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Reef Report for Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Diving New Zealand Offers Great Opportunities

As regular readers may know I have been away for the last couple of weeks. I have been fortunate enough to visit New Zealand and whilst I was there I tried to do some diving, "Try"being the operative word. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises Two friends and myself arrived in Tutukaka early last Sunday. Situated north of the North Island, Tutukaka is surrounded by spectacular seascapes; sandy beaches, rock pools and surf. Off shore lies the Poor Knights Islands. A marine reserve there boasts of being an international treasure, and is home to may rare species. From the tourism body:

"Poor Knights are world renowned. Spectacular water clarity and warm subtropical currents provide for rich, varied and abundant of sea life. Steep cliffs fringe the island and plummet 100 metres below sea level, broken by caves, archways and fissures that provide an ideal environment for sea life and some of the worlds’ most unique diving."

In the immediate area also two intentionally sunk wrecks. These vessels have been specially prepared for diving and are sunk at diver friendly depths. Purposely-cut access and exit points allow exploration of guns, bridges, control areas, helicopter hanger, cabin and crew areas. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises

So were all pumped and ready to go. Sunday afternoon in very sloppy chop we managed to get to the Waikato. What an amazing dive. The wreck was amazing. The helicopter hanger size daunting. Being only my second wreck dive ever I didn’t penetrate but circled the whole 132 metres length and came to the surface satisfied. What an experience! Unfortunately the second day of diving had to be cancelled, as there were 80km winds. The area had not seen wind like it for over a year. My luck is terrible! From all the fabulous footage we saw on video in the Dive Tutukaka office (highly professional local dive operator) I am already saving my pennies to get back. The diving does indeed look spectacular!

So what has been happening locally? The winds continue to blow 15 to 20 knots. Cairns will have a few showers over the weekend and the east to southeast winds will blow moderately 15 to 20 knots.

The visibility has remained 10 to 15 metres on most reefs north and south of Cairns. At the cod hole they have had 30 metres visibility with a large selection of sharks coming to visit during the shark feed. There was also an amazing selection of Lion and Anemone fish at Steve’s Bommie. Divers on board Reef Magic had a visit from an inquisitive octopus at Saxon Reef. The octopus peered at length at the divers from his hidey-hole in a small bommie.

(C) Pro Dive Cairns The weekly reef report is written by Sue-Anne Chapman of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the many conversations she has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.

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