Autumn at The Knights
The diving in April was fantastic - helped by the fact that I got back into the water after 4 months on the side lines!! The annual 7 day trip went back to the usual mid-April week and the weather was fantastic. The first day we managed a couple of dives on the East side( Bennett's Bommie and Barren Arch) before the swell rolled in. The night diving started at the first opportunity and many followed, with a few great finds in the 'Nocturnal & Tiny Nudibranch' category (picture of un-named curly Nudibranch courtesy of Kent Ericksen)!
With only a small swell building we took the chance to get to Sugarloaf for some deep dives and then Tie-Dye Arch for a more sedate fishy dive. The rest of the week was spent on the West side of The Poor Knights covering most sites (Northern Arch, Middle Arch, Landing Bay Pinnacle, Taravana, Canyons, Butterfish Bay, Mary's Wall, Rikoriko, Red Baron, Oculina Point, Ngaio Rock, Blue Maomao Arch and Magic Wall) with night dives a plenty.
A couple of Hammerheads cruised past us on a few occasions and the odd Bronzie was seen. Schools of Kingies at various sites, Snapper in the shallows, the ugly Eyebrow Perch and Black Coral in the deep and Blue, Pink and Silver Maomao(Sweep) on 12 Fathom Reef. Not too many Stingrays around this year, but the Orca did come through for a snack!!
The end of April through to mid May had us out on a few weekend trips with a variety of conditions, but the water was still clear and warm (19C). Plenty of rat Kingies and a return of some Stingrays, with Blue Maomao Arch full of Demoiselle and Maomao. Some big harmless jellies floating about and the find of some Leopard Anemone near Oculina Point were among the highlights, but daytime Nudibranchs a noticable abstentee on the walls.
Winter will no doubt be upon us soon, but the 10*10*10 challenge starts next weekend with some great sites to be visited. There is always a chance of some whales making a splash on the Tutukaka coast too, so get out there and enjoy some great visibility on your winter dives.