What you are likely to see…

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Chevron Barracuda
(Sphyraena putnamiae)

This tropical fish is a member of the family Sphyraenidae which grow to approximately 90 cm long. Barracudas (or’Sea-pikes’) are elongate fishes with a long cylindrical body, pointed snout and protruding lower jaw. Their large mouths are equipped with long sharp edged teeth of unequal size.

They have a silver coloured body with about 20 chevron shaped black bars along the entire body and the caudal fin is dusky with a black margin.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Most likely between the safety stops at 5-10 metres or cruising along the top of the wreck at 15 metres.

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Banded Sea Snake
(Laticauda colubrina)

Sea snakes are related to Cobras, although they have adapted to a life in water and can be clumsy when brought ashore. They cannot stay submerged for longer periods so are often close to the surface to breathe.

Generally less than 6 feet long, with relatively small heads  compared to other snakes which are compressed to offer as little resistance to moving in water as possible. Their venom is generally more toxic than land snakes, however, their fangs are short so they are less efficient at penetrating human skin than terrestrial snakes.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Generally found feeding around the wreck or seen going to and from the surface to breath.

Queensland-Grouper-VW
Queensland Groper
(Epinephelus lanceolatus)

Giant Queensland gropers are one of the largest of all bony fishes, reaching up to 3 m length and about 600 kg. Juveniles have a large blotched, banded pattern, as adults they become mottled/spotted with evenly dark grey or brownish colour providing good camouflage for ambush hunting.  They have a rounded tail and can extend their mouth to create a strong suction, engulfing unsuspecting food (diver’s beware).

They have a curious nature and will often approach divers at close range, although not generally considered dangerous,they should be treated with caution.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Most likely found at a depth of 15 to 25 metres around the bow.(Ask us why are biggest resident grouper is called V.W.?)

Bull-Shark
Bull Shark
(Carcharhinus leucas)

Bull sharks get their name from their short, blunt snout, their pugnacious disposition and a tendency to head-butt their prey before attacking. They are medium-size sharks, with thick, stout bodies and long pectoral fins, grey on top and white below, their fins have dark tips, particularly on young bull sharks.

They are found cruising the shallow, warm waters of all the world’s oceans. Fast, agile predators, they will eat almost anything they see, including fish, dolphins, and even other sharks. Average life span in the wild:16 years, Size – 2.1 to 3.4 m, Weight 90 to 230 kg.

Location on the S.S Yongala – They generally cruise just out of view  20 to 30 metres out from the wreck. We have 3 resident bull sharks on the S.S.Yongala, best to look out from the wreck into the blue to have a chance at spotting them.

Green-Turtle
Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas)

A large, weighty turtle with a wide, smooth carapace or shell. It inhabits tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world. Unlike most sea turtles, adult green turtles are herbivorous, feeding on sea grasses and algae. Juvenile green turtles, however, will also eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish, and sponges.

It is named for the greenish colour of its skin not the color of its shell,  normally brown or olive depending on its habitat. Weighing up to 317 kgs they are among the largest sea turtles in the world. Their proportionally small head, which is non-retractable, extends from a heart-shaped carapace that measures up 1.5 meters.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Generally found feeding or sleeping around the wreck or going to/from the surface to breath. It is possible to see up to 6 or 7 turtles during a single dive.

Hawksbill-Turtle
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata)

Hawks bills get their name from their tapered heads, which end in a sharp point resembling a bird’s beak. Not particularly large compared with other sea turtles, hawks bills grow up to about 114 cm shell length and 68 kgs. While young, their carapace, or upper shell, is heart-shaped, and as they mature it elongates. Their strikingly colored carapace is serrated and has overlapping scutes, or thick bony plates.

A further distinctive feature is a pair of claws adorning each flipper. Male hawks bills have longer claws, thicker tails, and somewhat brighter coloring than females. Like many sea turtles, they are critically endangered due mostly to human impact. Hawks bill eggs are still eaten around the world despite and they are killed for their flesh and stunning shells, they are also threatened by accidental capture in fishing nets.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Generally seen feeding or sleeping around the wreck.

Loggerhead-Turtle
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
(Caretta caretta)

The largest of all hard-shelled turtles (leatherbacks are bigger but have soft shells) loggerheads have massive heads, strong jaws, and a reddish-brown shell, or carapace. Adult males reach nearly one meter in shell length and weigh about 113 kilograms, large specimens of more than 454 kilograms have been found.

They are primarily carnivores, munching jellyfish, conchs, crabs, and even fish, but will eat seaweed and sargassum occasionally. Sea turtles can move through the water at speeds of up to 24 km per hour.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Feeding or sleeping around the wreck or going to/from the surface to breath.

Humpback Whale
(Megaptera novaeangliae)

Humpback whales are known for their songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises are quite complex and often continue for hours on end. Scientists are studying these sounds to decipher their meaning. It is most likely that humpbacks sing to communicate with others and to attract potential mates. Humpbacks migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.

Location on the S.S Yongala – During June to September they can be seen/heard in the waters around the wreck. Lucky divers have even seen them underwater.

Spotted Eagle Ray
(Aetobatus narinari)

This ray can be identified by its dark dorsal surface covered in white spots or rings. Near the base of the ray’s relatively long tail, just behind the pelvic fins, are several venomous, barbed stingers. Spotted eagle rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans, and will sometimes dig with their snouts to look for food buried in the sand of the sea bed. These rays are commonly observed leaping out of the water. The spotted eagle ray is hunted by a wide variety of sharks.

Location on the S S Yongala: Cruising above and around the wreck, often in schools

Maori Wrasse on the Yongala
Maori (Napolean) Wrasse
(Cheilinus undulatus)

They have a hump on their head between their eyes (becoming larger with age), thick fleshy lips. Males can reach 2m in length and range in colours – bright electric blue to pale green or a dull blue/green while juveniles and females are red-orange above to white below. They prey primarily on crustaceans, molluscs, fish and echinoderms and also on toxic animals such as boxfish and crown of thorns starfish. Adults prefer to occupy more open habitats while juveniles tend to be more in dense branching corals.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Swimming alone or alongside the giant trevally, especially while hunting.  There are 3-4 on the Yongala.

Giant Trevally cruising
Giant Trevally
(Caranx Ignobilis)

Also known as Giant Kingfish they are a species of the jack family, distinguished by its steep head profile, strong tail scrutes and normally a silvery colour, the males may be black at maturity. Growing to a maximum size of 170cm weighing 80kgs, they inhibit estuaries, shallow bays (juveniles) to deeper reefs and as adults. A powerful predator it hunts individually and in schools with their diet mostly crustaceans, cephalopods and molluscs. Hunting strategies include sharks to ambush prey. They reproduce in warmer months and reach sexual maturity at around 3 years or approx 60cm in length.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Generally cruising around the wreck, often in schools when hunting

Spotted Eagle Ray on Yongala
Spotted Eagle Ray
(Aetobatus narinari)

This ray can be identified by its dark dorsal surface covered in white spots or rings. Near the base of the ray’s relatively long tail, just behind the pelvic fins, are several venomous, barbed stingers. Spotted eagle rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans, and will sometimes dig with their snouts to look for food buried in the sand of the sea bed. These rays are commonly observed leaping out of the water. The spotted eagle ray is hunted by a wide variety of sharks.

Location on the S S Yongala: Cruising above and around the wreck, often in schools

Moray Eel among the coral on the Yongala
Moray Eel
(Muraenidae)

Moray eels are from the family of cosmopolitan eels with approximately 200 species. The body is generally patterned and in some species, the inside of the mouth is also patterned. Their jaws are wide, framing a protruding snout and most possess large teeth used to tear flesh or grasp slippery prey items. Morays have poor vision and rely mostly on their acute sense of smell making distinguishing between fingers and held food difficult so the hand feeding of moray eels has been banned in some locations, including the Great Barrier Reef. Morays are carnivorous and feed primarily on other fish, cephalopods, molluscs, sea snakes, and crustaceans, groupers, barracudas, and sea snakes are among their few predators.

Location on the S.S Yongala – Usually hiding in amongst the coral along the hull.

Marble Ray resting on the seabed at the Yongala
Marble Ray or Ribbontail Ray
(Taenuira meyeni)

The size is the first thing you notice about this ray. It can be up to 3m in length and 1.7m wide and is round and flattened in shape and covered with dense dark spots. Rays are closely related to sharks and have skeletons made of cartilage and exposed gills on their belly. It is not aggressive but care should be taken on the spines on the long tail. . They feed on bottom fish and crustaceans using electro-receptors to locate their prey.

Location on the S.S Yongala – On or near the seabed although also often  cruising over the wreck often with other fish such as jacks swimming nearby.

Guitar Shark resting on the seabed
Guitar Shark

info coming soon………

 

 

Location on the S S Yongala: Cruising above and around the wreck, or resting on the seabed