PHOTOS: Tobruk wreck weaves its magic on visitors
THE woman with perhaps the most dives at ex-HMAS Tobruk artificial reef says the site remains a hidden gem.
Tracy Olive has been diving the wreck as a photographer for Lady Musgrave Experience since the ship was scuttled 18 months ago.
In the 20 dives she has performed at the Tobruk, Mrs Olive has accompanied international visitors, locals and even former sailors of the vessel.
"The dive group that we had, we had a couple of international visitors, a couple of local people, some from the Gold Coast - it's just a mixed bag of people from everywhere," she said.
"We had a couple of guys who were with us and they worked on the Tobruk for eight years.
"They were awesome scuba divers and they also knew where everything was, which was really groovy."
And while it's only been a year and a half since the ship was scuttled, the wreck is now home to a wide variety of sea life, fish and the beginning stages of coral.
"It's amazing. The boat is covered in barnacles, oyster shells, they're starting to get different corals - only soft coral at the moment," Mrs Olive said.
She said more coral could be growing soon since the Tobruk is in the path of coral-spawning currents.
She said her love and skills in underwater photography had only increased in her three years working alongside Lady Musgrave Experience.
"I fell in love with whales - always loved dolphins and whales," she said.
"I entered a competition with Canon and Canon paid me an X amount of money, and it was enough for me to go to Tonga.
"So I bought a better underwater housing and went to Tonga and that's where it all started.
"When I came back from Tonga the first time Brett Lakey must have just started and was looking for someone … and that was it - I've not stopped."
Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey said the past Christmas period brought perfect weather.
"It's the best weather we've had in five years," he said.
Mr Lakey said the company was still doing regular dives and really focusing on Lady Musgrave as a location.
Many groups were coming to experience the island and reef from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
While he said word was still getting out about the Tobruk dive, a couple of local attractions including a five or six metre hammerhead shark kept drumming up return business from international and local clients alike.
"There's more bigger pelagics, bigger fish," he said.
"Big groupers, schools of snapper, the list goes on."
Mr Lakey said being able to attract international visitors and show them the sites and attractions was a benefit.
"It's great to have that flow-on effect to the rest of the region," he said.