This is a shallow site and the wrecks have partly collapsed but there is still recognisable structure.
- 1 Ammo barges: S34°11.408’ E018°26.985’
- 317° magnetic to the first corner of the harbour wall (from the shore)
- 268° magnetic to the Martello Tower
- 250° magnetic to the near corner of the IMT building
- 222° magnetic from Nimrod Rock (submerged, unlikely to break in diveable conditions)
- 146° magnetic to Noah's Ark
About 100m east of Phoenix shoal About 500m from the beach at IMT
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. The site is entirely inside the Boulders Restricted Zone.
The name "Ammunition Barges" is a description of the two small wrecks that make up the dive site.
Maximum depth is about 10 m. and the top of the wreckage is about 8 m. Average depth is likely to be about 9m.
Visibility is usually not very good in this area. Expect 3 to 6 m on a good day, though it can be better or worse.
The bottom in this area is flat sand with a few low flat outcrops of granite reef. There are two small (about 20 m long) barge wrecks right next to each other at one end, and diverging at a small angle. The wrecks are steel, and have largely broken up. There are some sections of hull side plating and frames still standing, but the ends have collapsed.
Geology: Sand and occasional low outcrops of Pre-Cambrian granite of the Peninsula pluton.
A shallow dive, in a reasonably protected area from south west swell, but quite exposed to the north-wester, which may raise a bit of a chop and make it difficult to find the wreck, though unlikely to cause much surge. The north-wester can cause a current that sets east.
The site is moderately exposed to wind and waves from the south east, Which will usually reduce visibility.
The site is usually at it's best in winter but there are also occasional opportunities in other seasons
Parking is adequate and tarred (since the aerial photo). The parking area is used by tour buses, use the smaller marked bays.
Shore Dive: Turn off the main road at the IMT sign. Park behind the IMT building. Walk through the gate to the right of the IMT main gates and over the dunes to the beach. The water is shallow to the left near the building and there is some dense kelp around the boulders.
It is about a 500 m swim on a bearing of roughly 071° magnetic from the corner of the beach nearest IMT. There are patches of heavy kelp on the inshore reef, and several rocks which either reach the surface or near enough to obstruct a diver, so this will not be a good underwater swim on a fixed bearing. If you can see white water at Nimrod rock you can try swimming out to it, then diving and swimming about 130 m on bearing 138° magnetic, but there are other rocks at Phoenix shoal which may also break.
The most likely way to find the wrecks from a shore dive is to swim out on the surface and get a fix from the bearings given in the position section. Use at least three, preferably all. to compensate for errors.
The bottom is mostly sand, so once you are roughly in position, the wrecks may be visible from the surface as a dark patch.
Lots of Red chested cucumbers and Stephens' codium.
Various sea cucumbers
White edged nudibranchs
Sponges at the ammunition barge
Red sea cucumbers and a sea squirt at the ammunition barge
Two small wrecks of ammunition barges, and a depth charge mortar is also reported.
The barges are largely rusted away, leaving the frames
Wide angle lens using ambient light may capture the mood of the site. Otherwise macro photography of the somewhat limited range of marine life.
The site is shallow and compact. you can explore it all on one dive.
No site specific hazards have been reported.
No special skills are required. The site is suitable for novice divers and for snorkelling.
No special equipment recommended.
Other regional dive sites: