The wreck of the Dragin II is a 19m long and 7m wide fishing trawler vessel that sank 1.5 miles off South Stradbroke Island beach in 1983, only 2 years after its launch in 1981. The vessel is a true Gold Coast mystery. There is hardly any information available in public and even the Moreton Bay Marine Parks Authority or the offical Shipwreck Data Base have no offical records of her existence as a wreck.
We still could not find out anything around the circumstances to why she sank. Only recently in 2020, we received a newspaper article from Point Lookout Scuba (Ken Holzheimer) that gave us the clue in regards to the timeline of events and her specification such as exact dimensions and fit out.
The Dragin 2 is also often referred to as the Sea Dragon. We are not sure how this nickname has evolved. We have dived the wreck for the first time in 2019 as an exploratory mission. It took us a few attempts to finally find her as fisherman and divers usually keep their GPS marks tight to their chests.
How to get there
The wreck is located only 1.5 miles off the South Stradbroke Island coast and not far away from the Jumpinpin bar. As commercial dive charter operators, we do not cross the Jumpinpin Bar due to its shallowness and we access the Dragin II site via the Gold Coast Seaway instead. The 14 nautical mile boat ride takes approximately 35-45min depending on sea-state.
A trip to the Dragin 2 can not really be planned as we need to pick the right day. This can usually only be assessed once we have crossed the bar. Our advanced reef+wreck dive is definitely the trip where we could dive the Dragin if conditions allow it.
General Diving Conditions
The northern part of South Stradbroke Island in close proximity to shore, typically has large, soft sand accumulations and a reduced flush. On days with swells over one meter, we often find the visibility impacted by sand particles. A second factor that influences visibility are the outgoing tides from the Gold Coast Seaway and Jumpinpin during times with increased rainwater runoff. The tidal discharge moves north most of the time during the year due to the more common southeasterly swell and wind.
In summary, to dive the Dragin II, you need to pick your day. Ideally you would dive it on a swell below 1m and wind below 10 knots. Another indicator to maximise your chances is if the visibility around other places is generally good including in the Gold Coast Seaway on the outgoing tide. This almost calls for winter diving.
The wreck has a lot of growth on it as you would expect after sitting on the bottom of the ocean for almost 40 years. We observed lots of bait fish on her, woebegone sharks, shovelnose sharks and more.
The site is 24m deep so definitely an advanced divers only dive. The wheelhouse can be penetrated however it has lots of sharp edges and has never been professionally assessed for diver safety. As such, we would not recommend to penetrate her.
Permit to Dive
The Dragin 2 wreck is located within Moreton Bay Marine Park hence restrictions on activities apply. If you are planning to dive the Dragin II from your private vessel, you can do so without the need of any permits. Any commercially operated tour such as our scuba diving charters but also fishing charters require a Marine Parks Permit. What you can and can’t do within the Marine Park can be found in the Parks user guide: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-bay/zoning/pdf/marine-park-user-guide.pdf
Should we gather some more information about the history of the Dragin II, be sure we will add it to this blog post. Also on a side note, the main photograph of this blog post is not the Dragin 2 but comes close to what she looks and feels like. All other pictures are from the actual Dragin 2 wreck, taken in 2019.