After the success of our dive/road trip south from Brisbane down to Tasmania, Laura and I decided that we should really just complete the east coast and drove up to northern Queensland. The original plan was to drive up to Ayr, just south of Townsville, where with another friend we would finally get to dive the wreck of the Yongala. We managed this part and did four dives there with the excellent Yongala Dive folk. They were a really brilliant bunch and it was handy that they had dorm style accommodation on site. It was after this, actually as we were driving out of Ayr on the road south, that our well laid plans hit a bump. Only a couple of days before our trip was due to depart, the liveaboard we had booked around the southern Great Barrier Reef and Lady Musgrave island was cancelled due to insufficient numbers. We pulled over into a car park and spent the next few hours manically working out an alternative. Luckily we managed to get a last minute rate with Mike Ball to the Coral Sea. This required some airline rejigging for our friend and sadly it meant that another friend wasn’t able to join us as planned. Anyway, we drove the 450 km up to Cairns and spent 4 nights on the Spoilsport.
On the way back down to Brisbane from Cairns, which was an epic journey and a half, we decided to stop off in Mooloolaba and dive the wreck of the HMAS Brisbane with Sun Reef. I hadn’t been there since it had originally been sunk but it was definitely a much more interesting dive now than it had been.
Finally, as a slight addition to the diving in September 2011 I flew down to Sydney to try again in finding the Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse (Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri). Fortuitously I had been contacted by Nick Missenden from Sydney Dive Academy who loves these little syngnathids and offered his eagle eyes and knowledge to help us track one down. Thank goodness he did and I’m 100% sure we would never have found one without him! So after a couple of dives at Bare Island with Nick, we’d been lucky enough to see the pipehorse and the beautiful sponge gardens of the east of the island. The final critter on our southern road trip had been ticked off, so to speak!
Check out images from our northern road trip: