Merimbula, Eden

Merimbula

The main advantage of this area is access to dive services and the excellent shore dive at the wharf and the wreck of the Empire Gladstone. It also offers a range of sheltered dive and snorkel sites for the beginner that are protected frothy swell.

Wonderland
35m
This is the prettiest reef dive in the area and it’s pretty sheltered. The reef starts with kelp covered shallow ledges and boulders. At 20m it is more protected from the swell and delicate invertebrates cover the bottom including sponges, sea fans and sea squirts. The fish life is also often good with excellent water clarity.

Sponge Gardens
3-20m
The main attraction here is an easy and relaxing dive protected from all but strong southerly weather. The small overhangs and boulders offer a good range of smaller temperate marine life. Good shore dive for beginners.

Cosy Corner
3-15m
This very easy dive has the benefit of being protected from the south. It offers an easy beginners dive with goons macro subject material for the photographer.

Short Point bommie
15-20m
This area is mainly worth a look for the chance to see some pelagic fish and sea dragons on a bottom that is otherwise unremarkable.

 

Wreck of the Empire Gladstone
6-10m

GPS 36° 57′ 08.2″ S 149° 56′ 42.7″ E. AUS66
This wreck was an interesting ship built in Britain during 1944. At that time she had to be thrown together in a hurry to a standardised designed in an effort to replace the terrible losses suffered due to submarines. She was sold into private hands after the war and was trading around the Australian coast. In 1950 she was on a voyage from Adelaide with a general cargo including iron ore and a deck load of new cars. At night they mistook the lights of the town for a lighthouse and ran her up on the southern side of Haystack Rock, about eight kilometres south-east of Merimbula.. All the crew got off safely. Local fishing boats made a windfall profit from salvaging cars until the sea rose up and smashed the wreck. Today she offers a maze of twisted still, and although broken, the outline of the hull and her stern machinery is still visible. The Empire Gladstone lies with the stern pointing towards the shore. the hull has collapsed .In the centre of the ship you will see the very prominent drive shaft tunnel which is handy for orientation. The prop lies to the the south west of the main wreckage. The engine has fallen to its port side. Straight in front of the engine are two boilers. The depth here is about six metres. This part of the wreck creates some crevices that are packed with fish. Overhead there are blackfish, blue gropers, yellowtail, and silver sweep. She was a monster vessel 7000 tons and 132m long, so there is lots to poke around in, and clouds of fish. Well worth the longish boat ride.

 

 

 

Merimbula Wharf
3-15m
This easy wharf dive on the northern side of Merimbula Bay offers good parking and access. If there are a lot of people fishing off the wharf, it is best to stay underneath the platform. There is small marine life to see and photograph on the pylons and the shallow reef bottom. The end of the jetty terminates on sand. Lots of wrasse can be seen, along with morays, cuttlefish and a variety of other fish species. Small sea fans and colourful sponges and sea squirts can also be found along the reef and pylons, particularly in the deeper sections. This dive is not for periods of strong north-easterly winds and it can get dirty after periods of rain.

 

Eden
This small town sits by Twofold Bay, one of the largest sheltered embayments in Australia Originally a whaling port, it looked for a while like becoming a major Australian seaport, but an early attempt to establish a trading empire at Boydtown failed, as did an attempt to have it proclaimed the national capital. This left only the small fishing village and seaside resort we see today. Being distant from both Melbourne and Sydney, it is relatively rarely dived recreationally. As a result it is an adventure location offering new temperate reefs to explore. The area offers good reef diving in clear waters with some shelter provided by Twofold Bay. Diving services are limited. Merimbula having the closest dive services, but there are places to stay, good ramps and even some sheltered shore diving. Bringing a boat, a clutch of full tanks, or a compressor, widens your options. Like a lot of rocky temperate areas there is diving almost anywhere there is reef, some areas are better than others. The majority of diving is done within the shelter of the bay, but if the weather is very calm, further exploratory dives can be had in the Green Cape area. There are some large but very exposed wreck sites on the southwards parts of Green Cape. Reefs deeper than  25m offer better marine life  due to the heavy pounding of the swell. In summer, the afternoons usually bring in strong NE winds.

Lennard’s Island
this area can offer some sheltered shore diving on the northern edge of Twofold Bay. it is accessed by vehicular tracks through Ben Boyd National Park. The sheltered southern face offers a reasonable dive to 5-10 m on boulders bottom with lots of small ledges. A deeper dive takes you out to sponge gardens in 25m. IF you wish to go further and each the deeper dropouts and sponge gardens to the east of the island, this is probably more comfortable in a boat.

Warang Point
10-25m
This point marks the northern entrance into the bay and is a large flat area of reef that is marked by boulders and crevices. Sponges can be found near the deeper overhangs.

Mewstone Rock
This rock offshore of Warang Point is and extension of the same reef. The diving is thus very similar. The best diving is on the deeper reef drop-offs on the eastern side of the island where there are colourful sponge gardens and better fish life.

The Steps
15m
this relatively sheltered inshore area offers a good shore dive or beginners dive. the bottom way from the entry point is small boulders and crevices. Fish life is good. In depths over 15m there are also some colourful invertebrates growing on the rocks

Weedy Sea Dragon Point
This area is basically the northern shoreline of East Boyd Bay. It is mostly sand and Sea grass with some patches of kelp. The main attraction of this easy shore dive is the chance to sea weedy sea dragons, which are quite common in the area. Access is via a rough vehicular track from Edrom Road or Glen Eden State Forest.

Seahorse Shoals
25m
This deep reef is found off the southern end of Twofold Bay in a relatively exposed spot. It is a very large reef offering a variety of spots and it will take more than one dive to cover the area. Some areas are quite barren while others are covered in sea whips, gorgonian and other colourful invertebrate life. Fish life is good as the area is open to clean ocean waters and attracts pelagic fish.

Jacko’s Cave
17m
This small cave measures only a few metres wide and about 40m long, but it is an interesting feature. It can be found on the sand/reef edge on the foreshore reef only a few hundred metres south of the tug wrecks. It lies about 100 m offshore. It is silty and care should be taken not to agitate the bottom with your fins. The cave emerges at the other end in reef but it is a tight squeeze. Bring a torch. This cave is difficult to locate without local knowledge.

Tasman Hauler
30m
37° 06′ 39″S 149° 57′ 45″E (AUS66)

The fire fighting tug Tasman Hauler was built by Evans Deakin and Co. Ltd of Brisbane in November 1959. She was in Eden by 1988 when she was damaged after a grounding incident. This 35m long old tug was deliberately sunk to create a dive reef in 1987. It rests on a sandy bottom with the masts in 14m. The wreck has been opened out son that it can be entered safely. It is covered in jewel anemones. The exposed location means that the wreck will become progressively unstable and some care should be taken. Currently it is in good condition and can be entered safely.

Henry Bolte
37° 06′ 47″S 149° 57′ 43″E (AUS66)

30m
The fire fighting tug Henry Bolte was launched in January 1966 from the NSW Government State Dockyard at Newcastle for the Victorian Department of Ports. By 1986 it was worn out and derelict. I was sold to the Navy for target practice, but then in 1988 purchased by an Eden dive operator. It was sunk in 1988 just south of Red Point off Ben Boyd National Park to start artificial reefs. Only 200m away from the Tasman Hauler this slightly larger tug is just as impressive in its own way but has less growth. It has more recently canted over onto its side and broken up into 4 major pieces. Merimbula dive lodge has a mooring on the wreck. It also has lower viz (10-15M usually) but still attracts excellent fish life.

Jacko’s Cave

4-20M

37° 07′ 08″S 149° 58′ 16″E (AUS66)

This cave lies at Leatherjacket Point, just to the south of the two tugs. Just a few metres off the point there is a bommie and nearby a long north-south wall. In a kink in this underwater wall a couple of large boulders mark the entrance to a small cave about 4 metres wide. This cave is quite long and dark. You need a torch and some caving experience. The walls are covered in nudibranchs, hermit crabs, sponges, sea squirts, lace coral, and gorgonia. As for fish cuttlefish, leatherjackets and rays. One of the more interesting sites in NSW. It can only be dived in very calm seas.

 

Lanercost

21M

37° 08′ 17″S 149° 59′ 29″E. ( AUS66)

 

The 123.7 feet long, 358 ton, timber barque Lanercost was launched in 1865 at Harrington, UK. In 1872 she left Newcastle for Adelaide with 580 tons of coal. Due to careless navigation she ran aground on a small point north-west of Mowarry Point, south of Eden. The crew escaped but the wreck soon broke up. After anchoring on the marks, drop to the reef and swim to the south-east till you hit the sand. Most of the wreck is either dispersed or buried, but pieces are uncovered by storms. Only for the enthusiast.

 

 

SS Olive Cam

3-9M

 

37° 09′ 02″S 150° 00′ 24″E (AUS66)

 

 

 

The 128.5 foot long, 281 ton, Olive Cam was built in 1920 as the SS Nodzu by Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd of Beverley, England. By 1932 she was being used as a fishing trawler in Sydney. During World War II she was requisitioned for use as a minesweeper. HMAS Olive Cam was involved in the unsuccessful search for survivors of HMAS Sydney. By 1954 she was fishing between Eden and Green Cape in heavy seas. The ship travelled too close to the coast and went aground just south of Mowarry Point, south of Eden. Some of the crew drowned and the wreck was smashed into tiny pieces, the largest remaining items are the boiler, anchor and winches. Very calm seas and westerly or south/south-easterly winds are needed to diver her. Only for keen wreck enthusiasts.

 

Wreck of City of Sydney
15-21M

37° 15′ 28″S 150° 00′ 40″E (AUS66-APPROX)

 

 

 

The 208 foot long, iron steamer, SS City of Sydney was launched in 1854 at the Smith and Rodger shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1862 this steamship was on a voyage from Melbourne to Sydney with passenger when it encountered fog. A navigation error saw her ram into the cliffs two kilometres west of Green Cape. The passengers got away safely. Today little remains and the wreck can be identified from ironwork washed up on the shore. Underwater the ships structure has been smashed and scattered. The seabed is rocky reef, with some kelp and sponges. The engines, the prop shaft and the remains of the stern section are the major remaining sections. The wreck site is protected from north-easterly and easterly winds but very hard to get to. It can only be dived in exceptionally calm weather.

 

Wreck of the Ly-ee-moon

3- 14m

37° 15′ 55″S 150° 03′ 01″E (AUS66- APPROX)
This very early type of steamship was built in London in 1859 as an iron paddle steamer. She went to China as an opium trader and was progressively updated as technology improved, her inefficient paddles being replaced by screws. Eventually she arrived in Australia and was providing a coastal service. In 1886, she left Melbourne with passengers and general cargo. A navigation error put her hard onto the rocks of. Green Cape and within 10 minutes she had canted over and was starting to break up and only a few of the passengers made it to the shore alive. Today the wreck is broken up into small pieces and lying in two sections close to the shore directly under the lighthouse. There is scattered ironwork lying on the high tide line that marks the wreck. Exceptionally calm weather is required to dive the area.

 

 

 

Wreck of the New Guinea

5-10M

37° 15′ 37″S 150° 02′ 16″E (AUS66)

 

 

The 300 foot long New Guinea was a 2,674 ton iron steamer constructed in 1884 at the Sunderland, England dockyards of W. Doxford and Sons. The vessel was used on the London to Australia run, primarily to Brisbane. In 1911, the steamship New Guinea ran into Green Cape in fog. The crew escaped but the vessel was damaged beyond hope of recovery.  She soon broke up. Now, on the shore there are many pieces of wreckage, including an anchor. The keel and large sections of the hull are still intact. She is a scatter of steelwork on a relatively shallow bottom. It is a hard to visit, but very interesting jumble of iron. The wreck is unapproachable in all but perfectly calm weather.