Historic anchor discovery at Edithburgh, South Australia
On 5th of February this year, “Scuba Steve” Simmons and Steve ‘Robbo’ Robinson dived at Edithburgh, South Australia. They both went for a scooter dive from the jetty, as they regularly do. They tend to go looking for crabs or other sea life, or just exploring. They just head off together in a random direction. On this occasion, they chose to head north-east and, after a while, they fell over a large anchor.
Although SS had done many dives out to this area before, he had never seen this anchor. Neither had Robbo, nor had they even heard of it. On 2nd March, they both headed out to revisit the large anchor and get some photographic proof about it.
According to SS, “The anchor is massive and has only one fluke. I believe it was made like this as it is a mooring anchor. It would weigh at least 2 ton and (it is) approximately 3m x 2m. As far as I am aware, these …. are the first photos ever taken of this anchor in its current location. We believe, given its location, the ships would hang off of this waiting for their turn to move in to be loaded, or to unload, at the jetty.”
SS went on to say, “I think there is potential to promote this as another dive for divers to visit this anchor as an alternative or second dive after diving the jetty. The anchor is situated only a couple of hundred metres out from the pool! ….. We will also contact the local museum as soon as we can.”
He later added, “I’m considering whether we should put a buoy on it, but I’m concerned that boaties would use it as a mooring, which may cause damage to the marine life on it. The transits we are using are the very northern point of the blue wall of the pool and the first shed on the jetty.
When I told SS just how envious I was of Robbo & him, he told me, “I know what you mean. I’ve been diving more than 30 years, I have over 1500 logged dives and I’ve dived in many different places in the world. In fact, I just came back from Raja Ampat and this is right up there as one of the best things I’ve ever done diving. What makes it more remarkable is that I’ve probably done more than 300 dives around Edithburgh and this was right under my nose and only a couple of hundred metres from thousands of other dives done at the jetty. Amazing!”
SS has posted a couple of short videos of the anchor on Google Drive as follows: –
Steve Simmons went back out to the anchor on 10th March and he is confident that he could find her whenever he wants to now.
He thinks that the top fluke has been cut off, definitely not bent over (maybe made that way??).
He’s told the progress committee of Edithburgh about it. They are very excited about it, not for historic value but for use as a new dive site. They have asked Steve to place a guide line from a sea pool pylon to the anchor, which he is happy to do. It will then be marketed as a dive in the local newsletter and possibly the Country Times.
Steve says that there are no obvious distinguishing marks on it. It’s around 3m for the cross bar, 4m for the spine and approx. 1.8 m for the single fluke, which sits around 1.2 m off the bottom.
The local rumour is that a fish man in the 70s dropped it there. A region ship wreck expert believes it’s been placed as a mooring anchor and suggested it could hold a boat of 2000 ton. He suggested that Steve looks for another in line with it to the north as they often placed mooring anchors about 200m apart and held the ship in between them.
Mark Staniforth, Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University reported as follows: –
Hi Steve, I saw that article. It is a mooring anchor and probably dates to the late 19th century or early 20th century from the time when larger vessels needed to moor at Edithburgh. The suggestion In the article that there may be a second mooring anchor may be worth checking out. Makes a good dive site just don’t let anyone raise it…. Regards, Mark.“
Many thanks to both Steve Simmons and Steve Robinson for sharing their great find with me (Steve Reynolds). Many thanks also to Mark Staniforth, PhD. FSA. M.ICOMOS, Adjunct Associate Professor, Flinders University for his input. Get down to Edithburgh and check out this latest discovery.
(As told to Steve Reynolds by Steve Simmons. All photos and videos courtesy of Steve Simmons
Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.