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Eden-Merimbula
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Eden-Merimbula, or the Sapphire Coast, is a great weekend getaway halfway between Sydney and Melbourne with a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than smaller coastal towns.  Lots of holiday accommodation, cafes, restaurants and bars.  

Surrounded by bushland and great beaches. Activities include golf, bushwalking, fishing, and ocean sports.  

Dive Sites

Eden Cave

Depth (15m | 49ft) |
The cave is a 60m | 200ft horizontal slit tunnel, the entrance is 2m | 7ft high and the exit is 1m | 3ft high, so good buoyancy and trim are required. The cave walls and roof are encrusted with colourful soft growth and there are many hermit crabs, bugs and lobsters.
 

Tasman Hauler

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
A fire-fighting tug scuttled in October 1988 as an artificial reef. Covered in lace coral, sponges, soft coral and jewel anemone colonies. The wreck is fully intact and an amazing penetration dive.
  • Tonnage 119.89 (metric), length 42.4 meters, width 9.96 meters, and draft 3.94 meters.
  • Built in 1959 by Evans Deakin & Co, Brisbane for BP (Kwinana) Pty Ltd. 
  • Steel construction, diesel motor vessel.
  • Scuttled as a dive site 1 October 1988.
Originally built for BP (Kwinana) Pty Ltd as a firefighting tug and named the BP Cockburn, she was later sold to P&O Australia and renamed the Cockburn. Finally in 1983 she was sold to Lease Industrial Finance and Phipson Nominee Pty Ltd and renamed the Tasman Hauler. 
 
On 6 July 1988, the Tasman Hauler was stranded on rocks at Twofold Bay. She was refloated but declared a total loss and on 1 October 1988 was scuttled as local dive site.
 
The Tasman Hauler is fully intact and sits upright on a sandy bottom. The wreck is quite open and provides plenty of opportunity for penetration throughout the hull and the superstructure. The engine room is tight but interesting.
 
The stern is of particular interest, and features a large ducted propeller (kort nozzle). The propeller itself is quite large, and it is housed in a non-rotating cylindrical cover (or nozzle, shroud). The cover improves the hydrodynamic performance of the propeller, and provides increased efficiency of thrust and better course stability.
 
The Tasman Hauler is covered in light growth/encrustation, but there is plenty of pelagic fish life, particularly around the superstructure and tower. There are numerous shrimp, moray eels, octopus and other species hiding around the wreck.
   
The water temperature ranges from 14 degrees to 22 degrees. Visibility can be up to 30 meters.
 
References
Australian National Shipwreck Database, 'Tasman Hauler' <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/wreck/wreck.do?key=1771> available at 29 September 2012.
Jack Loney, 'Wrecks on the New South Wales Coast' (1993).
William Harvey and Raymond Solly, 'BP Tankers: A Group Fleet History' (2006).
 

Henry Bolte

Depth (26m | 85ft) |
A fire-fighting tug scuttled in July 1988 as a dive site. The wreck has broken up and forms a fascinating debris field, with many large intact sections of hull and superstructure to explore.
  • Tonnage 110.75 (metric), length 40.72 meters, width 10.21 meters, and draft 4.35 meters.
  • Built in 1966 by NSW Govt E & S B Corp at the NSW State Dockyard, Newcastle. 
  • Steel construction, diesel motor vessel.
  • Scuttled as a dive site 31 July 1988.
Originally a firefighting tug for the Victorian Department of Ports and Harbours, she was later sold to Westernport Tug Services. The Henry Bolte was purpose sunk on 31 July 2988 as a dive site. 
 
The Henry Bolte has broken up since it was scuttled, and is now better considered a wreckage field than a wreck. However, the wreck has broken into large intact sections that provide a fascinating dive.
 
The large propeller is sitting flat on the bottom and is readily identifiable. There are pieces of the Henry Bolte's engine sitting broken on the bottom between large sections of hull. The bridge is a mostly intact section of wreckage, and can be identified with some thought. The tower is lying in the sand pointing away from the wreckage.
 
The Henry Bolte is covered in light growth/encrustation, but there is plenty of pelagic fish life aggregating around the wreckage. There are numerous shrimp, moray eels, octopus and other species hiding around the wreckage.
 
In good visibility conditions, the dive site is appropriate for most divers. However, if the visibility has closed in, then navigating around the wreckage field to get back to the mooring line for the ascent is a bit more challenging. In low visibility conditions, new divers should consider taking a guide familiar with the dive site.
 
The water temperature ranges from 14 degrees to 22 degrees. Visibility can be up to 30 meters.
 
References
Australian National Shipwreck Database, 'Tasman Hauler' < https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/wreck/wreck.do?key=839> available at 29 September 2012.

Merimbula Wharf

Depth (12m | 39ft) |
Dive the remains of a historic wharf and explore the replacement structure. Heading out past the structure are the inclined bolder field and scattered kelp beds.
Merimbula Wharf is the site of a steamer wharf, built in 1901 and used by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company until the 1950s to transport cargo and passengers.  The original wharf was not maintained and deteriorated until 1979, when it was condemned and burned in a demolition by the NSW Department of Public Works.
 
A smaller fishing platform now sits on the site of the original wharf, but the remains of the original wharf are scattered around the dive site.
 
Merimbula Wharf is located at the end of Lake Street, Merimbula.  There are some buildings here occupied by "Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf", and a useful car park.  There are long ladders on either side of Merimbula Wharf, but these hang over a shallow bottom and so are dangerous for diver entry, and the first rung starts above the surface and so is too difficult to use as an exit point. 
 
Instead, divers should use the nearby rock entry point.  Take the path leading up the right side of the "Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf" building (as you face the building), it is sign posed as the way to the bathrooms, and leads up the hillside and above the concrete sea wall.  About half-way up the path you are level with the top of the sea wall and there is a park bench on the other side of the sea wall.  The park bench is at the start of a well defined dirt path down to the rocks.
 
Once on the rocks, the entry point is a v-shaped slot between the ledge and rock about 3 meters into the water.  The slot is sheltered from direct swill but the water level will still rise and fall.  Exiting via the slot can be difficult at low tide or with moderate swell as lower water level can require scaling the vertical sides of the slot.  For this reason there is a ringbolt fixed in the rock to which divers should tie a knotted rope to help with exiting the water.  
 
Once in the water, Merimbula Wharf an inclined boulder field from 2 to 13 meters depth, then flat sandy bottom out into the channel.  The wharf itself only extends out over water of 2-3 meters depth.  Bull rays can sometimes be found cruising under the wharf.
 
Head down and over the various ledges until you reach the sand at 12-13 meters. Explore the rock ledge in either direction.  Attempt to find the dumped bulldozer tracks.  As you work your way back up the tiered rock ledges and amongst the boulder field, look for octopus, nudibranchs, and shrimp.
 
From the south east corner of Merimbula Wharf a PVC pipe heads out at an angle, nearly to down to the sand at 12 meters.  There is plenty of life along the pipeline, and a tulip garden off to the right from the end of the pipeline.
The route along the pipeline passes plenty of bommies and rock ledges.
 
Water temperature varies from 14 to 22 degrees.  Visibility ranges up to 25 meters.
 
Merimbula Wharf is suitable for divers at all experience levels.  The exit can require some physical effort to get back onto the rock ledge.  Very unfit divers should consider only doing this dive at high tide, with low swell, and make sure to use a knotted rope at the slot entry/exit.
 
Merimbula Wharf is very popular for local fishermen, who have as much right to be there as divers.  Good relations depend on common sense.  If the wharf is packed with serious fishermen, usually early morning or at dusk, then conduct your dive heading away from the wharf.  In the middle of the day, with snorkelers about and teenagers jumping from the wharf, then divers are fishermen are probably not so much of an issue.
 
References
"Merimbula wharf study first local Centenary project", Merimbula News Weekly 16 May 2001 <available at http://www.merimbulanewsonline.com.au/news/local/news/general/merimbula-wharf-study-first-local-centenary-project/254041.aspx>.

Tathra Wharf

Depth (10m | 33ft) |
Shallow dive to the East with soft corals, sponges, all sorts of juvenile fish and sea horses. The old wharf itself appears surreal underwater, the barnacle encrusted pylons rising to the surface, and shards of light reaching though the gaps in the planks above to the sand and rock bottom.
 

Kianinny Bay

Depth (18m | 59ft)
Great scenery of large boulders, schools of fish (commonly garfish and yellowtail), nudibranchs and sea hares, stingrays, all kinds of puffer fish and leather jackets hiding amongst the seagrasses, and gurnards with their striking fin displays.
 

SS Empire Gladstone

Depth (12m | 39ft) |
An ore carrier which struck the rocks and sunk here in 1950. It is a large wreck (~100m | 300 ft long) with abundant marine life.
 
There are many more dive sites in this area that can be arranged on request either to the skipper on the day of this event for normal dives,
or by Contacting Us for specialist technical dives.
Reef
Cavern-Cave
Wreck
Boat
Shore

Dive Centre

Merimbula Divers Lodge

1/15 Park Street, Merimbula NSW 2548 Australia Facilities:
Mike runs a relaxed but professional operation for diving Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. The dive centre and accommodation is located in Merimbula and the boat launches from Eden.
Air Compressor
Enriched Air Nitrox
100% Oxygen
Trimix
Closed Circuit Rebreather Support
Booster Pump
Boat
Equipment Hire
Dive Lodge Accommodation

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