Dive Site: SS Yongala, Coral Sea

Olive Seasnake at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Site Overview

Site Type: Wreck and Mega fauna
Depth: Top: 15MBottom: 20M
Location: Great Barrier Reef, south of Townsville

Description

Rated the best historical wreck dive and in the top 10 best dive sites in Australia.  The SS Yongala lies on the sandy bottom in the ocean well away from the reef.  The wreck is about 115m and sits in 30m, moorings lines are attached to stern and bow. Because of its isolation and currents, the dive site is subject to the weather and not always safe for diving. However, the flipside of this isolation is that the amount of life on the wreck is astounding. This is a dive where there’s so much big stuff you risk sensory overload! Anything can show up, and you can expect to see turtles, rays, giant groper, maori wrasse, sea snakes, sharks, giant trevally and plenty more.

Giant Trevally at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions
A school of giant trevally swim by as we descend.

Hawksbill turtle at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

There are several turtles. This hawksbill turtle nibbles growth off the encrusted wreck.

Bumphead maori wrasse at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Large bumphead maori wrasse are one of the larger fish species.

Starry Toadfish at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

A starry toadfish hangs under the bow.

Crinoid at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Crinoids and gorgonians thrive in the strong currents.

Rainfords Butterflyfish at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Rainford’s butterflyfish scurries among the sponges.

Six banded Angelfish at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Six-banded angelfish stop at the numerous cleaning stations.

Olive Seasnake at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

An olive seasnake meanders through the holes in the hull.

Fusiliers at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

Schools of Fusiliers dart about avoiding the marauding trevally.

Coral trout at SS Yongala diving the Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea by Pete McGee, GoodViz Productions

A ‘lucky’ coral trout with fishing line in mouth, despite the fishing being prohibited.

Words and Pictures by Pete McGee, GoodViz Photography, GoodViz Productions, diving with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.