Diving the Poor Knights

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Poor Knights Islands lie in subtropical waters just off the north east coast of the north island which is somewhere between the warm tropical waters of the equator and cold waters from the south pole. With warm currents from the Coral Sea sweeping through the Poor Knights Islands many of the fish species found in the tropical oceans are found around the islands. The islands have a volcanic origin and therefore have spectacular drop-offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels. Everything that makes for great diving!
With the water slightly colder (20 degrees Celsius) than tropical seas the visibility is amazing and on both dives the visibility was 20 plus or more. Obviously you need a serious wetsuit in 20 degree waters so we were each clad in two piece 5 mm wetsuits with hoodies and I must admit were still a little cold. Must have been due to the 3 years of hot weather in Dubai?
The minute you get into the water you can not believe how clear the water is, it's as if you can see for miles. The next thing you notice is that the bottom is covered with not only corals but also kelp forests, something you hardly see in warmer waters. The fish life was amazing with schools swarming around us, hundreds of groupers, snappers and some pretty big Kingfish. Within minutes we saw our first stingray gliding by and it was soon to be followed by many more squadrons.
Its really a bizarre feeling swinging you way through kelp forests while watching coral fish swim by. It did make buoyancy very easy as you can easily pull your way through the kelp and play hide and seek if you like.

Our second dive was a little more interesting as it involved a swim across an arch (see photo) and then into an underwater cave. At the top of the rather large cave was a chimney which has an air pocket in the ceiling of the cave. We were able to swim up into the air pocked which looks like underwater mercury and breathe air without our reg's at 8m below, a very weird sensation.
Two dives are not nearly enough at the Poor Knights Islands which have more than 30 recognised dive sites, so we will most certainly add this to our list of future dive destinations. Must still see the seals, dolphins, sunfish and manta which are often seen.
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