To­bruk wreck a divers’ par­adise

NewsMail - - NEWS - DIV­ING IN: Daniel Clifton on board ex-HMAS To­bruk.

WHEN ex-HMAS To­bruk reaches its fi­nal rest­ing place it will be 10 times big­ger than any dive site around the re­gion.

The ship, which is 37m in height, will be a lit­tle shorter by this time and lay 5m be­low the sur­face.

Queens­land Parks and Wildlifes’ Daniel Clifton, who is an ex­pe­ri­enced diver, said it was an hon­our be­ing part of the team.

With no naval ex­pe­ri­ence, Mr Clifton has spent many months learn­ing the his­tory of the ship and what was to come.

He said the marine ecosys­tem would take hold of the ship rapidly and within days would be thriv­ing with sea life.

As a fa­ther of two young girls, he said by the time they were old enough to dive there would be an abun­dance of life down there.

“When div­ing at 28-30m, the bot­tom time is re­stricted and you might only get 10 min­utes at that depth,” he said.

“But at 18m you may be able to dive for 45 min­utes so most peo­ple will dive to the bot­tom and stay to make their way up check­ing it out.”

“This will be here for the rest of my life and I’ll even be able to take my grand­kids to see her.”

The coloni­sa­tion will be rapid once the ship is down, Mr Clifton said.

“The re­ally ex­cit­ing part for me as a marine park ranger is once it goes down it be­comes a marine ecosys­tem,” he said.

“It will start im­me­di­ately and things (sea life) will come in and be­come cu­ri­ous and make it their home.”

Mr Clifton said af­ter about two years it would be fully colonised and fully func­tion­ing.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about div­ing it every cou­ple of months and watch­ing it grow, change and all hap­pen,” he said.

“With Queens­land’s warm wa­ters and hy­per­pro­duc­tive wa­ter we have here there will be life all over it straight away.”

He said there would be all types of marine life at­tracted to ex-HMAS To­bruk.

“There will be corals, nudi­branch, anemones, crabs and crus­taceans and shrimps right through to large fish,” he said.

An­other ma­jor draw­card for divers brave enough to ven­ture out dur­ing the colder months will be see­ing hump­back whales pass over­head.

“It will right out at the per­fect lo­ca­tion for the whales to pass over,” he said. “And the win­ter months are the best time of year for div­ing as the wa­ter is al­ways clearer.”

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

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