Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Speke Shipwreck - Kitty Miller Bay, Phillip Island

On a stormy night on the coast of Phillip Island in Westernport Bay The Speke ran aground and broke up over days. Built in 1891, The Speke was an all steel ship. After running aground she was salvaged by Phillip Island locals where parts of her can be found in local homes and cottages and the island's museum.

There is still a significant chunk of the wreck right on the shore and is of interest for photographers.

The Speke
The largest pieces sit in Kitty Miller Bay on Phillip Island. I found it difficult to research exactly where the wreck is and how to get to it. It's certainly not immediately obvious and is not visible using satellite view.

To help you find it, I've created a Google Map of the wreck and how to get there.

Park near the beach stairs and head down them to the beach. Walk along the left hand side of Kitty Miller Bay towards the ocean. About half way along the bay (before the first out jutting) the path takes off up the slope to the cliff top. This part is steep and resembles an animal track more than anything.

The surface of the track is basalt and clay so it is fairly easy going but is slippery in places and gathers water. Good boots are not essential but advisable.

Once you get to the first cape there is a good vantage point over the bay before continuing along the cliff top to the wreck itself. The descent to the wreck is slippery and challenging so take it easy.

The Path Down To The Wreck
The Ghost
In the right conditions you might even see the ghost on the wreck. Well ok, I made that up but a nice ghostly long exposure with a 10 stop ND filter makes a mist out of the breaking waves.

The Waves

It's easy to see how the ship came to grief where the wreck washed onto the rocks and was gradually beaten to death.

A polarising filter is a useful addition to the kit for scenes like this so that your shots can see into the water and capture the detail of the rocks and sea floor.

The wreck sits within the rocky bay facing the direct ocean.

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