Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
35Trip End May 28, 2010
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Where I stayed
Waiwera Holiday Park
Tutukaka Holiday Park
Next day, we went to Dive Tutukaka
We met at the dive shop at 8 am to go snorkelling at the Poor Knights Islands. We actually went out with the dive boat instead of the snorkelling boat, which turned out to be so much better; same price, but we got to wear the thicker dive wetsuits, and they dive at two sites instead of one. The crew and skipper were really great and funny, and it was a perfectly beautiful calm day. The first site was called Trevor's Rocks, because apparently some guy Trevor crashed his boat into them! There were a ton of fish, all different kinds. It was different than other snorkelling we had done because it is sub-tropical, so you don't get the tropical fish and the water isn't super warm, but the fish were still very cool, and the wetsuits kept us nice and toasty! And instead of coral, the whole bottom is covered in kelp forest, which doesn't sound nice at all but actually is really interesting and strangely beautiful. It trips you out at first, because the kelp rushes with the current, so it looks like the rocks and ground beneath you are moving, or that you are getting sucked out to sea! There were a few large caves in the cliff that we snorkeled into, which I was expecting to be super scary, but everything is so much more calm & peaceful when you are (mostly) underwater
In the break between sites, we drove into the biggest sea cave in the world, which you'll have to google, because we can't remember it's name. Anyways, its huge, and the accoustics inside are amazing! The skipper got us all to shout, sing, and make a general racket and it all sounded beautiful in there. Apparently during WWII, a Japanese Submarine hid out in there for a while, it's that huge. We also got a little breakdown of the islands and their history from the skipper. The islands are a big marine reserve, you aren't allowed to set foot on them. They have been isolated for so long that they have tons of crazy species living on top, mostly giant versions of bugs and things. (He said that's why they park the boat this far from the cliffs, so the giant crickets don't jump down and eat us. Haha). He also told us the theories about how the islands got their name, and my favourite was the one he came up with himself - there used to be Maori people who lived on the island, and they raised pigs (that part is true). When the explorers would sail buy, the natives would invite them to come up and have a feast. Every time they came by, they had a feast of delicious pork. And over time, the name has changed... from Pork Nights, to Poor Knights! Haha, I laughed my butt off, he was a funny guy
Anyways, the second site was called Blue Maomao Arch, and it was UNREAL. Once you fought the wicked current to get inside this rock arch, it opened up underneath you, with steep walls. A deep passageway, but lit from both ends, and a hole in one side, so the water in there was a clear, bright blue - stunning! And there were soooo many fish, they blocked the light sometimes. They surrounded us most of the time we were in there. The pictures that are up are all from this site. Unfortunately, the screen on the camera wasn't working, (it still isn't) so I just had to randomly point the camera at stuff and hope it worked. I actually didn't know if it was taking pictures at all, so I was very happy when I saw them later! Anyways, the pictures don't do it justice, it was so amazing. A wonderful day!