So, I probably haven’t mentioned this yet…I moved to New Zealand for work. Job is great, yet to determine how much I like or dislike the weather. Anyway, I decided to head north for Christmas and do some diving at Poor Knights and the Bay of Islands. Headed out from Auckland and up to Paihia. Got a shuttle down to Tutukaka to dive Poor Knights.
First, Poor Knights with Dive Tutukaka. Great company. Somehow there’d been a screw up with my booking and they had me down for a Discover Scuba or something. I laughed. They laughed. They were totally baffled when I showed up with my own gear. Easily rectified and we were on our way. 75 minute boat trip out to the islands which are about 20km offshore. Rough trip out (was ok on the way back), so take sea sick meds if you’re prone to seasickness. Boat I was on was well equipped, and not too many passengers. They’d sent 3 boats out for the day and we all hit different sites. The guides were fine and we dived in a group. My group was the guide, me, and another guy who was an instructor from Europe. Worked out well for us. Diving was ok I guess. Was windy and rainy, and while the viz was ok (~20m or so), it was really dull underwater. I can imagine with the sun out things would be “sparkling” so to speak. I don’t imagine Poor Knights becoming a regular trip for me (it’s a 10.5 hour drive north of Wellington where I am now based), but I wouldn’t mind diving it again at some point. Water was 18-19C, and I was good in a 7mm with hood (newly purchased for NZ diving until I decide if I want to fork out for a drysuit), and 5mm boots. Good day overall.
Then I went out for a day with Paihia Dive in the Bay of Islands to dive the HMNZS Canterbury wreck and a reef dive. Can’t rate these guys highly enough. Got chatting to one of the instructor-guides in the shop before we went out, he quickly realised he’d have the opportunity to do some deeper diving with me, so we made a plan and did some bits of the wreck I get the impression he didn’t get to do too often. Ended up with a few minutes of deco time at the end of the dive, but easily done on a single tank with our experience levels. Got into the guts of the wreck a bit and there was good viz and some cool stuff to see. There were a bunch of Discover Scuba people on board too, and I was very impressed by the way they managed to coordinate the dives to ensure everyone got to do some awesome diving. The second dive was around an archway not far from the wreck which was an easy dive after the wreck (2.5 hours surface interval). Some absolutely giant crays down there. I think they said it was a marine reserve though, so a no take zone. Explains the size of those things! Viz was about 25m on the wreck, and about 15-20 on the arch, water was 19C. Again, was fine in 7mm with hood and 5mm boots. I very much want to return to Paihia dive and do the Rainbow Warrior wreck in the future. Might make another trip of it at some point and hit that and the Poor Knights again. In summer. When it’s warm. Because I am a sook and hate cold water.
Photos below aren’t great. I really need to upgrade my camera in 2018. Not sure what I’m going to get yet though.