This weekend I went on another liveaboard dive trip, organised by Global Dive. The standard routine is to drive up to Tutukaka on Friday night, sleep on the “Pacific Hideaway” in the marina, before heading out on Saturday morning. I took the chance to stop in Whangarei on Friday night instead, so I could see my parents, if only briefly.
From Tutukaka we head out to the Poor Knights, do up to four dives, sleep at the Knights, then do another three dives on Sunday before returning to the marina on Sunday afternoon. The weather was playing its part, and things were looking good. The diving did not disappoint. Most of the divers on the boat were doing the PADI Advanced course, leaving only Sandra and myself as leisure divers. Just taking it easy, cruising around, checking out the various sights, without having to do any coursework was fantastic.
The highlight of the weekend was diving the Cream Garden early on Sunday morning, with Pete (dive master and general fixer on the boat) and Sandra. At around 30m, we had a huge school of big kingfish zipping back and forth in front of us, checking us out. A bit intimidating really – they’re like the bully boys of the neighbourhood.
The weather also allowed us to dive the wreck of the HMNZS Waikato. This was the first wreck I’ve dived, and it was a great experience, especially with visibility as good as it ever gets there. A lot of work was done to make it safe for diving. It’s an odd experience looking at a ship lying on the bottom like that, and you try and think of what it must have been like steaming the open seas. It’s only been on the bottom for 8 years, yet now it’s entirely covered in growths. Still very clear in its outline, but now the bow section has broken off and moved about 10m fore of the rest of the ship.
A special mention to my dive buddy for the weekend, Sandra – the best navigator on the boat by a long way. No surface swims at all! All that training in the quarries of England obviously works.
And I now have a new place to live! My current place is in a great location, with a nice outlook, but it’s just too small. I’m moving to Freeman’s Bay, where I’ll be sharing a place with a friend. Sharing means that for the same amount of money I can stay in a much bigger place. Plenty of storage for the bikes and dive gear, and there’s a pool! Moving next weekend, so I should get some photos up then. Only problem is no more walking to work – it will be either the bus or the bike. Good chance to get some miles on the much-neglected touring bike I guess.