Ulonga. Iron vessel, 119 tons. Built at MOAMA, New South Wales, 1910 as a Murray River paddle steamer, she was converted to an auxiliary ketch in 1949. Lbd 111.5x 22 x 6.9 ft. While steaming from Kangaroo Island (?the mine at Ballast Head) to Port Adelaide with gypsum, sank in St.Vincents Gulf, 6 July 1976. Crew of five rescued by SS Star Lily, then transferred to the prawn vessel Speedewell.
The vessel now sits with a roughly northeast-southwest lie with the bow pointing back to KI. Max depth is 38m.
There are numerous crates of soft drink, deck fittings, portholes and the Chrysler Valiant which has slipped off the deck. Judging by the dent in the forward starboard rail, and the missing plates below the water line, one wonders if the ship struck something prior to sinking.
Some care needs to be taken on this dive. A number of anchor ropes and original lines on the ship wave in the current, as well as a fair bit of monofilament. Clearly a few fishos have been giving the wreck a fair nudge! Still plenty of snapper and trevally in and around the wreck. An enormous Wobbegong stands guard in the main companionway of the wheelhouse daring anyone to enter, although the tight fit pushed that thought from my mind.
The current out there is nothing short of ferocious! Diving can only be safely enjoyed around slack water. An hour later we found the deco bar just about surfing behind the boat!
The Discovery of the wreck.
After many years of research and searching particularly by my faithful companions Andrew Bowie and David Teubner, we finally located and dived this elusive wreck which sank nearly 30 years ago. Just in time it seems as the location may soon become public knowledge anyway! Not to worry, it is nice to dive it before the masses and see all the artifacts and crustacea in situ before the inevitable rape and pillage.
Hull Type Iron auxillary ketch
Best Time Of Year Dive the site on slack water, in light E-NE breeze .
Temperature 13-20 degrees celcius
Type as above
Artefacts plentiful but leave it there for the next person to enjoy
% Wreck Remaining 90-95%
Rating Out Of 10 10
Penetration yes, small tight passageways with a great deal of silt, multiple entrapment points
Fish Life snapper and trevally schools, crayfish
Current undiveable at max tidal flow
Known Visibility 3-15m
Bottom Type sand
Approximate Location 20km west of Wirrina
Boat Dive yes
Shore Dive no
Dangers drifting off wreck in strong current, fishing line and ropes everywhere, dangerous penetration
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