Scuba Diving the Yongala

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in Australia
Sunday, 07 December 2008 21:02

The Yongala is a wreck site in Australia that attracts mostly experienced divers because of its interesting history as well as its diversity of marine life.  The S.S. Yongala sank during a cyclone in 1911 and when it sank all one hundred and twenty-one passengers that had been aboard at the time perished.  The wreck is located near Townsville, Queensland, however, the wreck site was not found for nearly half a century, which has also helped add to the ship’s mystique.  


Yongala Diving Map

Yongala Diving Map


The steamship wreck can be found on a flat, sandy surface under approximately thirty metres of water.  The only way to get to the wreck is by boat, and you will need to go through a diving charter company in order to get out there.  However, the wreck has managed to stay well preserved and even though it has almost been a hundred years since she sank, divers can still see a good portion of the ship, including the rudder, the engine room, and the masts.  One downside to diving in Yongala is that the Australian government has made the wreck a protected historical site.  This means that divers can no longer explore the interior of the ship as the potential for air bubble corrosion is to be avoided at all costs.

 The Yongala is a wreck that should not be missed if you are planning on doing any diving in Queensland.  It is a perfect display of how a man made ship can be absorbed by the ocean into something that is a good example of a productive area for marine life.  The numbers of fish and other species you will see on your dive to the Yongala helps to make it a truly memorable experience.


What to Expect from the Weather When Diving the Yongala

If you are going to dive the Yongala then you will need to be very aware of the weather patterns in the area.  It’s possible to end up going at a time when the currents and tides would make the dive potentially dangerous, and this is something that you want to obviously avoid.  One reason for this is because the wreck is located in a shipping channel and does not have a lot of the protection from the open ocean.  Because of these factors it’s always a good idea that you try to book a diving excursion with a properly trained crew so that they can alert you if there is going to be a potential problem with diving the Yongala.  


Best Time of Year to Dive the Yongala

Since the Yongala is located near Queensland on the northern side of Australia, it means the climate is near tropical with temperatures to match, all year long.  Nevertheless, because of the unpredictability of the weather conditions which can thus cause problems with dives in this area, it is best that you check with local diving expedition companies before booking your trip so you can find out when the best time of year to go to the Yongala is so that you don’t risk missing out on this marvellous dive.  


Types of Marine Life near the Yongala

As the wreck has been on the sea floor for nearly one hundred years, it has become a fairly big draw for a variety of marine life.  The ship itself is practically covered in sea fans and corals.  Also found in the vicinity of the wreck are giant trevally, barracuda, eagle rays, mangrove jacks, Maori wrasse, bull rays, Queensland groper, turtles, sea snakes, bull and tiger sharks, and many other species that can be easily enjoyed.


Yongala Diving Fact Sheet

Average Air Temperature:        29°C – 33°C

Average Water Temperature:    25°C – 31°C

Recommended Exposure Protection:  It’s recommended that you wear a 3mm – 7mm suit.

Average Visibility:  fifteen to thirty meters.

Coldest Times:    June to August

Hottest Times:    October to May

Best Times to Dive:  The area in which the Yongala can be found is in the northern part of Australia, so the climate is near tropical all year long.  This means that any time is potentially a good time to dive in the area; however, it’s best to check with a diving expert in the area before booking your trip so that you can avoid any problematic tide occurrences.