Althea II

Althea 2 by Trevor Jackson.
Position- Between Bundaberg and Fraser Island

GPS- 24 33 57s 152 49 45e

Max Depth- 41m

Diver Qualification- Deep

Rating- ****

When we first dived the Althea 2 a few years back, I wrote the position of the wreck down in my little black book under the heading ?The Greatest Big Stuff Spot in the World Ever?. All four divers that had been lucky enough to be aboard that day came back from the dive with stunned looks on their faces, stumbling over each other to tell everyone what they?d seen. Like the mighty Barcoola 50 miles to the north, the Althea 2 attraction lies in the massive abundance of life that swarms and engulfs this tiny oasis.

Unlike most trawlers the Althea didn?t hook up on the seafloor prior to sinking. She instead was simply the victim of an age-old maritime killer; instability. When the Althea left harbour about a week before her sinking, she was heavily loaded with fuel, water and a couple of changes of trawl gear. The trawl gear was stored well above deck level on an awning, which extended from the roof of the wheelhouse well out across the back deck and sorting tray. The fishing had been very poor that week and the crew had expended almost all of their fuel and water from within the hull, without replacing that weight with the fish that they had expected to catch. The combination of the heavy top load and the empty tanks proved catastrophic one night and the ship foundered. There was no loss of life.

The Althea 2 lies on a sandy bottom in nearly 40 metres of water. Having only sunk in 1991 her hull and superstructure are still intact and like the Barcoola 50 miles to the north, she?s a real eye opener. Huge Qld Grouper live here amongst the swarming Trevally and countless Coral Trout. Best dived in July and August on a high tide, use the tide times for Hervey Bay. Some current will prevail between the tides but it is usually manageable for experienced divers.

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