Category: Diving the ex-HMAS Adelaide

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

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

Rock Cale (Aplodactylus lophodon)²

Sergeant baker (Aulopus purpurrissatus)¹

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

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

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

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

Kelpfish (Chironemus marmoratus)°

Blotched Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys aprinus)°

Longfin pike (Dinolestes leweni)¹

Old wife (Enoplosus armatus)¹

Batfish (Platax sp.)¹

Smooth Flutemouth (Fistularia commersonii)¨

Silver drummer (Kyphosus sydneyanus)¹

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

Bastard trumpeter (Latridopsis forsteri)¹

Silver trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)¹

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

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

Beardie – Lotella rhacina²

Blackspot goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus)¹

Dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)¹

Eastern Hulafish (Trachinops taeniatus)²

Estuary Catfish – Cnidoglanis macrocephalus

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

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

Silver sweep (Scorpis lineolata)¹

Half-banded sea perch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi)¹

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

Synanceia sp.²

Three-bar porcupinefish (Dicotlichthys punctulatus)¹

Sharks and Rays

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

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

Hinge-back Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes serratus)°

Hornea foliacea¹
Biflustra perfragilis¹

Magnificent Ascidian (Botrylloides magnicoecum)¹
Botrylloides leachi¹
Herdmania momus¹

Anemones & Corals
Anthothoe albocincta – White Striped Anemone¹

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
Seahorses, Sea dragons and pipefish
Reptiles:  Sea snakes and turtles
Moray eels
Starfish and Urchins
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.


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

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

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