Diving The Poor Knights

Posted by Francesca Peacey on

So a while back, my pre-pregnant self, Josh and two fabulous buddies enjoyed two spectacular dives at Northland’s Poor Knights Islands.  The father of scuba diving Jacques-Yves Cousteau, ranked the Poor Knights among his top 10 dive sites in the world…and it belongs to Northland! The imminent summer season prompted this blog and a shout out for one of New Zealand’s crown jewels.  This was the second time we had dived the Poor Knights.  Each time the landscape changes and this underwater paradise delivers something different.

While Josh and I own all necessary diving equipment we are severely lacking in one diving necessity…a boat! Unless we beg, borrow or steal, we resort to shore dives, mostly in Whangarei’s fabulous harbour.  While not short on scallops (in season of course!) the visibility is hit and miss so when friends came to visit, we took the opportunity to head out with ‘Dive! Tutukaka’ and their boat Calypso. While our day started with an overhead warning of clouds and a reasonable swell… it quickly delivered dolphins on the 23km trip out to the Islands!

Vilo - Dolphins

No matter how many times I see dolphins in Northland, the excitement never dwindles.  These mammals are beautiful and signify all that it right and unique about New Zealand’s warm, clean waters.  We visited two dive sites, the first Fraser’s landing on the Southern end of the Islands.  Converging warm water currents create a micro climate of bright tropical fish, sea creatures and native species.  As a bit of a nerd and sucker for all things colourful I was buzzing every time I spotted a neon nudibranch.  Josh was less impressed and couldn’t understand my fizzing over essentially sea slugs…but they’re so pretty!

Poor Knights - Vilo Blog

Josh doesn’t really get excited…but he was visibly happy with the gargantuan Crayfish at Fraser’s Landing. This prehistoric monster knew he was resident of the protected Marine Reserve.  Instead of cowering in the back of his cave…he muscled his way out to show us, “yes I’m HUGE…whatcha gonna do about it!? Oooohhh look at all this meat on my bones!”

Crayfish - Vilo Blog


Crayfish - Vilo Blog

The second dive site was Blue Mao Mao Arch.  I love diving in New Zealand, you can scramble and weave your way through each underwater forest without a care of ruining precious coral biodiversity.  Here Josh spotted an enormous Squid…he was buzzed and gesticulated through a serious amount of air before I saw the camouflaged gentleman. 

Squid - Vilo Blog

Squid Vilo Blog

The confusion almost erupted into an underwater argument…not our first while diving together! It’s a serious mark of a good relationship to navigate underwater, disagree and still want to meet the other person safely at the surface.  Our visiting pals couldn’t have had a better time.

I loved showcasing one of Northland’s jewels.  While we have enjoyed the comfort of 30 degree waters in the tropics, I much prefer the interactive New Zealand waters where you can suit up and fly over, crawl under and scramble through the barely explored underwater world.

Vilo Blog- Poor Knights

To plan your own Poor Knights Adventure, check out ‘Dive! Tutukaka’ http://diving.co.nz/ or any of the other professional outlines out that way.  For the nitty gritty nerdy info about Poor Knights Islands, check out http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/northland/places/poor-knights-islands-marine-reserve/

Watch of the Week: Blackwood

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Vilo- Blackwood Watch

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