A giant starfish, an underwater sculpture and the Omeo shipwreck are some of the delights in store for divers and snorkellers at WA's Coogee Maritime Trail.
The new dive and snorkel trail will be launched at The Salty Fest on February 26 at the foreshore reserve on the corner of Socrates Parade and Napoleon Parade, North Coogee from 10am-2pm.
The $78,000 project begins at the northern end of Coogee Beach accessed via the beach access path from Perlinte View, just south of Port Coogee, and about 17km south of Fremantle.
The artificial reef sits 25m off shore, is 230m long, ranges in depth from 2-8m and has 33 reef modules.
Ranging in height from 1m-5m tall, the modules have been designed to create a complex reef with crypt spaces that will support fish, crays and molluscs. A tall reef temple, which can be swum though and weighs in at 23 tonnes, will attract larger species.
The dive trail will also feature two sculptures – a partially submerged Australian sea lion sculpture which can be viewed from land, and a giant 6m-wide sea star.
Underwater plinths with wayfinding plaques providing information on the shipwreck and local marine life will be installed for divers and snorkellers next month.
The trail begins at the Omeo shipwreck, which began life as an iron steamship built in 1858 in Newcastle in England before it was converted to a sailing ship.
The ship had a colourful history under many guises. It was used to lay the Bass Strait telegraph cable, and the Overland Telegraph linking Australia to Britain via Singapore. It traded between Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand, famously colliding with and wrecking the Swan Spit pile lighthouse in Port Phillip in 1881. After that it was relegated to becoming a coal hulk.
It also had several near misses, including one at Hamelin Bay while unloading a cargo of jarrah. Omeo ended its days in Fremantle parting cables before being driven ashore and wrecked in 1905.
Top picture by Nick Sargeant.
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