I don’t like fire weapons. I never fired one and never touched one. To me, they represent death and destruction. It is an icon that goes in the complete opposite direction of what love and life represent to me. That’s the reason why I found it awkward to dive in sites where war ships have been sunk. But life has proven me wrong.
While a war ship is an instrument of destruction above the water, it becomes an instrument for life underwater. On July 2005 a series of explosions off Queensland Sunshine Coast created Australia’s newest dive site when the former guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane was scuttled in 27m of water. In less than three minutes the warship slipped beneath the ocean to settle into its new role as an artificial reef and dive attraction. Within days the first fish had discovered the ship and settled in. It was only a matter of weeks before the hull was coated with algae and barnacles.
Nine years after the sinking, HMAS Brisbane flourishes with marine life. Incredible sponge and coral growth has appeared in the ship and it’s home to a multitude of fish and other marine life.
Stingrays rest on the sand beside the ship; bearded scorpion fish and lionfish are everywhere to be found inside the wreck. Keen eyes will find a wide variety of nudibranchs and camouflaged octopus. Cleaning services outside the ship are provided by the tiny cleaner wrasse with a wide variety of customers such as sweetlips. Banded boxer shrimps provide further cleaning services inside the ship.
HMAS Brisbane can be dived at any time of the year, with an average visibility of 15m. Water temperature varies from 18 to 26 degrees Celsius. You will never get cold though, as safety stops by the end of the dive are so much fun that you will forget about anything else. The top of the ship funnels are located at a depth of 6m and are the favourite site to hang out for crabs, blennies, feeding barnacles and numerous impressive tall-fin batfish.
Despite the fact that I was in the area where I could focus all my dives in the vast Great Barrier Reef I was told HMAS Brisbane was a dive I didn’t have to miss. Someone was right and now I’m urging you: if you are in Queensland, don’t miss diving this magnificent shipwreck!
For further info address the friendly staff of www.sunreef.com