Diving the 125 year old shipwreck of the Star of Greece, one of South Australias best known tragedies.
After doing some research on the internet about the exact location of this shipwreck, the depth and the best way to get there, it was finally time to dive this beautiful spot! The conditions were incredible on this day with almost no winds, no clouds, the sun high in the sky and temperatures in the high twenties, which was perfect for this site.
To get to this site you can simple follow directions to “Star of Greece Road” in Port Willunga and it will take you straight to Port Willunga Beach. If there is room, park as close to the beach as possible in the sandy carpark (if you look at the beach it’s all the way on the right), as this will make the walk to the water a lot easier. After assembling the gear, we walked to the water’s edge in a straight line to dive the reef first before heading over to the shipwreck. The reef itself is already a beautiful dive, which sort of reminded us of the Aldinga Pinnacles, but without the pinnacles. There is plenty to see with big spider crabs, different nudibranchs (we found two very uncommon ones), large schools of fish and some other good stuff. The outside of the reef drops off to about 7 – 8 metres (at low tide).
We followed the outside of the reef all the way north, until we reached the end of the reef and the bottom was just sandy. We had looked at Google Maps and knew that we had to cross the sand to get to the shipwreck, which lies in about 3-5 metres of water. As soon as we hit the sand, we went east to get a little bit closer to the beach, until we were in about 4 metres of water and headed straight north. After diving over the sand for just under 5 minutes we already reached saw the shipwreck and were surprised by the amount of life on it! Big schools of fish led the way and there were fish and crabs everywhere!
We had already dived on the reef for over 40 minutes, so we looked around the wreck site for about 20 minutes before heading back to shore. The wreck is very spread out on the bottom, but you can clearly see that this must have been a massive ship when it sank here in 1888. A piece of one of its three masts is still sticking out at low tide (you need to have good eyes though, as it only sticks out about 40 centimetres above the waterline) and right next to this spot is a marker with information about the wreck. Historians seem to disagree on the number of lives that have been lost in this tragedy, but they agree that it was at least 18 – even though the wreck site is only a 5 minute swim from shore. It must have been one hell of storm that sank this ship and drowned all these people!
After you’ve had enough of exploring the wreck (in our opinion you can easily do two dives on it if you combine them with the reef), you can make your way back in by heading south. Once you find the reef again, simply keep on the left (east) side of it to stay on the inside and follow it all the way to end. Once you’re right at the end of it, head east to get back to your starting point, or if you run low on air earlier, head south east to diagonally make your way back to your starting point.
We had an awesome 80 minute dive on the reef and the wreck and we’ll definitely be back for more soon! Hopefully we can pick a day with the same kind of conditions like we had on this dive, as it simply doesn’t get much better than this!