Yongala Dive is a full service PADI 5 Star Dive Resort, at Alva Beach – about as close as you can get to the Yongala Wreck, offering double dives on the Yongala as well as PADI dive courses. Being about a 90 minute drive from Townsville, they also offer basic accommodation, for those who don’t want such an early start and longish drive.
If you want to dive the Yongala, this is certainly the best outfit to do it with, as the boat trip is the shortest on offer – 30-40 minutes depending on the weather. Also they have an excellent FAQ page here so you can get most of your questions answered before you book. For a run down on how the average day (is such a thing?) trip on the Yongala goes … read on.
|Training School Type:||PADI 5 Star Resort||Nitrox Fill:|
|Air Fill||Number of Guides||3|
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|Gear Sales||Number of Dive Sites||12|
Yongala Dive is at the corner of Narrah and Sandown St in Alva Beach; about 15 km from Ayr (on the Bruce Highway) – itself about an hour south of Townsville, Queensland.
Enquiries: please contact Yongala Dive directly on +61 7 4783 1519 or via their Contact page.
What to expect
The dive shop opens 7:30 am sharp and coffee is available. There’s the usual paperwork and then gear selection. They have a big shed with all the gear you could ever need, so no worries if you haven’t brought all your own.
There’s an expectation that once given a cylinder you’re able to set up your own gear. This is certified diver territory after all, (no DSDs) and with the top of the wreck at 14m there’s still plenty for Open Water divers to see on the Yongala. All the gear is loaded into the RIB which sits on a trailer behind a tractor and its departure signals the commencement of the dive briefing.
There’s a full briefing of how the day runs right up to the post-dive barbecue lunch, and orientation of the wreck’s layout, with depths and distances etc. Buddies are paired up, dive guides assigned and questions are asked and answered. Then it’s into the van and down to the beach. It can be a wet trip out to the site, so anything that is not required for the actual dive or the one hour surface interval should be left behind. Even in the biggest sea the trip is not uncomfortable, the seats are well-padded, but seasickness tablets are recommended.
The order of dive pairs and guides is determined in advance, and departure is designed to be efficient: sit down on the tube amidships, put on your basics; stand-up, turnaround slip into your tank which is just at the right height; turned back around, sit down, buddy-check and go.
There are lines at the bow and stern and descent and navigation are easy. Most divers are accompanied at least on the first dive for a tour of the highlights. But otherwise the rules are clear: don’t leave the wreck and ascend by the line – the one the boat’s attached to!
The surface interval is an entertaining mix of history, almost mystery, as no one really knows what happened on the dark, stormy night that she met her fate, … followed by FishID, which could literally have gone on forever.
With the wreck being so big, the second dive can be a completely different dive from the first, going to spots that were missed first time around and pointed out on the surface interval, or simply following the ridge line and watching the show going off in the waters all around. The trip back is over quickly and there are wash tubs and showers before the barbecue generous barbecue lunch is served.