Underwater

March 22, 2007

Been doing a lot more holiday-ish, touristy things recently. My oldest chum Nick, whose Kiwi connection is the reason I first decided I wanted to come to NZ (his dad is a New Zealander), is here on holiday with his wife Amani. They’re keen and experienced divers and one of the main things they wanted to do here was dive the famous Poor Knights Islands, 20km off the east coast of Northland.

The Poor Knights have been called “one of the ten best dive sites in the world” by a certain M Cousteau, who really was something of an authority on such matters eh? Certainly they’re a fascinating place, to mainland NZ what the Galapagos are to South America, but with a remarkable cultural history alongside the unique natural history. The somewhat forbidding volcanic rocks that make up the islands were inhabited by Maori until around 1820, but a massacre resulted in them being declared tapu, or sacred/taboo.

The islands, which were not only abandoned by the residents, but were also cleared on exotic pests, are now managed cooperatively by the local iwi (Maori nation) and the NZ Department of Conservation. So it’s an offence to land on two counts – it’s both a cultural infringement and very naughty as a threat to wildlife. Ergo, the place is pretty pristine and spiffing (something like a $50,000 fine deters people from even landing), as are the waters washing the islands. What’s more, said waters consist of a current that’s come down the east coast of Australia, across the Tasman and over the top of NZ, so they’re warm too, warmer than elsewhere nearby. Meaning you get some pretty amazing life.

It’s not rampacked with exotic multicoloured fish, or soft corals – it’s too cold for all that – but it’s very special nonetheless, with amazing environments of caves  and arches, and beds of weeds and wotnot. We saw several large rays, myriad maomau fish, kingfish etc etc, and even a Lord Howe angelfish, which looks like it belongs in tropical waters.

 Anyways, never have enough time to blog any more. I’ll leave you with this:

Diving gimps

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One Response to “Underwater”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Bring out the gimp!


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