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Diving HMAS Brisbane Mooloolaba

Was that a massive tail? Or was I mistaken or hallucinating in the subdued darkness within brisbane’s belly. Was its Dan’s tail?———no his is far more rounded!

Dan turned and gave me the thumbs up before putting his fins into super overdrive sending him rocketing up the passage way to a hole in the ship’s side. When I finally arrived he was giving me the penguin raised flipper sign of, I’m buggered if I know where it’s gone! We re-entered the bowels of the ship and exited out the opposite side and continued cruising along the ships vertically standing hull. As I passed a purpose cut ‘diver’s’ hole in the ship’s port side I saw the WHOLE fish silhouetted against the ‘diver’s hole’ on the starboard side.

Was that a massive tail? Or was I mistaken or hallucinating in the subdued darkness within brisbane’s belly. Was its Dan’s tail?———no his is far more rounded!

Dan turned and gave me the thumbs up before putting his fins into super overdrive sending him rocketing up the passage way to a hole in the ship’s side. When I finally arrived he was giving me the penguin raised flipper sign of, I’m buggered if I know where it’s gone! We re-entered the bowels of the ship and exited out the opposite side and continued cruising along the ships vertically standing hull. As I passed a purpose cut ‘diver’s’ hole in the ship’s port side I saw the WHOLE fish silhouetted against the ‘diver’s hole’ on the starboard side.

Wow a massive Queensland grouper!

Again Dan’s fins went into overdrive sucking me along in his wake——in an instant we were hanging in 20 metres of blue water off the ship’s starboard side——no Grouper—-bugger! But Dan is not stopping. We were on our way to the bow. I’m thinking has he gone nuts, why are we sprinting to the bow? The grouper is most likely enjoying a quiet drink in the captain’s cabin by now!

The ship’s knife cutting bow is soon fading behind us as we descend to the sandy seabed at 28 metres. “Ok Dan what now?” I’m thinking.

We lie still on a carpet of sand. I notice a far distant black smudge move! The smudge was very slowly moving toward us, we froze, transfixed at what we were seeing —–well at least I was! There she/he (let’s say ‘she’— too beautiful to be a male) was, a magnificent fat grouper. I slowly lifted my camera, would she keep heading our way?

Then I got the feeling she was thinking, ‘divers visiting again, right in the middle of my dinner time. Oh well seeing I’ve successfully extracted them from the wreck I think I’ll meander back to the ship’s dinner table’. Slowly the black smudge vaporized in the distance—she was gone. Did I get the picture?

To dive the ex-HMAS Brisbane was always on my bucket list, ever since her scuttling in 2005 just 5km off the sun soaked beaches of Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Sunreef which is nestled in the heart of stunning Mooloolaba, run daily trips to the Brisbane where they have exclusive use of the two mid-ship moorings.

I love wreck diving and purpose sunk ships are a true delight to dive.

They usually lie in easily accessible waters and at a depth that allows access for the novice and experienced diver alike. Somehow whatever man manufactures always takes on a meaningful life that it could never achieve on terra firma!

The Brisbane is FULL of life which our friendly grouper’s tummy knows oh so well!

As you wind your way through the ships interior you are surrounded by a blanket of glass and bait fish. In parts they are so thick you can barely see a couple of metres, amazing!

Where searchlight shafts of light penetrate the wreck it’s a feeding bonanza for kingfish as they dive-bomb the wreck sending the cloud of bait fish scattering into the darkness through a tactical ambush masterminded by the thoughtful snapper!

For some fishy reason, fish love hanging out around the rudder stern section of wrecks and the Brisbane is living proof of this love affair!

Wow, beautiful shimmering silver plates of scales bouncing back my strobe’s blast of sunlight. Who’s taken whose picture here?

Magnificent metre long jew fish roll their knowing eyes at me as I lie beneath the colourful mosaic ceiling of the stern section surrounded by schools of less curious red emperor and snapper. To be so close to a jewie is sheer joy. Gone is their fear of a spear ending their days, these divers only shoot with a camera. I could still sense their innate curious nature which has served them well to outsmart the hunting diver.

Destroyers have guns right? A dive on the Brisbane would not be complete without posing beside her main 5″ Gun or inspecting the gaping hole where the missile launcher would cleverly rotate and swivel locking onto to a distant target!

The ship’s interior is readily accessible PLUS she is perfectly upright so navigation is a doddle!

You can easily wander from section to section checking out such areas as the massive engine room, kitchen and even placing your wetsuit bottom on a toilet seat! It’s all there for you to explore! “Dan that grouper was something else, right?”

“Yeah Dave she was a goodie, you’ll have to return. Sometimes I’ve seen 12 of them hanging about off the bow!” “Dave did you hear the humpback?” “Yes I did Dan”.

“Great, can you imagine being on the wreck when a humpback comes in for a peek!”

Wow, that would be amazing. Dan even suggests if you’re lucky you could be joined by manta rays, grey nurse sharks, eagle rays and turtles during a dive!

You gotta love shipwrecks and the Brisbane is one of the best!

I’m definitely going back—–just can’t wait to get under the stern with the jew fish and friends plus perfecting my photography in the engine room!

Dan Hart, owner of Sunreef Mooloolaba’s parting words were, “2Ezy Dave” the catch cry for all this team of diving professionals. Love it!


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