Moreton Bay Marine Park was established in 1992 as protection zone of sensitive marine habitats. The 3,400km2 park extents from the southern point of Caloundra to the northern seawall of the Gold Coast Seaway. The park is home to hundreds of shipwrecks. Some are known and explored as diving spots and others aren’t. The most famous wrecks within the northern area of the park include, Cementco wreck, Curtin Artifical Reef Precinc and Tangalooma Wrecks.
In this blog post, we are highlighting the most famous wrecks within the marine parks Gold Coast area. Gold Coast Dive Adventures holds a Moreton Bay Marine Parks permit that allows us to explore the historic wrecks within the Marine Park.
The wreck of the Aquarian
One of the more tragic sinking’s includes the Auqarian. The trawler that was skippered by Malcom Taylor and sank on 1stof May 1986. Sadly, Malcom lost his life during this tragedy. In honour of Malcom, what we all know as the Seaway Tower, was named the Malcom Taylor Tower.
The wreck of the Aquarian is often covered by sand however over recent years it has been fully exposed. The ship sits upright on the ocean floor and is a pleasure to dive in only 14m of water. Dive days have to be picked as the site is close to shore and impacted by swell and the outgoing Seaway tide.
The wreck of the Dragin 2 or commonly referred to as the Sea Dragon
The dragin 2 or Sea Dragon is a trawler that lies in about 24m of water just north of the Jumpin Pin Bar off South Stradbroke Island. Little is known about this wreck in terms of the year when it sank and under which circumstances. The wreck is habitat to lots of fish life. Due to its remoteness, it can only be visited on calm days without swell and winds in order to keep travel times to a minimum. Gold Coast Dive Adventures dives the Sea Dragon or Dragin 2 as part of Advanced Exploration dives. If you have any further information about this shipwreck, please contact us!
Wreck of the Cambus Wallace
On 3rdSeptember 1894, the Cambus Wallace ran aground just 200m off the Jumpinpin Bar, South Stradbroke Island. The 1600t steel sailing barge embarked from Glasgow with cargo including, salt, whisky, dynamite, iron, paper and other goods.
The depth of the wreck has changed over the decades dramatically and was mostly completely covered by sand. Due to the shallowness, the Cambus Wallace is not a common scuba diving site but has been dived up to the 1970’s.
Picture credit and curtesy to State Library of Queensland. For more details about the history of the Cambus Wallace, visit http://www.bayislandnews.com.au/2018/01/02/cambus-wallace-ship-broke-island-1894/
Other nearby wrecks
Another well know shipwreck, just outside the boundaries of the marine park is the historic wreck of the Scottish Prince, located just 600m off Main Beach, probably the Gold Coast’s most famous offshore dive site. Here is a link to more information about the Scottish Prince wreck: https://goldcoastdiveadventures.com.au/scottish-prince-wreck-gold-coast-dive-site/
Why is a permit needed to scuba dive within the marine park?
The park is regulated by the government with the aim to preserve its beauty for many generations to come. The permit system allows the authorities to assess any commercial activity in terms of its impact to the environment by having regard to the kind of activity, methodology and frequency. Permit holders are then also used to contribute valuable statistical data by submitting quarterly activity reports including sighting reports of grey nurse sharks and other endangered and protected species.
Overall, whilst the permit process seems like an administrative burden, we believe it is a good and necessary process to avoid environmentally unsustainable commercial practices within the park. It also ensures that operators have proper systems and insurances in places.
What rules are there for the recreational use of the park?
The government has issued a Moreton Bay Marine Parks User Guide which you can down load via the link below. It contains lots of useful information around what you can and can’t do within the park.