Divers: Chris, George, Karl, Ben, Youri & Mark
Sufface support: Push, Glen & Luke
The Cumberland was sunk on 6th July 1917, on a voyage to the UK, when in a convoy travelling south around Gabo Island she struck a mine laid by the notorious German raider Wolf. As one of the very first ships sunk in Australian waters by enemy action, the Cumberland became the subject of much discussion and controversy, with the Australian Government blaming the sinking on saboteurs working on the docks of Australia’s northern states.
Southern Ocean Exploration (in conjunction with the Sydney Project) found the Cumberland in 2003.
After several months of planning, a team of Aquability technical divers drove to Eden to dive the Cumberland. With the wreck being 25 mile from port, no local dive boat is capable of this trip, so we chartered a commercial fishing boat. Departing the Eden dock at 6.00am we were not to return until 6.00pm that evening, it took one hour to get all 6 divers into the water and two hours to them out of the water. The depth of the Cumberland is 100m, for a 25 minute bottom time we spent 240 minutes in the water, with our last stop at 6 metres for 85 minutes. This may seem like an unbelievably long time but believe me the dive was well worth the effort. The equipment and logistics required to successfully complete a dive like this takes a lot of effort on everyones part. We are taking cameras, chart plotters, food & drink, spare parts, our normal dive gear and also each diver carries 6 tanks to ensure they have enough gas to decompress so there is a lot of tanks to handle. All of this equipment needs to be transported and accounted for.
One thing is for sure, we all will looking forward to our next opportunity to dive the Cumberland again.