I live less than an hour and a half from Tutukaka, and had heard that the Poor Knights Islands were one of the best dive spots in the world. I had been in meetings with Jeroen Jongejans of Dive Tutukaka as he shared his passion for the area. But I had never got around to going out there – it was one of those “one day I would love to….” places.
I emailed them about a trip, and discovered they had just started this trip called The Perfect Day– I had no trouble in rounding up 10 friends who wanted to go on January 1st – a great way to start the new year. We decided to go to the Schnapper Rock Café for breakfast before hand – Dive Tutukaka’s office is just out the back.
Eleven am – such a civilised time to start a trip – lots of time to get there and have an espresso before climbing aboard. The Dive Tutukaka team were fantastic. We were welcomed, given snorkels and flippers and later fitted out with wetsuits during the 35-40 minute trip to the Islands. Miraculously they found a wetsuit to fit all of us – from the skinny 12 year old to the not so skinny 55 year olds.
The snorkeling at the Knights marine reserve is simply fantastic and don’t feel like you will see less than the divers because the sea life in the top 5 metres is probably the most prolific, and the light makes it the most colourful area. I could not believe how plentiful the fish were – thousands of them hugging the cliff. The highlight for me was snorkelling into caves and then turning around and seeing all the fish reflected in the light coming into the cave entrance.
One circuit and it was out for a scrummy lunch – even before we were on the boat we were offered hot drinks to warm us up. A live camera feed showed us the sea life under the boat, so we were soon tempted back in for another dive and later a kayak around the cliffs.
Pulling up the anchor, we went for a trip around the Islands – there is a tragic Maori history that unfolds around you, the dramatic cliffs and breathtaking scenery lend itself to the tale. Many of the plants and animals on this special sanctuary are unique to the Island – the Poor Knights Lily, Tuatara, giant weta – all temptingly close, but protected as you are not allowed to land on the Island. I am told they often see dolphins – but we saw the most amazing school of trevally feeding on the surface.
Dive Tutukaka has tours for serious divers, but this was just what we wanted – a trip to the Islands for snorkelling and kayaking and sightseeing.
A perfect day with perfect hosts starting at a respectable hour, what more could a girl want.
The price includes your mask, fins, snorkel, and kayak hire; and a fabulous buffet lunch – I am going to make it an annual event.And I am definately going to recommend it to guests staying at Waihoihoi Lodge as the perfect day out. More about The Perfect Day
Post Script: 2008 is a year of firsts for me and in this year’s Perfect Day Trip, I did the introduction to Scuba Diving – it was AMAZING and terrifying all at once .
The message was KEEP BREATHING which I endeavoured to do as we knelt on the bottom beside a magnificent large stingray and scopion fish – it was all I ever dreamed it would be – actually being down there with the fish – I am definately going to do it again!