Poor weather on weekends meant that it's been almost a month sinbce our last dive. This time Kirsty and I did a shore entry at Rye Pier. We had tried for Blairgowrie, but the car park was well and truly overflowing, so we moved to Rye instead. The new diving platform hasn't been completed yet. The piles are in, but it looks like it might be a month or so before it is finished, so the only options were to walk in through the shallows, or do a high entry off the pier. The shallows seemed to be the more attractive option, although the Northerlies did create quite a swell to get through as we moved out past the two sandbars. Surprisingly, visibility was very good once we got out into deeper water.
We spotted several different species of Leatherjackets, some of them quite large, a Senator Wrasse, a Big Bellied Seahorse, a Short-tailed Ceratosoma nudibranch, quite a lot of Squid, and a big school of East Australian Salmon patrolling about half way along the pier. I filmed one of the Salmon pushing a smaller Leatherjacket through the water on the tip of its nose. Not sure if this was playfullness, harrassment, or working out whether it was good to eat :-)
About 9 pm, incoming SS Penola ( 500 tons) struck and ran down City of Launceston which began to settle almost immediately. Passengers and crew transferred with difficulty to Penola. Sunken vessel valued at about 17,000 pounds - not insured. Sold by auction to Barrett, engineer of City of Launceston, who sold to a syndicate but salvage attempts eventually abandoned. Victorian Steam Navigation Board Inquiry held City of Launceston to blame for accident. Two separate Supreme Court actions by the respective owners for damages found in favour of the plaintiff in each case! An appeal by the aggrieved owner of the Penola for a non suit or a new trial was ultimately refused. Eleutheria, lighter, exhibited light at wreck site until it too sank. City of Launceston was the first shipwreck to be declared an Historic Shipwreck under new Victorian legislation. Built for the Melbourne to Launceston Bass Strait run, it was a regular trader across Bass Strait. - See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/shipwrecks/124#sthash.aPC0R645.dpuf
Divers: Kirsty Batchelor, Peter Batchelor
Weather/Sea: 10 Kt Northerly.
Visibility: 5 - 9 Metres.
Water temperature: 19°C.
Maximum depth: 4.8 metres.
Time of entry: 10:35
Duration: 95 minutes.