and then it’s straight in for your first dive.

Fresh fruit and snacks is provided during the surface interval (including free cordial and water) then its back into the water for the final dive before heading back to Alva Beach where you can shower, change and enjoy a wonderful BBQ lunch whilst discussing your awesome dive experiences with your new friends.

THE DIVING

1st Dive:       

As I descend on the Yongala a strange and eerier feeling certainly came over me as I anxiously waited to make sight of the wreck.  Knowing that the Captain, crew and all passengers totalling 121 people and one horse all lost their lives to this tragic accident at sea now 103 years ago. The Yongala lies at about a 45 degree angle on her starboard side in 28 metres of water which you will first make sight of the bow at around 15 metres.

This is not my first dive on the Yongala and depending on the tides and currents visibility can vary quite considerably but for today we had 20 metres once on the wreck.  Today we experienced very little current enabling an opportunity as I’m descending to take photos of the bow of the vessel.  Nothing prepares you for the amount of marine life on the Yongala, every inch of the wreck is alive and occupied.  The Yongala is richly adorned, covered with soft coral trees, seawhips, sea grass, and more coral than you could hope to find on most reefs, the hull is basically intact. 

Being our first dive we head to the bottom of the Yongala to record our deepest part of the dive to be greeted by our first Olive sea snake.  Sea snakes are venomous however they are more inquisitive and non-aggressive and make for exciting viewing to any diver.  Descending port side across the sloping decks we make our way to the bow, passing the forward cargo hold, this from memory of our dive briefing now contains some femur bones.  The Companionway and compartments are crowded with anglefish and hundreds of yellow perch. Making our way to the bow of the vessel the broken forward mast are covered in coral, small clouds of baitfish and Fusilliers scamper from the path of the patrolling Humphead Maori wrasse.

The wreck is home to so many different species of marine life and under the bow, the deepest part of the vessel is something to behold.  Mangrove jack and sweetlip converge with a large estuarine cod.  On many other dives I’ve completed on the Yongala large marble rays and manta rays have been captured on film.  This is what makes the SS Yongala so special as you never know what will come swimming past you next.

Patiently I watch my buddies, keen photographers snap away as a Hawksbill turtle poses momentarily while they graze on the wreck, these guys are oblivious to our presence. Not long after we sighted a resident large moray eel presenting itself half out of the wreck waiting for it’s next meal to swim past.  With the SS Yongala recorded at 110 metres in length we keep moving so to maximise our bottom time and cover as much of the wreck as possible in the dive.  In reality don’t expect to cover every square inch of the wreck in your first dive or even second as it is too large and there is too much to see. 

Continuing on the dive it was not long before we came across a huge Groper, schools of Turrum and Red Emperor Bass and looking up into the sunlight I noticed schools of giant trevally frantically moving around the top of the wreck.   We recommend you spend as much time allowed (keeping within your safe diving limits) on the bottom as some of the best photo opportunities and sightings can be found under the bow of the vessel.  Today was our lucky day as my buddies and I spotted the highly prized sighting of “V.W” a 2.5m Queensland grouper who confidently calls the SS Yongala home, the undisputed master of the wreck.

As we lifted off the bottom and hang back to view the sweep of the stern, blurred by a frenetic of fish traffic.

Making our way along the starboard side the stern rears above, bejewelled in colourful soft corals and seafans.  We ascend and make our way to the port side of the vessel, where it is possible to peer into the bowels of the wreck to spy the cast iron bath and toilets.  There is so much to see you really need to take your time swimming along the port side of the wreck, which is our plan for the second dive.  With air running low its time to ascend, so we move back to the mooring line for a controlled and safe ascent.  This was a stunning dive and we are all keen to hear the history of the SS Yongala from the crew, enjoy some light refreshment and return for our second dive, which will be spent in the shallow section of the wreck.

 

Dive 2.

After an hour surface interval on the boat enjoying some tasty cakes and fresh fruit and listening to the skipper who has us all captivated with the history of the SS Yongala it’s time to descend for our second dive.

Our excitement is accelerated knowing what is now waiting for us with all the marine life witnessed from the first dive.   Once over the bow we move directly along the portside of the Yongala where we would concentrate all our time for the second dive.  With a number of exposed sections the view from a safe distance without touching the wreck exposes an array of macro and pelagic marine life.  We recommend taking it really slow (subject to varying currents which can be challenging at times) as you don’t want to miss anything. 

Keeping our depth between 20metres - 24metres allows you to really explore the top side of the wreck which is full of large coral trout, giant trevally, batfish just to name a few.  On this dive we sighted a school of barracuda hanging off the portside.  It is well worth taking a look out over your shoulder into the deep blue water as you may see sharks, manta rays and even in season Minke whales (Winter months, May – July) swim past.  It has also been recorded on video last year passengers snorkeling with a whale shark.

We hope our photo’s and video of our dive on the SS Yongala inspire you on your visit to Australia and in particular your travels to North Queensland to stop and do this must do dive.

Diving the SS Yongala truly is the only dive in the Great Barrier Marine Park where you will get to witness an abundance of macro and pelagic marine life on any one dive site you complete in this area.  With a complete fishing ban both commercial and private within a two kilometer radius of the wreck ensures the guarantee of the marine life on this well acknowledged top 10 dives in the world.

For information on diving the SS Yongala please contact us.

Dive in Australia website is run by experienced divers who are standing by to answer your questions.

For the right advice on Learning to Scuba Dive for the first time to all levels of Dive Courses from Beginner to Professional Courses and diving Australia’s most popular dive sites from Day Trips to Extended Liveaboard Dive Trips just contact us.

 

Phone - FREE CALL 1800 323 703

Email – info@diveinaustralia.com.au

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