Dive Number: 316 13/06/12 11.20, The Wreck of the Loch Ard
Conditions: Overcast but flat.
Water Temp: 12.0c
Bottom Time: 49minutes
Max Depth: 20.8m
SAC: ???? litres/min
Details: We got down to Port Campbell about 9 o’clock and unloaded our gear at the boat ramp.The cove was near motionless and the view out to sea between the cliffs looked just as flat.
We jumped on board the charter and headed out towards Muttonbird Island, passing jaw dropping sandstone cliff faces that led the eye to the 12 apostles on the eastern horizon.
It really set a dramatic stage for diving, and it possibly set my expectations a little too high on what lay below the surface.
On arriving at Mutton Bird island, conditions were pretty much as good as it gets with little backwash off the cliffs. We descended and followed the dropoff scanning the seabed for signs of the wreck. The wall was characterised by large car-sized boulders (chunks of fallen cliff) that staggered outways from the cliff face down to about 20metres. After about 15-20minutes with no sign of the wreck, we were starting to get worried that this dive on Victorias most famous wreck, was just going to turn into a reef dive. But thankfully we started spotting some parallel forms lying across the reef, and then the broken up hull came into view. The wreckage seemed to start around 16m and extended seaward into around 20m. This was the area we explored anyway, which had scatterings of intact bottles, fragments of ceramics, and i even found a well formed barrell… all amongst broken up sections of the hull. Finding bottles with their necks fully intact suprised me for such a high energy environment. From descriptions of the wreck extending from 10m out to 22m and with the anchor out to sea even further, we only touched on a small section of the wreck. Our surface interval was a tour of Loch Ard Gorge and viewing of the beach that the survivors of the wreck scrambled onto. Our boat passed under grand sea arches and through amazing chasms along the way making for a great way to spend a surface interval.
Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , SS200 Strobes