So finally have our very own Ex-HMAS wreck here in NSW – and the best bit is that it will be an hours drive from Sydney!! WOOOHOOO
The Ex-HMAS Adelaide was sunk on 13 April 2011
The scuttling of the Ex-HMAS Adelaide has been an event that we have been anticipating for over a year now, for those of you that know this old navy frigate was initially meant to be scuttled March 2010, but due to court action has been postponed. There has been much wrangling in the courts about this ship but finally it looks like April 13th 2011 could be the date she finally gets to be a new home for an array of marine life.
Artificial reefs serve to enhance a variety of marine life to promote biodiversity in the marine ecosystem. They also increase saltwater recreational opportunities by providing alternative locations for sport fishing and sport diving enthusiasts. Throughout the world Sinking of ex-warships as artifical reefs has been seen as a good thing.
For those of you who would like to know more about her, the ships full name is actually the Ex-HMAS Adelaide II, she is 138.1m long with a beam of 14.3m, she was built in USA and was commission by the Royal Australian Navy in November 1980 (the first HMAS Adelaide was a light cruiser that served from 1922 – 1945). As a long-range escort frigate that took part in air defence and anti-submarine warfare amongst other duties, she took part in the 1990/91 Gulf War, peacekeeping in East Timor (another great dive spot!) and spent 3 years in the Arabian Gulf. She was also the frigate that rescued the solo yachtsmen Tony Bullimore and Thierry Dobbois in the 1996/7 Vendee Globe, both men were taken back to Perth on her.
Even after this exciting career she was decommissioned in January 2008 to help offset costs to upgrade other RAN ships. She was demilitarised and gifted to the NSW Government to scuttle off the NSW coast. She has now had her mast removed (this would have been a navigational hazard once sunk), dangerous materials and toxins removed and port holes cut into her to make it more diver friendly, and is ready to head to her last resting place.
I am very much looking forward to diving the Adelaide as I have dived the Ex-HMAS Brisbane in Mooloolaba and I loved it, and with the Adelaide being over 10m longer she’s set to be even better! I was lucky enough to go with a group of students completing their Wreck Specialty – I was very envious as I wish I’d been able to do my Wreck Diverr Speciality Course on such an amazing wreck. Obviously it will take some time for the marine life to be attracted to and grow onto the wreck but the fact that it will look like it did above water is a draw for me. Everything will be easy to see – imagine swimming across the deck where only a few years ago Navy personnel where walking around on getting on with their day to day life on board a large frigate. As she will be so close to us, being in Terrigal, it will be great to go back each year and watch the transformation as the ocean slowly claims this lovely lady for its own. I imagine the sponges and plants will be amazing and that will attract a huge variety of life from large Rays, Port Jacksons, Wobbegongs, large schools of Long Finned Pike to small nudibranchs, decorator crabs and hopefully my personal favourite the Globe fish!
Who knows what else will want to make this their new home! It’s going to be amazing and getting the chance to be there from the start of this transformation will be AWESOME! See you on the Ex-HMAS Adelaide!!
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