Guest Post: POOR KNIGHTS RESERVE REVISITED by WADE DOAK

We are very lucky to have a Guest Post from Wade Doak, Wade has published numerous books on his great passion, the underwater world. He has also worked on the television natural history series ‘Wild South’ and ‘Deep Blue’. His titles include Beneath New Zealand Seas (1971), Encounters with Whales and Dolphins (1988), and his diving autobiography, Ocean Planet (1989). Most of Doak’s books are lavishly illustrated with his own photographs.  Please go to www.wadedoak.com for more information.

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Jan and I made a trip to the Poor Knights last Monday: a weird day of mists, dense sea fog and scorching sunshine. Although it was howling from the norwest, El Tigre found a series of flat calm anchorages on the east side. And I thought I did not need to take my hat.

We had guests from Canada and Oz who had booked with Dive! Tutukaka and when I inquired when they were due back in port in order to meet them, we were invited to join them for the day.

As has always been our experience on these modern dive boats, the staff are just so utterly exceptional; so obliging to all on board.  Sam, the skipper, did a fantastic job explaining Poor Knights history and what was to be expected at each dive site and with overseas visitors on board, he made us very proud to be kiwis. I was impressed with the hands on, fine tuned details he gave, such as the packhorse crays crawling in the open and the eight lounging stingrays the crew had seen at Frazer’s Landing a few days before. These days people are helped as if on a flight in the first class cabin by all those young folk in the crew.  But running a safe and enjoyable dive operation for so many people is a damned sight harder than caring for a bunch of airline passengers.  Our guests were elderly and received superb attention. For Ling, the Chinese lady, her dearest dream was to go into the vastness of Rikoriko Cave. Despite the jobbly N.W. situation, El Tigre fulfilled that and dozens of cameras clicked, capturing frames of that dream. For a woman in her mid-seventies, taking a kayak trip under those immense towering cliffs just north of Hope Point, helped by dive guide Kieran so sweetly and unobtrusively, was a high.  He even gave her a tow with his kayak on the way back and Sam hauled her aboard with immense strength: clean and jerk. I guess he has done that before.

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