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 Montague Island/Lady Darling

17-18 November 2018 

Coordinator: Ray Vran 

17/18 (maybe 19?) November 2018 Montague Island / Lady Darling Wreck

I may need to cap diver numbers subject to boat drivers and boat towers.

At this stage, I expect to be arriving at the campground Friday afternoon, leaving the late afternoon on Sunday, but if there is demand I am happy to stay for Monday as well.

We will be camping at Mystery Bay and launching across the beach at Mystery Bay.

Lady Darling

The focus of this trip will diving the Lady Darling (subject to getting a permit in time), followed by diving Montague Island. Please note that the Lady Darling is not a dive for novices. I will try to run 1 dive each day, in the afternoon, that will cater for all levels of diving experience; if you are a relative novice, your diving will be around the more sheltered bays of Montague island - possibly with the seals - which is an awesome dive in its own right even for experienced divers.

Strong currents can affect our ability to dive on this wreck. More often than not we have not been able to dive the wreck because of excessively strong currents.

The 239-foot Lady Darling is an interesting, historic shipwreck located near Montague Island. The vessel went down in November 1880 (the same year Ned Kelly was hanged) en route from Newcastle to Melbourne and lies in a depth of 30m. For more info on the wreck and its history, I suggest you read the following:
http://maritime.heritage.nsw.gov.au/public/documents/LadyDarling_wreck%20inspection.pdf

Diving on the wreck requires a permit which I am obtaining on behalf of the club. The permit will be in my name on behalf of the club. However, any members wishing to dive the wreck must be comfortable with me providing your name to NSW Maritime for the purposes of the permit. It's obvious, but I'll say it anyway - please do not disturb or damage the wreck and do not remove any artefacts. All divers on the wreck must abide by the conditions set out on the permit, which I will discuss at the coast.

We are not permitted to anchor on the wreck itself as this could cause damage. So we will set up a shot line with buoy. So the boat will need to hold station under power while people are diving. Link to sketch map of wreck: http://scuba.club.anu.edu.au/sites/maps/LadyDarlingBW.jpg

Montague Island

Montague Island is one of the top 10 dive sites on the NSW coast. The attractions of Montague Island are seals and Grey Nurse sharks. Some 7 k off the coast, its rocky sides plunge into the surrounding waters producing some of the best underwater topography in our region (big cliffs!!). Montague is best known for a range of deeper dive sites - ideally, members should be happy to dive at depths over 25 meters (30+ is good) and be comfortable in a bit of current. There are shallower dives as well if people are looking for something more gentle. Generally the seals are accessible to novice divers and snorkellers. There is an abundance of fish; one of the reasons why 2 types of seal (the NZ and the Australian fur seal) have colonies on the northern and north western edges of the Island. Montague is also one of the declared Grey Nurse shark critical habitats, and is a known aggregation site for these magnificent creatures.

Airfills

Dive shop in Narooma will provide airfills.

Accommodation

Mystery Bay Camp site
This is my favourite campsite on the coast because it's primitive, there is lots of room, there are no defined camp sites, the trees and views of the ocean are awesome. What does primitive mean - well no hot showers, only cold (so I don't bother); there is water, and there are "long drop" toilets. Our usual location is at the northern end of the campground - check out the map - and the Flag "A" marker in the link below. (Which has lots of other useful info about diving, camping and nearest facilites. (The campground is dog friendly - members with dogs often bring them - if you are thinking of doing so just make sure you "Frontline" your dog for ticks - ticks are likely to be fatal for dogs if left untreated )

See club website: http://scuba.club.anu.edu.au/sites/montague.php

Gear Issue and Boat Preparation

Gear issue / boat prep is on Thursday 15 November at 5:30 pm at the gear shed, North Oval..

Safety

As always, if you've not dived with the Club before (and even if you have!), PLEASE read about how Club Trips work (http://scuba.club.anu.edu.au/trips/clubtrips.php) so that you will have a realistic expectation of what we can provide (lots) and what we expect from you (the same!). Particularly read the section on Safety and diving at the level you feel safe with (http://scuba.club.anu.edu.au/trips/clubtrips.php#safety), as well as the club's Safety Information and Dive Tips (http://scuba.club.anu.edu.au/safety/).

Signing Up

Please let me (ray.vran@gmail.com) know (please don't "reply all" and spam everyone):