Dive Buddies once more
Trip Start Sep 07, 2003
28Trip End Sep 07, 2004
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On Friday evening we struggled north through the heavy traffic and even heavier rain toward Tutukaka, the small marina-village from where many of the dive-boats leave. At the campsite we met Kristian and Markella, friends of P&C, and fellow-divers who had organised the trip for us. They are excellent cooks and made us a feast of fish in peach sauce with kumara mash and chilli (Kristian is Danish and Markella is Greek - I'm not sure if that explains their culinary expertise, but I feel it must be relevant!)
Saturday morning we awoke to cloud, but no wind or rain, so we were optimistic about our trip
After Noel had kitted us out with dive-gear, we zipped out to the islands on his speedy dive-boat, which only takes 6-8 divers, resulting in a relaxed, friendly and personalised service. Not at all like the big commercial dive cruisers where they hurry you along and virtually shove you into the water! We were also accompanied by Jo, a Divemaster who acted as our guide for both dives, at no extra cost.
The weather cleared as we approached the Poor Knights' own little sunny micro-climate and we were joined on the way by a pod of dolphins riding our bow wave. This seems to be a normal occurrence for us now whenever we venture out on to the NZ waves, but it's no less special for that.
On arrival at the islands, Noel cruised around and picked a quiet spot away from the big dive boats, settling on "Nursery Cove" a nice easy sheltered dive for the non-Jacques Cousteaus among us.
Jumping into the water wasn't nearly as cold as I'd anticipated
Back on the boat we had lunch, while Noel took us on a little cruise around these dramatic rocky islands, which rise as sheer cliff-faces right out of the sea. We cruised into a large cave, through arches and along tunnels, admiring the craggy outlines of the rocks.
For our second dive we explored some of these caves, diving down to then resurface in "The Lost World" - a hidden cave locked in the centre of the island, but open to the sky above. It was beautiful, if a little spooky. This second dive was harder than the first - more adventurous with all the cave and tunnel swim-throughs we did.
At the end of the day, back on the mainland, we joined Noel and Jo in their local drinking den for a few beers by the marina. While we were there, two game-fishing boats came in with the large marlin they'd caught. We watched as these beautiful fish were strung up and weighed, and couldn't help but feel sad. As Kristian put it: "the ocean seemed a poorer place without them."
And so our 4th dive trip was over. Who knows when we'll do it again - I think the South Island will be too cold for me! Maybe in South America.......