Spoilsport Townsville May 2014
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Spoilsport Townsville May 2014


After our Netherlands holiday we looked forward to our second trip out on Spoisport.  14 dives on offer including the magnificent SS Yongala and the SS Gothenberg it was going to be good.

We got on board and to our cabin - number 9 on the rear starboard side.  Immediately we were warned that the seas were a bit roly poly.  The last trip had not got onto the Yongala at all - the seas were too rough.  Still we steamed overnight to the SS Gothenberg.  It was a rough trip and Jen really struggled with sea sickness.  She didn't vomit but the trip knocked her back quite a bit.


Even at the Gothenberg, sheltered by surrounding reefs the boat moved more that it should.  I chose to do my SDI solo dive cetification.  This involves some theory, mostly commonsense for any experienced diver and the practical.  The practical involved a number of skills. First swap regs from primary to pony and back a couple of times.  Then a swim out on a compass bearing, 40 kick cycles then back to the instructor.  Then hover for 3 minutes.  Then we were to head off  on our first solo dive.  At the end of the dive we had to snorkel around the boat 3 times in full scuba using a snorkel and then inflate our SMB.  I made the mistake of swimming into the swell going clockwise around the boat so that 3 times was very tiring.  I could have done it counter clockwise where the boat would have sheltered me from the swell and then the swell would have been at my back.  But no I did the hard way. And paid a price as I was quite tired after that and sat out the next dive.

Jen was able later in the day to do some dives on the Gothenberg, It is fully broken up with scattered metal sections and a large boiler.  Nice enough with some really good bommies nearby.

SS Yongala

We steamed overnight to the site of the much fabled Yongala, acclaimed by many to be the best wreck dive in the world.  It certainly is fish life on steroids.  Spoilsport was moored about 30m from the stern drop line.  A line ran from the back of Spoilsport to the buoy at the top of the drop line.  Spoilsport was moving a lot, both up and down and slewing sideways.  It was a struggle to snorkel across to the drop line and I ended up using my reg.  My only dive on the Yongala was a solo dive.  Some one in front of me had some trouble so I had to wait on the surface on the line.  To make matters worse my spool came undone.  I decided to get down onto the wreck where the water would be calm and then roll my spool line up on the double clip.  This took ages and I slowly went towards the bow as I wind the line in.  The current was running stern to bow.  At the end of my line, holding my spool was Julia, Spoilsports resident photographer.  I had been very careful when winding the line in not to disturb the growth on the wreck. Once this was done I had scant time to enjoy the wreck.

Most other divers had left the wreck so I had it to myself.  Lots and lots of fish life but with the current and my low air I ended up hanging onto the stern line for as long I could, trying to take some pics.  I did see 2 very large wrasse swim past - they looked to be size of a small car but they were just far enough away that I could not get a pic of them.  Then it was back to the surface and swim back along the line in the swell and try to get back onto the swinging boat.  The only useable exit was on the port side which meant a swim across the back of Spoilsport. As Spoilsport is a catamaran the swell was funnelled between the hulls creating a whitewash at the back of the boat.  To get out one had to wait to be called in, then grab the handrails and force ones feet (with fins) onto the ladder.  And making sure that you could pass your camera up safely as well.  I mistimed my first exit and had to swim away and then back again.  It was a tough exit despite the very large ladders and good handrails.

This dive for me was quite exhausting so I was not able to do the second dive on offer.  We had lunch and were told as we had expected that it was too dangerous to stay and we would be steaming to Wheeler's reef.

Wheelers reef

.  Wheelers was our next site, basically chosen as somewhere we could dive and be sheltered from the seas.  It is a lovely dive site with lots of bommies, all with something to offer.    Jen and I did one dive at Wheelers and thoroughly enjoyed it. We saw a turtle but could not get a good pic, a spotted ray and lots of typically tropical fish.


Pinnacles was the last site that we dives.  There were 2 dives on offer, one mid afternoon and one late afternoon.  Most did the first dive but no one did the second one.

The site is quite lovely, again with a number of very large bommies with lots of fish life. I didn't see anything big but it was a nice dive that I did solo.


After this dive ws the BBQ and entertainment with Captain Trevor bringing out the guitar with accompaniment from the rest of the gang.  And Captain Trevor does really George Thorogood covers followed by the photo competition and then bed for a very rough ride back.  The seas were so big that lying on my side was impossible as I just kept being rolled over and on my back I was being lifted off the bed.  We were very pleased to be anchoring up behind magnetic island in the wee hours of the morning.

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