The Coombe Reserve

The Coombe Reserve is often a busy site with divers year round, but especially when the weather is poor and the ocean unsuitable. It is popular with hunter and gatherers looking for crabs and prawns, dive classes and recreational and tech divers, the Coombe offers something for most bubble makers, whether chasing wrecks, macro photography or dinner. We've listed the Coombe as two different areas; the Coombe Deep Wrecks and the Coombe Shallow Wrecks.

Like all diving in the river the Coombe experiences large amounts of boat traffic amongst the moorings, always dive with a flag and avoid surfacing mid dive. Should the need arise, a DSMB can be deployed or ascend up a mooring slowly being aware of boat traffic.

Coombe Deep Wrecks

The Coombe Deep Wrecks provide one of the best deep water shore dive options in Perth. Vis can vary from 30cm to 7 metres with 3-4 metres being the norm. Many times we've found the top fresher layer of the water column has almost no visibility and upon decent beneath around 4 metres, the visibility opens up as you enter the more saline tidal wedge. Generally if the top layer of water has very poor visibility it greatly effects the penetration of natural light on these sites and a torch is definitely recommended, you can at times have good vis at depth but no natural light to enjoy the sites.

 

The Coombe Deep wrecks make for a good all weather dive site and the wrecks are regularly used by recreational divers and tech divers as a practice area. Originally the wrecks were connected by lines making a trail, over the last two years local divers have slowly replaced the lines and created pole trails with PVC pipes driven into the mud marking the trail every 2-3 metres. The above map was completed over a few dives in May 2016, as far as we're aware the pole trails are still current. They do change though and without any notice as divers make adjustments or corrections. The only two changes we are aware of, is on the trail from the 21m Barge to the 19m Yacht - there is a pole trail mid way along and heading off to the east to an engine block. Also, there is now a trail heading north from the 19m Yacht running to the Motorboat 4 site.

Diving the Deep Wrecks - We created the map of the trail to be used as a guide for navigating, it is important to note that it isn't a "dive plan" given the depth and distances involved: trying to navigate the entire trail and also spending enough time to enjoy each wreck would be well beyond the limits for a single tank dive. We've listed the wrecks and their proximity to the nearest moorings in order for people to be able to drop from the moorings and know how to locate the trail, to know where on the trail they are joining and where they are in relation to the wrecks. From the south east of the 21m Barge, a pole trail connects to the Shallow Wrecks but runs for over 300 metres, it would only be advisable to use this route if carrying enough air with twin cylinders or re-breathers. It is however the safest route with regards to boat traffic if used without surfacing. We usually dive the wrecks by boat but it is seen to be popular with recreational divers to surface swim 275 metres at 340° from entry point 2 and descend down mooring 352 or 651. We usually prefer 651 as it is drops directly onto the 19m boat site which is central to the deep wrecks circuit. Or if boat traffic is an issue a surface swim along the shore line makes for a similar distance and the trail can be started from the 12 metre boat site that is located only a short distance from the protection of shoreline. If diving on single tanks it is usually best to only pick one or two wrecks to try and visit each dive. Always dive within your limits and training.

Wreck: Coombe - Mosman Boat

(12m Boat)

 

Position: S 32° 00.614'

               E 115° 46.410'

 

Nearest Mooring: 589

refer to map for directions from moorings

 

Entry Point: Coombe 2

 

Bearing at entry point:

         refer to Coombe directions above

Construction: Wood

 

Dimensions: 8 x 2.5 metres (site size)

 

Depth: 12 metres

The most broken up wreck connected to the Deep Wrecks Trail, the 12m Boat site consists of low scattered broken up wreckage not far from the shore. If surface swimming to the deep sites it can be a good idea to follow the shoreline away from boat traffic and descend onto the trail from this site. The wreck has been marked out by a pole trail, use the attached map of the area to plan a dive and ascertain where on the pole trail you are joining to make your way around.

Wreck: Coombe - Deep Boat

(19m Boat)

 

Position: S 32° 00.608'

               E 115° 46.451'

 

Nearest Mooring: 651

       refer to map for directions from moorings

 

Entry Point: Coombe 2

Bearing at entry point:

               refer to Coombe directions above

Construction: Wood

 

Dimensions: 14 x 7 metres

 

Depth: 19 metres

The 19 metre deep boat site sits directly under mooring 651 with a mooring anchor laying across the wreck, it is the easiest most central place to start a dive if intending to surface swim to the deep sites. The age of the wrecks are unknown but similar to the barge site they are most likely barges scuttled in deep water that perhaps once worked the Swan River in the early 20th Century. The wreck has been marked out by a pole trail, use the attached map of the area to plan a dive and ascertain where on the pole trail you are joining and to make your way around.

Wreck: Coombe - Deep Barge

(Mosman Bay Barge)

 

Position: S 32° 00.609'

               E 115° 46.486'

 

Nearest Mooring: 352

refer to map for directions from moorings

 

Entry Point: Coombe 2

 

Bearing at entry point:

         refer to Coombe directions above

Construction: Wood

 

Dimensions: 17 x 8 metres

 

Depth: 21 metres

The deepest wreck in the Swan River and the second largest, the unidentified barge sits at 21 metres in a hole in the deepest part of the river. First discovered by MAAWA divers in the 70s the site has become a popular deep water, all weather site with local divers. It has been marked out by a pole trail, use the attached map of the area to plan a dive and ascertain where on the pole trail you are joining to make your way around.

Wreck: Coombe - Yacht

(19 metre Yacht)

 

Position: S 32° 00.571'

               E 115° 46.455'

 

Nearest Mooring: 962/144

refer to map for directions from moorings

Entry Point: Coombe 2

 

Bearing at entry point:

          refer to Coombe directions above

Construction: Fibreglass

 

Dimensions: 9 x 2 metres

 

Depth: 19 metres

The yacht site lays around 50 metres north of the 19m boat site, it was the northern most wreck of the trail however the Mosman Bay motorboat 4 site has now been connected running north from the yacht. The 9 metre long sailboat sits upright, is made of fibreglass and has the mast and rigging collapsed to one side. The yacht is usually a great site to find scorpion fish in the stern of the wreck. The yacht has been marked out by a pole trail, use the attached map of the area to plan a dive and ascertain where on the pole trail you are joining to make your way around.

Coombe Shallow Wrecks

An easily accessible site that is popular with local divers and instructors. The grassed area of the Coombe Reserve is a great area to kit up with the easiest access to the shallow wrecks right off the beach where the carpark meets the grassed area. There is a pole trail guiding divers to the three different wrecks found off the shore, two are timber motorboats and one small dinghy. The simplest way to locate the pole trail is to enter the water at the small beach area mentioned above. The pole trail starts in about 3 metres of water around 10 metres from shore at the small beach directly where the underwater shoreline rocks finish you will find the first pole. This is roughly 035° from the beach into the water, facing almost directly at the closest mooring 754. The map below was accurate as of September 2019, should the pole trail have changed the "Coombe Shallow 2" wreck is only around 10 metres north of mooring 754 and the "Coombe Shallow 1" site can be easily found only a few metres west of mooring 661. Follow the pole trail from shore heading north east and after 20 or so metres the trail comes to a "Y" intersection. Visible immediately to the north of the intersection is the "Shallow 2" site, taking the northern or left trail from the intersection leads you to the "Coombe Shallow 1" site where the trail terminates. To take the south east or right turn at the intersection will lead you to the "Dinghy" site and on from the dinghy site to the north, a trail extends for over 300 metres through deep water to connect to the Coombe Deep Wrecks listed above on this page. The 300 metre trail is used mainly by technical divers to avoid long surface swims to the deep wrecks, this pole trail is well beyond the limits of a single tank dive and if the intention is to reach the destination of the deep wrecks it should only be attempted if prepared accordingly, this trail will take you through deeper water and well away from any entry or exit points into more exposed water.

Download the above map for better resolution: The map is accurate as of September 2019 and was made after the removal of Mooring 221 which was the old centre point for the wreck trail.

Wreck: Coombe Shallow 1

Position: S 32° 00.720'

               E 115° 46.553'

Location: See map above

 

Nearest Mooring: 661

             wreck @ 270° 5 metres from mooring

Entry Point: Beach at Carpark

 

Construction: Wood

Dimensions: 9 x 2m

 

Depth: 11.5 metres

To the north of the larger "Coombe Shallow 2" wreck this smaller, more deteriorated wreck is sitting on its starboard side, usually this site has worse visibility than the Shallow 2 wreck. The stem is still distinguishable with the bow facing north and the stern tube still visible at the southern end of the wreck. Very little is known about the wreck but the lack of running gear, shaft and propeller could possibly assume it was stripped before sinking? The timber hull is heavily deteriorated but it can be a great location to find critters and good crabs. It is easy to locate on the trail, at the Y intersection on the trail take the north trail past the Shallow 2 wreck. The trail terminates at the stern of the wreckage.

Wreck: Coombe Shallow 2

Position: S 32° 00.736' E 115° 46.560'

Location: See map above

 

Nearest Mooring: 754

         wreck @ 350° 10 metres from mooring 754

Entry Point: Beach at carpark

 

Construction: Wood

 

Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 metres

 

Depth: 9 metres

The Coombe Shallow 2 wreck is the more attractive wreck on the pole trail, it is also the easiest to locate. Either follow the pole trail from the shore line entry point and the wreck is located right next to the Y intersection to the immediate north, or descend down mooring 754 and only a few metres to the north you'll bump into the pole trail intersection and the Coombe Shallow Wreck 2 site.

The Coombe Shallow 2 site is certainly the more interesting on the trail, visibility is generally better on this site, it also has a much more substantial structure with some clues to its origin. The identity of the wreck is unknown however the diesel engine, shaft configuration and galvanised steel hull fittings would suggest it was a vessel built just before or after the 1960's. The engine battery bank is easily distinguishable and the two batteries both have a manufacture date of 1979 (best for the environment to not disturb the batteries), it would be safe to say this vessel must have sunk in the early to mid 80's for reasons unknown. It seems only the stern half of the wreck is distinguishable whether the forward section has deteriorated and much remains buried or perhaps the vessel burnt to the waterline trimmed by the stern as it sunk.

Wreck: Shallow Dinghy

 

Position: S 32° 00.733' E 115° 46.573'

 

Location: Use map above

Entry Point: Beach at carpark

 

Construction: Wood

 

Dimensions: 4 x 1.5 metres

 

Depth: 12 metres

The least impressive of the wrecks at the Shallow Coombe sites, the small dinghy sits upright rising only about 30cm from the riverbed, connected by both a line and pole trail to the Shallow 2 site to the west. The line trail leading to the dinghy can be a great place to look for seahorses. Also, from the eastern side or the bow of the dinghy wreck another pole trail extends north, this connects to the Coombe deep wrecks listed above on this page. This trail extends for around 300 metres and takes you well away from any entry and exit point and into more open water at a depth between 15 and 20 metres. This trail is usually used by tech divers that avoid the long surface swims to the deep wrecks and is beyond the limits of a single tank dive to reach the destination and return.