Diving the Rainbow Warrior & HMS Canterbury

Trip Start Jun 11, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Russell, Top 10

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Robert!

We rushed about a bit this morning getting up and having a quick breakfast and Alan packing his tent away before we dashed across to Paihia. We arrived at Dive HQ and were all sorted out with the necessary gear and piled onto a mini-bus for the drive to Matauri Bay. We've been here before when we first travelled up the East Coast, it's really pretty, although we hadn't realised at the time that there is a monument to the Rainbow Warrior here.
We all geared up and I was mortified to discover that I had left my regs in our car! That's because I hadn't put them in my kit bag when they were last washed when we were up at Henderson Bay. Fortunately they had a spare, phew! We all traipsed down to the beach where they had an inflatable type power boat. All the gear was stacked at the back and everyone sat along the sides and off we sped.

It was a thrilling ride as we shot over cresting waves and crashed over the other side of them. We got to the dive site and we went off with our guide, Robert, me, Alan and another bloke. It was strange to see the boat that was famously blown up by the French sat at the bottom and supporting so much life. In life she tried to defend marine life and in death she's giving life. We saw lots of life and got right the way around her. I was sucking my air for England and was really low by the time we exited, which is strange for me as I'm usually really good on air.
We had lunch, on a nearby island beach, which consisted of a huge ham salad sandwich, a huge chocolate cookie (which was too sickly to eat) and a piece of fruit. The guides changed all the tanks for the second dive. I successfully executed the requisite seal belly slide into the boat and we headed off to the second dive site.

We went in the same groups and I was flustered by the bloke in our group always swimming on top of me. Everywhere I went he was there, it was very frustrating! Anyway I was once again slurping my air and the guide and I left the water before the boys whom continued the dive. We managed to get some good photo's and saw plenty of fish.

Back at shore we got changed and got the mini-bus back to the dive shop. We washed our gear there and left it to dry for the dive tomorrow. We said goodbye to Alan, it was a real shame that he didn't stay and come out for dinner with us, but it had been good to see him and Robert really enjoyed his company.

Robert and I returned to the Top 10 site in Russell and got showered and changed for dinner. We went to a very nice restaurant for Roberts birthday dinner. I can't remember the bloody name now, but it is located to the left hand side of the street as you come off the pier. We had a glass of recommended wine with every course and we had three courses, and finished off with a coffee. The food was really good and definitely worth the money. We fell pleasantly into the tent and slept well.

It had poured down overnight and we threw the wet tent in the car, drunk some water and got the ferry over to Paihia and the HQ dive shop. After we'd thrown our kit bag onto the trailer for the training pool, we took it off and took it down to the boat.

We are diving the Canterbury today, it's only been down 7 weeks so we're not expecting too much life to have taken hold yet. We got on the boat and talked to our guide, as we had our deep & rescue certificates there was just us and the guide that went down and actually did a penetration dive. Woo hoo! It was really eerie, but wow, we entered via a cargo area and swam down passages, through hatches and up staircases. We shone our torches into dark rooms and half expected to see a body in there! Robert stood in the hull and steered the ship. Out side we swam to the bow and re-enacted that sceen from Titanic, then swan to the top of the tunnels, that was a really strange feeling. I swam over the top and looked down upon the deck several metres below, it felt like I was flying. This is what it must be like to be a bird, the feeling was intensified as it hadn't been taken over by sealife yet and looked just like it would if it was on the surface. Robert made his mark by writing "Leeds" on the sediment on top of a tunnel! I seemed to have gotten my breathing under control and we had a really good dive.

We had lunch and headed off for our second dive which was really nice but Robert had a problem with his air and had to exit early with the guide and I stayed and buddied this bloke. We set off in the direction that they had gone when our time was up and ended up having to do a fair old swim to the boat. The guide had set off in the right direction but got caught (thus so did we) in a gentle current which pushed us in the wrong direction. What fun!
We bought the obligatory t-shirts back at the dive shop and got something to eat before heading back to the farm.
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