Scuba Diving in Songvaar, Wardang Island, South Australia Australia

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Wardang Island, also known as Wauraltee Island, is a small island of 20 km²/7.7 mi² in the Spencer Gulf, at 10 km/6 mi in the northwestern coast of Port Victoria on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia.

The island serves as a natural breakwater, protecting the former grain port of Port Victoria from ocean currents. The waters around Wardang are popular with recreational divers because of the opportunities for wreck diving. The Songvaar wreck represents one of the eight wrecks identified in the spot. The Songvaar is a 26 m/85 ft long 3-masted iron sailing vessel, built in 1884 and located at 9 m/29 ft below sea surface.

April 14th 1912 is best known for the sinking of the Titanic, however on the same day this Norwegian ship didn’t escape Titanic’s similar destiny. While anchoring between Point Pearce and Wardang Island,  the Songvaar’s captain left the ship, fully loaded with grain, for official business in Adelaide. On board, his chief mate saw dark clouds on the horizon and dropped a second anchor in preparation for a storm.

 The storm blew out, the tide dropped and the Songvaar sat onto the second anchor, which pierced the hull. With decks awash and the wheat swelling, the Songvaar settled “peacefully and quietly on the bottom” (Chronicle, April 20 1912) standing fully upright. Several salvage attempts have failed and the vessel which had become a hazard to shipping was later blown up.

The Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail includes a waterproof booklet for underwater use, plaques adjacent to each of the eight shipwrecks and six land-based interpretive signs located at Port Victoria. Check out the Maritime Museum for artifacts of some early dives.