It was the perfect excuse
My mate, Pete Mesley, (Lust4Rust) turned 50 last year, and to celebrate, he had a big bash followed by some diving for those who could spare a few days. It was the perfect excuse to celebrate and get in a few days diving prior to the GUE Fundamentals course. Not to mention more colder water dives in my drysuit.
I hadn't been to the Poor Knights for many years but I remembered it as spectacular ... time to rediscover it!
Getting to the Poor Knights is simple from Auckland - a mere 2.5 hours scenic drive. Samir and I loaded the car and followed Pete, Tiffany & Todd - destination Tutukaka, gateway to the Poor Knights Marine Park.
We arrived at the motel, unpacked and got ourselves ready to meet Yukon Dive at the Tutukaka Marina the next day.
There are two main operators who dive The Poor Knights; Yukon Dive & Dive! Tutukaka. In this instance, we were diving with Yukon Dive and were greeted at the boat - all of us had our own equipment and getting organised on the boat was the first order of the day.
Yukon Dive, owned and run by Glen Erikson & Jo Thomson, have two boats and offer two dives per day out at the Poor Knights Islands. As with all good operators, the sites chosen on the day are weather / wind dependant and geared to offer the most for the customers on board.
Our boat had a real mixture of divers from snorkelers, new divers' in training, regular open circuit divers and, in this instance, several rebreather divers.
It goes to show the quality of the Poor Knights sites, that there was something for everyone in the dive sites chosen.
The trip out takes about 20 minutes with spectacular scenery. Great boat and dive site briefings, the Poor knights offer truly fabulous temperate water diving; colourful walls, reefs, amazing fish life (it's a protected marine park), with colourful rocks, arches and swim throughs.
This video doesn't really do it justice but it will give you an idea. We loved it and I'd recommend it goes on any to-dive list.
Poor Knights contacts:
Part of the excuse to dive in New Zealand was to do more drysuit dives in colder water, plus practice using the Dive Centre Bondi equipment Duncan preferred me to use on the actual GUE Fundamentals course ... to this extent the trip was a further success.
Everything except the fins, I had no problem with. The harness was extremely comfortable and fitted well. The back inflation was easy to operate and had plenty of lift. The regs all worked and the extra hose tucked in without any issues.
But the fins! The preferred fins of technical diving are heavy duty, rubber fins (especially Scubapro Jet Fins) sadly these fins only come in 3 weird sizes: XXL (aka massive), XL (aka huge) & L (aka very small). I'd been lent an XL - which apparently most people use without an issue.
Me? Not so much.
They were too big - just dangled on the ends of my feet. Manoeuvring was difficult, air got easily trapped in my drysuit socks/boots, making me adjust position constantly, my buoyancy awkward.
Essentially, those fins simply did not fit me! But are the only sizes manufactured!
I struggled with them for two days & hated it - they made me feel cumbersome, awkward.
Eventually, on the third day I gave up and hired a standard pair of recreational fins in a regular size which fitted properly. I finally got my mojo back. It was a relief.
Why I waited until the third day is a bit of a mystery to me. Really, I ought to know better - but sometimes we're so willing to listen to others who we feel may know more (at least about certain topics), we do it anyway!
I had enough experience to know they weren't working & still I stuck with it for too long!! Equipment needs to fit, properly.
Another lesson for me to absorb. This lesson was for me only. Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to be different.