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Port Macquarie
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One of TEC Divers favorite dives in this region is the wreck of the Titan.  It was the largest working crane in the southern hemisphere.  When being towed from Sydney to Singapore she turned upside down and eventually sunk.  The nearby Cod Grounds is a series of underwater pinnacles known as a significant aggregation site for Grey Nurse Sharks.  

Dive Sites

Cod Grounds

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
Dual pinnacles rising from a deep rocky reef attract grey nurse sharks and schooling pelagics.
 Two pinnacles rise from a rocky reef at 30 meters depth to the highest peak at 19 meters.  The area is patrolled by a number of large black cod.  The dual pinnacles attract grey nurse sharks, bull rays, jewfish and schooling pelagics.  Cracks and overhangs may hide eastern blue devilfish.  The various gutters and holes shelter wobbygong sharks and port jackson sharks.

Soft coral gardens in yellow, orange and purple decorate the faces of the pinnacles and the surrounding reef.  The small, tentacled cups of tiger anemonies can be seen clinging to the leading edges of sponges and gorgonian whips for maximum exposure to the current.  Local hermit crabs affix tiger anemonies to their back for protection and camouflage.

Cod Gardens

Approximately 200 meters southwest of the dual pinnacles is a third, low pinnacle rising from flat rock reef running to sand flats. 

Titan

Depth (40m | 131ft) |
Once proud relic of Australian nation-building, sadly lost to bureaucracy and carelessness. Wreck used to be the largest crane in the southern hemisphere.

·                Constructed 1919 at Cockatoo Island, Sydney, prefabricated in Carlisle, United Kingdom.

·                Crane barge, steel construction, no independent engines.

·                Length 16.42  meters, width 7.4 meters, draft 2.31 meters.

·                Scuttled after capsizing 30 November 1991 off Smoky Cape, on a voyage from Sydney to Singapore.

Assembled in Sydney Harbour in 1919, the Titan was a 58m-high electrical revolving floating crane, capable of lifting 150 tons.  The crane projected from vertical rollers and a revolving base.  The whole edifice rested upon a barge constructed of two giant interlinked pontoons. 

During transit from Sydney to Singapore, the weight of the crane caused the Titan to capsize in a storm.  The crane itself slipped off its mount and was lost in the depths.  The barge was scuttled and now rests upside down on an include supported by the rollers and base mechanism. 

The upside down deck has bollards, hatch covers, railings and other marine features.  Wobbygong sharks and jewfish hide in the shelter beneath the deck.

There are few access points for penetration, which should only be attempted by experienced technical divers.

The Titan can be subject to currents, and surge on the mooring line.  Visibility ranges from 7 meters to 25 meters.  Water temperature ranges from 17 to 24 degrees.

History

The Titan’s components were built in England shipped to Sydney Harbour for assembly in 1919.  It worked until 1994 in the construction and refitting of vessels at the dockyard at Cockatoo Island and in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Titan was 58m high and able to lift 150 tonnes.  In its history, the Titan also assisted in the construction of the Iron Cove Bridge, Split Bridge and Gladsville Bridges, including in 1985 the recovery of two Japanese Midget submarines sunk in Sydney Harbour in WWII.  The Titan was last actively used for work in Australia in 1989. 

In 1990 the Titan was classified as a heritage item by the National Trust but the decision was taken to sell the Titan to a Singapore company.  Part of the conditions for export was that the Titan be returned to Sydney by July 1995.

Despite concerns that a top-heavy object such as the Titan was not capable of being moved internationally, nevertheless, on 22 or 23 December 1992 the Titan left Sydney Harbour under tow bound for Singapore. 

At 10:50pm on 24 December 1992, while passing South West Rocks in 26 knot winds with 2m seas, the Titan capsized.  The barge remained afloat, but with the crane now underwater the Titan was towed south and into shallower waters.

When commercial divers discovered that the crane itself had slipped free somewhere during the night, it was decided the Titan would be scuttled.  The Titan was sunk off North Haven at 9pm on 27 December 1992.

References

Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; "Australian National Shipwreck Database", available at <https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/initiate-mch-search.do?mchTypeCode=MCT_SHWR>.

Inspector of Marine Accidents, Marine Incident Investigation unit, Department of Transport and Communications, Report published 18 October 1993 “Departmental investigation into the capsize of the crane barge TITAN off Smoky Cape, on 25 December 1992 and the subsequent sinking of the barge off Camden Head, on 29 December 1992”.

Cod Hole

Depth (18m | 59ft) |
Two pinnacles joined by a natural arch full of schooling silvers and baitfish. To the east are scattered boulders. To the west is broken rock reef. The area hosts nudibranchs, wobbegongs, port jackson sharks and eastern blue devil fish. Encrusting sponges in pink, orange and yellow.

Yabbies

Depth (33m | 108ft) |
As the name suggests, saltwater yabbies with two large claws, can be found at this dive site. In good visibility and mild current this dive site attracts hundreds of schooling pelagics including yellowtail kingfish, bonito, leatherjacket, bullseye, sweeps, trevally, red morwong and a host of others.

The Maze

Depth (22m | 72ft) |
The Maze earns its name from the gutters and swim throughs created by haphazard placement of several large boulders. The boulders shelter temperate reef fish, nudibranchs and shrimp.

Port Macquarie Wall

Depth (24m | 79ft) |
Covered in sponge growth, the wall hosts a large number of macro species and attracts a great deal of schooling pelagics.

Mermaid Reef

Depth (30m | 98ft) |
Mermaid Reef is an area of isolated bomboras and pinnacles, the highest of which breach the surface. Rock surfaces support patches of kelp and are otherwise separated by sand. Gorgonian fans decorate the lower surfaces. Grey nurse sharks and whaler sharks are known to frequent the site.

Bonny’s 12

Depth (12m | 39ft) |
Shallow macro dive. Rock reef with gutters topped by kelp fields.
 

Cathie Reef

Depth (20m | 66ft) |
The wall and top of the reef are covered in colourful growth of hydroid ferns, soft coral trees, hard coral fans, and lumpy sponge. Several species of anemones and many species of nudibranchs make Cathie Reef an excellent macro dive.
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

Scuba Haven

20 Merrigal Road, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia Facilities:
Pete runs a comfortable 7.5m | 25ft Orca dive boat, and is the only operator with access to the Cod Grounds Marine Reserve off Laurieton.
Air Compressor
Enriched Air Nitrox
100% Oxygen
Trimix
Closed Circuit Rebreather Support
Booster Pump
Boat
Equipment Hire
Dive Lodge Accommodation

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