We recently returned from a trip to the Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand. If you haven't heard of it before it's time to look into it!
We were introduced by some friends in the industry to the Poor Knights a while back. After all the rave reviews and jealousy inducing photos, we had to add it to our list. Conveniently, a Tech 2 course came up in Tutukaka (gateway to the Poor Knights) taught by Jamie Obern and Rich Walker. So we decided to kill two birds with one stone and make the trip out there. The 3 hour trip from Sydney makes getting to New Zealand quite easy and trouble free. Upon our arrival we picked up our rental car and started our journey north to Tutukaka.
Day 1 started with some gear prep and once that was done we settled in for some theory and our first dive. The next two days shaped up in a similar way, while Jamie and Rich put us through the paces with hypoxic protocols, managing failures and dealing with multiple bottles. All this in preparation for what we were all there for...deep reef diving.
On day 4 we began our first trip out to to the islands. On board with the great crew of Dive! Tutukaka, we traveled a leisurely 50 mins out to the first dive site of the day. As we were going to be in the water the longest of the group onboard we were the first one's in the water. This is maybe where I should add that you can pull up to a dive site and be able to do a 90m dive at the same site where there are DSDs or Open water divers doing their thing. One of the many great things about the islands. Upon entry and after a short swim we easily reached our planned depth of 55-60m. As soon as you enter the water you are welcomed by massive Kingfish and snapper, schools of Pink and Blue Maomao which follow you around the site. You'll get the occasional glimpse of a bronze whaler and maybe some friends cruising in and out of the reef. And, if you have a look at the bottom you are likely to see an abundance of massive rays gliding gracefully through the water.
While deco can be boring sitting in the blue staring at each other waiting for something to do. It's not the case here! Deco can actually be a bit distracting with all that's going on around you. There is plenty to see at all depths on your way up to the surface and there is never a dull moment. The following two days of the course didn't disappoint. The reef is healthy and full of life to 75m and beyond! On the last day of the course while relaxing on the boat a pod of Orcas made an appearance for a photoshoot and a snack before heading off to a new location.
It worked out well that our second day diving after the class lined up with the scheduled GUE dive day. Sixteen of us of various levels from Fundamentals through to Tech 2, headed out on our own private boat to spend the day out on the water. It was quite the international group with one token Kiwi on board. Water, Scooters and plenty of gas, what more could you ask for?!
After a sad day of packing we loaded up and began the journey back home while we planned our next visit! :)
Many thanks to Rich and Jamie for the great course, and to Mel for all her hard work behind the scenes blending for hours on end to make sure we had gas to dive. Last but not least to Dive! Tutukaka and crew for many great days out on the water!