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Dive Locations

The "Bombo" 

Depth 31m bombo.gif (1863 bytes)

Visibility Usually Good

The Bombo is the wreck of a coastal steamship that hauled coal and other minerals between Kiama and Sydney. It was built in Scotland and left for its maiden voyage to Sydney on 11 February 1930, arriving on 23 April.

In 1941, The Bombo was requisitioned for naval service, and converted for operations as an auxiliary mine sweeper, operating between Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. Later in the war it was converted to a stores carrier serving Northern Australia out of Darwin, participating in the occupation of Koepang. After the war The Bombo returned to civilian service, resuming operations between Sydney and Kiama. Under the command of Captain Arthur Bell, she left Kiama on her final voyage on 22 February 1949, with 13 crew. North of Stanwell Park, The Bombo was struck by a large wave, causing a list to port. With seas deteriorating, Capt Bell decided to turn back for Port Kembla, in order to take shelter in the harbor. With the list increasing, Capt Bell gave the order to man the life boats when off Wollongong, tragically close to the safety of Port Kembla. This was unsuccessful, so the crew donned life jackets and abandoned ship. Only 10 of the 14 made it off, with six surviving until morning. At this time, the survivors decided to head for shore, spacing themselves so they wouldn't attempt to clamber on each other when tired. Only two of the crew made it to safety. Today, The Bombo lies upside down in about 31m of water. She is 47m in length, lying approximately north-south, with the hull completely broken in half. The bow and stern sections are accessible,. There is a good variety of fish life on the wreck, with a lot of unusual and interesting growth, especially on the propeller. A great dive, and it can be followed up with a second dive on one of the nearby Five Islands, such as Toothbrush, Martin or Pig Island. Toothbrush in particular is a great second dive, with a maximum depth of 17m, great sea life and some interesting geography.

The wreck is becoming harder to dive due to increased shipping trafic. It lies is the shipping channel and permission has to be obtained before diving.

Pig Island (Bass Island)

Depth 15-30m

Visibility Usually Good

Also known as "Bass Island", Pig Island is one of the Five Islands in the Illawarra (Wollongong) region, south of Sydney. It is accessible only by boat departing from nearby Wollongong Harbor. Diving is possible all around Pig Island, but the southern side seems to offer the best all round diving. Depths here work down to about 18-25m, with a great sponge garden and a lot of rocky gullies and walls. This area is part of a reef running towards nearby Toothbrush Island. There is a good variety of fish life including snapper, tailor, bonito, bream, groper. In addition, you can often spot spotted rays and some large wobbegongs. The colors in the sponge garden are superb. This is a great first dive for a day, with nearby Toothbrush Island, with its shallower depths, interesting terrain and abundant fish life offering a fantastic second dive.

Toothbrush Island (Flinders Island)

Depth 5-15m

Visibility Usually Excellent

Toothbrush Island is one of the Five Islands off Wollongong, about an hour south of Sydney. Access is by boat, with a launching ramp at Wollongong. Alternatively, United Divers offers regular charters out to the Five Islands. On its day, Toothbrush Island would have some of the best visibility and fish life I've experienced. As it is quite a shallow dive, it is a perfect second dive to deeper, nearby sites, such as the wreck of the Bombo, and Pig and Martin Island. Toothbrush Island features lots of swim throughs and channels which offer a lot of interesting terrain, as well as three reasonably large caves. The deepest of these lies in 12-15m, and usually housing Port Jackson sharks. Other fish life includes HUGE schools of yellowtail, an enormous resident Blue Groper (Basil), Moray eels, kingfish, snapper, bream and trevally. Plenty of bottom time and great visibility make for an excellent dive.

Martin Island

Depth 28m

Visibility Usually Good

Martin Island is another of the Five Islands off Wollongong, in NSW's Illawarra Region. Martin Island is a power packed dive with a variety of sponge gardens, channels, crevices and walls to keep you occupied for the entire dive. The eastern side of the island is the best diving, with the North East having some exceptional terrain. This dive site has one of the best ranges of fish life in the area, with a small crevice housing a family of Bleekers Blue Devil fish. You will find all the other normal varieties including groper, wrasse, yellowtail, trevally, bullseye, and so on. The wall on the eastern side drops of to 28 m and is quite spectacular , large bat rays are common (stumpy usually shows up, no tail on this ray) It also boasts of having a variety of nudibranchs equaling any I've seen. The sponge gardens on the south eastern corner are some of best you will see anywhere. Well recommend this as a great dive. Have a double, and follow Martin Island with a splash at Toothbrush Island. United Divers Wollongong dive this site most weeks from their boat "Friendship". I recommend this as Leon always seems to be able to put us on the exact spot where the channels are, and where the diving is best. A great dive. Also recommended are , Pig Island, and the wreck the "Bombo"

The Pinnacle

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Depth 20 - 30 m

Visibility usually good

This site is only about 500 m from "Pig Island" but not dived as often because there is no protection from any winds and occasionally can be subjected to the affect of currents. It peaks at 18 m and drops to around 30 m, large schools of nannygai and bait fish are always seen, and the sponge life is good but patchy compared to Pig Island close by. Local divers have found Pigmy pipe fish, sea spiders, rare nudibranchs and there is a small cave surounded by hundreds of schooling fish.

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Domestic Reef

Depth 20-30 m

Visibility usually good

A reef NE of Martin Island. It has a wall on the eastern side dropping to 28 m with crevices and channels along it. One of the few spots where you can find sea whips in this area. Gorgonia, sponges, nudibranchs, fish of all types, large sting rays . A favourite of the local divers.

Midway reef

A reef between Toothbrush and Pig Island we have not explored it thoroughly yet but it seem promising

Depth 18 to 25 meters

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Video by Jim Snelson