Henry Bolte

Location: Eden
State: NSW
Date Sank: 1987
Vessel Type: Tug
Construction Material: Steel
Max Depth: 24mtrs
Average Depth: 15mtrs
Average Visibility: 10mtrs
Diver Qualification: Advanced
Access Type: BOAT
Directions: Use one of the charters from Eden Divers or Merimbula Divers Lodge. Site is marked with a buoy but is probably best found using local knowledge from the charter operators.
Wreck Description: Below is a description of the dive site when I dived it in September 1999. This time of year is prone to plankton / krill in the water affecting visibilty. Dive the "Tasman Hauler" first as that allows you to orientate yourself on this wreck as it is quite broken up and is collapsed on one side. This is taken from a newletter article I wrote for our club after diving both sites of "the tugs".

The Henry Bolte

Sitting in 24m of water, the superstructure has collapsed to one side. This wreck has attracted a large variety of schooling fish and allows for longer dives, which makes it perfect for a first wreck dive. The wreck is also broken up because being closer to shore than the Hauler it is subject to stronger wave action and is quite deteriorated compared to the "Hauler". Both wrecks were scuttled in 1987.

Another quick trip across the bay and we are back on to another mooring buoy marking the site of the Henry Bolte, about 500 metres further towards shore than the Tasman Hauler lays. We are the only ones making this dive, there was an advanced training group from Canberra on the previous dive, so the boat, and the site, is far less crowded this time. Ross gives us a detailed brief and then it's over the side, big OK and swim to the shot line. The murk in the water is even worse at this site and it seems to take ages before we glimpse an outline.

The mooring is tied to the bow section with the tug laying on it's port side. Much of the superstructure, apart from the wheelhouse, has been blown away due to the demolition charges or deterioration of the wreck. According to Ross, the increased action of the waves by the site being closer to shore has also caused the vessel to break up even more. It is good to have dived the Tasman Hauler first as that allows you to orient yourself as you recognise various parts and sections passing beneath you. The bowels of the tug are really laid out for you to inspect closely with the engine room pretty well demolished.

Obviously the charges broke the tugs back as the propeller shaft and stern part of the hull is twisted to port from the other sections. The best part of this dive site is the varied fish life and the size of some of the fish. Some species we had no hope of recognising as you just do not get them in Port Phillip Bay. Schools of Bulleyes crowded in every opening of the tug peering out at the divers and the sheer numbers and diversity of fish is mind blowing.