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Diversity of Fish and Marine Life on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

Cuttlefish, sponges, fish, ascidians, bryozoans, molluscs and algae have all been recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide in the 20 months since it was sunk on the 13th April 2011. Monitoring being conducted by Worley Parsons and Cardno Ecology Lab, on behalf of the NSW Government, has occurred on 4 occasions, with another 4 monitoring events to occur in the next 12 months.

The government monitoring has detected overall 32 species of fish, with a maximum of 19 fish species at a single monitoring event. Additionally, information gleaned from the internet, and personal observations have detected an additional 15 fish species, bringing the total fish diversity of the ex-HMAS Adelaide to 47 species so far. Additionally, a Blind Shark has been recorded resting under the ships bell.

HMAS Adelaide Fish Species – click image to see photos

Fish Species Detected on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

Acanthuridae
Pencil Surgeon Fish (Acanthurus dussumieri)¨
Pale Surgeonfish  (Acanthurus mata)¨

Aplodactylidae
Rock Cale (Aplodactylus lophodon)²

Aulopidae
Sergeant baker (Aulopus purpurrissatus)¹

Blenniidae
Horned Blenny (Parablennius intermedius)°
Sabretooth blenny (Petroscirtes lupus)¹

Carangidae
Yellowtail scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae)¹
Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi)¹

Chaetodontidae
Schooling bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes)¨¹
Gunther’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon guentheri)¨

Cheilodactylidae
Blue morwong (Nemadactylus douglasii)¹
Red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus)¹

Chironemidae
Kelpfish (Chironemus marmoratus)°

Cirrhitidae
Blotched Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys aprinus)°

Dinolestidae
Longfin pike (Dinolestes leweni)¹

Enoplosidae
Old wife (Enoplosus armatus)¹

Ephippidae
Batfish (Platax sp.)¹

Fistulariidae
Smooth Flutemouth (Fistularia commersonii)¨

Kyphosidae
Silver drummer (Kyphosus sydneyanus)¹

Labridae
Eastern blue groper (Achoerodus viridis)¹
Brown spotted wrasse (Notolabrus parilus)¹
Crimson banded wrasse (Notolabrus gymnogenis)¹

Latrididae
Bastard trumpeter (Latridopsis forsteri)¹

Lutjanidae
Silver trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)¹

Microcanthidae
Mado (Atypicthys strigatus)¹
Stripey (Microcanthus strigatus)¹

Monacanthidae
Chinaman leatherjacket (Nelusetta ayraudi)¹
Yellowfin leatherjacket (Meuschenia trachylepis)¹
Unidentified leatherjacket (Meuschenia sp.)¹
Sixspine Leatherjacket (Meuschenia freycineti)²
Mosaic Leatherjacket (Eubalichthys mosaicus)²

Moridae
Beardie – Lotella rhacina²

Mullidae
Blackspot goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus)¹

Platycephalidae
Dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)¹

Plesiopidae
Eastern Hulafish (Trachinops taeniatus)²

Plotosidae
Estuary Catfish – Cnidoglanis macrocephalus

Pomacentridae
White ear (Parma microlepis)¹
Girdled scalyfin (Parma unifasciata)¹

Scorpaenidae
Eastern fortesque (Centropogon australis)¹
Red rock cod (Scorpaena cardinalis)¹

Scorpididae
Silver sweep (Scorpis lineolata)¹

Serranidae
Half-banded sea perch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi)¹

Sparidae
Silver Bream (Acanthopagrus australis)²
Snapper (Pagrus auratus)¹
Tarwhine (Rhabdosargus sarba)¹

Synanceiidae
Synanceia sp.²

Tetraodonitdae
Three-bar porcupinefish (Dicotlichthys punctulatus)¹

Sharks and Rays

Brachaeluridae
Blind Shark (Brachaelurus waddi)°

Non-fish species recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

One of the most spectacular species found on the ex-HMAS Adelaide is the Giant Cuttlefish which the largest cuttlefish in the world. Their colour varies from yellow, through to deep purple and I have seen one that was over 500mm long.

Adelaide Cuttlefish 15-4-12

Giant Cuttlefish on the ex-HMAS Adelaide by Matt Dowse, Flickr

I saw a lone Gloomy Octopus in the cut-off sections one of the masts and there are lots of yellow and purple Magnificent Botrylloides along the deck handrails and main mast struts.

Gloomy Octopus

Gloomy Octopus, by Richard Ling, Flickr

Molluscs
Giant Cuttlefish (Sepia apama)²³
Gloomy Octopus (Octopus tetricus)˜

Crustaceans
Hinge-back Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes serratus)°

Bryozoans
Hornea foliacea¹
Biflustra perfragilis¹

Ascidians
Magnificent Ascidian (Botrylloides magnicoecum)¹
Botrylloides leachi¹
Herdmania momus¹

Anemones & Corals
Anthothoe albocincta – White Striped Anemone¹

Algae
Ecklonia radiata – Common seaweed¹

Marine life not yet recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

There is a large variety of marine life yet to be recorded and/or to inhabit the Ex-HMAS Adelaide. The official government monitoring and internet sources have yet to record the following groups of animals as occurring on the ex-HMAS Adelaide:

Sea spiders
Non-bony fishes:  Sharks and Rays
Anglerfishes
Gobies
Seahorses, Sea dragons and pipefish
Surgeonfishes
Reptiles:  Sea snakes and turtles
Moray eels
Starfish and Urchins
Flatworms
Nudibranchs and Cowries
and, Worms.

Although there have been sponges recorded in the government reports, a lot more work has to be done to identify these organisms to the species level.

However, I’m sure within the diving community there are many who have recorded other species occurring on the ex-HMAS Adelaide that I have not listed and I’d really like to add to the above list. If you would like to contribute to the list please contact me.

 

Sources
¹ Cardno – Reef Community Monitoring Report, August 2012
² YouTube Videos – DukeCBR600, Jo Edney and Graeme Lehman, John Marshall, Martyn Weber, shadycontrast
Rob Anthony
³ Flickr – MattD71, Richard Ling
˜ Personal Observation
° Websites
¨ Facebook
Muddy Puddle Diver (Scott Hunt – an excellent website for Central Coast marine life)
Matt Dowse – excellent photographer and winner of the ex-HMAS Adelaide photographic competition
Thierry Rakotoarivelo – excellent marine life photos
NSW Fishes – Information about many commercial and recreational fish in NSW
GFCAttacks YouTube Video – Great video showing the marine life (particularly of the Ascidians Herdmania momus) of the ex-HMAS Adelaide 12 months post scuttling.
Dive Buzz – great photos of the marine life of the ex-HMAS Adelaide taken by Howard Womersley

 

Marine Life on the ex-HMAS Adelaide has developed

The ex HMAS Adelaide was sunk 18 months ago off Avoca Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast and the marine life has started to develop on and around the dive wreck.

Matt Dowse, a local diver, has taken some excellent photos of the marine life on the ship.

This is what the bow of the ship looked like 10 weeks post-sinking and marine life has just started to form.

Marine Life on the bow of the ex_HMAS Adelaide 10 weeks post-sinking. Courtesy Matt Dowse Flickr

Matt has taken another photo of the bow, in February 2012 (10 months post sinking) and the bow has developed a significant amount of growth and marine life.

ex HMAS Adelaide Bow on 27-2-12

Marine Life on the bow of the ex_HMAS Adelaide 10 months post-sinking. Courtesy Matt Dowse Flickr

Many species of fish have been seen on the sunk ex-HMAS Adelaide, while according to Tony Diaz of Pro-dive at Killarney Vale, seals and even whales have been seen checking out the dive wreck.

Adelaide Cuttlefish 15-4-12

Giant Cuttlefish on the deck of the ex-HMAS Adelaide, 12 months post sinking. Photo courtesy Matt Dowse Flickr

Friends of mine, Jo Edney and Graeme Lehman dived the ex-HMAS Adelaide 17 months post sinking and took the following video, which includes images of the marine life.

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre at Terrigal recently hosted a photographic competition. Hopefully I’ll be able to update you with the results soon.

ex-HMAS Adelaide Photographic competition flyer

 

Click on image to see more ex-HMAS Adelaide marine life photographs

ex-HMAS Adelaide took 90 seconds to sink at Avoca Beach becoming a new dive site for the Central Coast and Sydney

Ex-HMAS Adelaide waiting to be sunk off Avoca Beach

The last sunrise the ex-HMAS Adelaide will see while afloat at Avoca Beach Photo Courtesy of Ian (Beetwo77) Flickr

The crows has had gathered at Avoca Beach and North Avoca Beach to watch the sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide which will be come a scuba dive wreck. People lines the clifftops, they were on the top of buildings and even on the top of the big blue water tower above Terrigal Beach. View full article »

Recent Photographs released show a wide variety of areas to be explored by scuba divers on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

The official website of the ex-HMAS Adelaide shows new photo galleries of areas where divers can access the dive wreck. One of the main dive entrances will be from the Forecastle into the missile magazine area.

Forecastle of the ex-HMAS Adelaide dive wreck prepared for scuba diving

Forecastle of the ex-HMAS Adelaide dive wreck prepared for scuba diving

Lots of space in the old missile storage area for diving and marine life on the ex-HMAS Adelaide.

Missile Space ready for scuba diving on the ex-HMAS Adelaid

Missile Space ready for scuba diving on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

The gas turbine air space area accessed from Deck 1 also has lots of room for divers and should attract lots of sea life also.

Gas turbine air space on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

Gas turbine air space on the ex-HMAS Adelaide suitable for scuba diving

The starboard hangar on the ex-HMAS Adelaide also has lots of space for scuba diving.

Starboard Hangar on the ex-HMAS Adelaide ready fir scuba diving

Starboard Hangar on the ex-HMAS Adelaide ready for scuba diving

Warning Signs are up for the Sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide, but is it too late?

Clearway, road closed are all the go in Avoca Beach for the sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide as a scuba dive wreck. The local paper, the Central Coast Express Advocate has a headline story about the sinking.

ex-HMAS Adelaide Dive Dive Dive

But it appears that it is all too late. Video footage has confirmed that the ex-HMAS Adelaide has already been sunk, 5 days ahead of time.

Well, almost!

It appears that is hasn’t been sunk yet, and there are lots of clearway signs at Kincumber, North Avoca and Avoca Beach just ready for the sinking to make way for the dive wreck.

ex-HMAS adelaide Clearway sign

Roads will be closed early at Avoca Beach, if you want to get a good car parking space, be there before 1:00am.

Road Closed for HMAS Adelaide Sinking

Looks as though security around the ship will be pretty tight, no access without official authorisation within 1km of the sinking site. I didn’t realise the shark net was so close to the beach and it looks as though it is almost 2.5km long. Have whales ever been caught in this net?

Sinking map - closeup

The interest in the sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide as a dive wreck has reached far and wide. Even Ship Spotters are interested.

Shipspotting ex-HMAS Adelaide
The Tourist companies are well and truly getting ready and there is a myriad of choice. Bizarre photo of a ship though!

FantaSea Cruisers ex-HMAS Adelaide

But the No Ship group have not given up, as this video shows.

But the debate is still raging, check out this story on the website of the local newspaper

Express Advocate article April 5 2011

Preparations are beginning for the sinking of ex-HMAS Adelaide on the Central Coast

Gosford City Council notices today show a big article featuring the sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide at Avoca Beach, proposed for Wednesday 13th April 2011.

Gosford City Council, ex-HMAS Adelaide sinking notice in the Express Advocate 23rd March 2011

A lot of people are hoping this will happen, while there are also a lot of people hoping it will not. The proposed sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide at Avoca Beach has polarised the Central Coast Community.

Pro-Sinking Support View full article »

The Marine Life of the ex-HMAS Adelaide, 5 years post sinking.

The marine life of the ex-HMAS Adelaide is expected to develop quickly once the ship is sunk off Avoca Beach, near Terrigal Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast. The ex-HMAS Adelaide will become a haven for recreational scuba divers who will be able to experience the various stages of marine life development on the wreck.

The ex-HMAS Brisbane was sunk off the Sunshine Coast on the 31st July 2005 and recent videos by the acclaimed underwater photographer Ian Banks has demonstrated that the wreck has an incredible array of marine life and in particular soft coral. Soft coral like this one below are likely to colonise the wreck of the ex-HMAS Adelaide.

Southern Soft Coral

Southern Soft Coral (Dendronephthya australis). Shelly Beach, Manly, NSW courtesy R. Ling flickr

Ian Banks has taken some incredible footage of the marine life of the ex-HMAS Brisbane View full article »

The ex-HMAS Adelaide is to be scuttled off Avoca Beach and will become a dive wreck attracting a multitude of marine life and will thrill divers from around the world.

HMAS Adelaide

Courtesy of phiddy79 on Flickr

The ex-HMAS Adelaide served in the bay of Bengal in 2007 with ship from the United States, India, Japan and Singapore. View full article »

Marine Life attached to the hull when it is sunk

When the ex-HMAS Adelaide is sunk off Avoca Beach on the NSW Central Coast it is likely to have lots of marine life attached to the hull already which will be of great interest to people wanting to dive the HMAS Adelaide. The ship was in dry dock in September 2008.

hmas-adelaide-dry-dock-sept-2008-6

HMAS Adelaide in dry dock being prepared or sinking. Photo Courtesy Bob Diaz, Pro-dive Central Coast

The hull of the HMAS Adelaide was clean at this time when preparation for sinking was being undertaken. View full article »

Potential sharks that may occur at the scuba diving wreck of the ex-HMAS Adelaide

eye of angelshark

Eye of angelshark by doug.deep Flickr

Will the ex-HMAS Adelaide when scuttled off Avoca Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast as a recreational scuba diving wreck attract sharks? Well sharks already occur within the area, View full article »

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