How I became interested in shipwrecks

by Steve Reynolds

How on Earth did I become interested in shipwrecks when my main diving focus was marine life?

I see that as Editor of the Marine Life Society of South Australia’s monthly newsletter, I wrote a feature about shipwrecks for the June 1983 issue. I also note that we were planning to dive the wreck of the Norma the following month.

The July issue of the MLSSA newsletter discussed the wreck and our plans to dive there, including a map of the location of the wreck. The wreck of the Zanoni was also discussed, as follow-up to the June newsletter.

I wrote about the yacht Alfreda being wrecked at Brighton beach in our October 1983 newsletter. Our November 1983 newsletter reported that (the now late) Ian O’Donnell (& John McGovern) would speak about the wreck of the Zanoni at our November meeting.

Our December 1983 newsletter reported on Ian & John’s talk about the Zanoni

It was probably much later before I ever got to dive on a shipwreck site. We had never got to dive on the Norma back in 1983 due to rough surface conditions there. We had even discussed diving on the Zanoni that same year, but that never eventuated either.

I now recall enviously reading Geoff Mower’s report in 1980 about his dive on the Willyama wreck, so much so that I reprinted the article in a later newsletter.

The article was later published on our website as The Wreck of the Willyama

An anchor from the SS Willyama

(located at the Marion Bay Historical Centre)

(Photo taken by Steve Reynolds)

As reported in Marion Bay & the wreck of the SS Willyama, I never did get to dive on the wreck. I had hoped to change all that when I went to Marion Bay just after Easter one year and had planned to take my scuba gear with me. My plans all went awry on the evening before Good Friday when my doctor told me that I had a middle-ear infection and my sore ankle needed to be X-rayed and ultra-sounded. I wasn’t able to make such appointments until after Easter and I was justifiably devastated, having planned to do several dives over Easter and the following week which I was taking off of work.

It may have been just as well, however, since diving alone on the Willyama during less than ideal conditions would have been dangerous. I did, however, get to visit the site of the Willyama and also see several anchors in the area.

Marion Bay Historical Centre with anchors from the Willyama (left) & the Marion (rear)

(Photo taken by Steve Reynolds)

An anchor from the SS Marion located at the Marion Bay Historical Centre

(Photo taken by Steve Reynolds)

Perhaps this is when my interest in large anchors grew. I have not dived on too many wrecks over the years. Ones that I have dived on that come to mind are the Star of Greece, the Dredge, the Glenelg Barge, the Hobart and the Norma. I have, however, unsuccessfully tried to find others such as the Grecian and the Elizabeth Annie.

The Star of Greece wreck

(Photo taken by Steve Reynolds)

By Steve Reynolds

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.

One thought on “How I became interested in shipwrecks”
  1. Interesting, Steve. Looks like I’ve dived more S.A. wrecks than you even though I only dived them for the marine life they attract (!)

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