May - A Month of Firsts
The first 10*10*10 Challenge of 2012 was in the middle of May and we had some great weather. We managed two of the challenge sites (Cave Bay Wall and Demoiselle Rock) due to the westerly winds, but also Barren Arch and Cream Gardens, with a night dive in Rikoriko too! This trip was also the first time we've had our Nitrox on board for all to use - and they all did! With 32% in their twins the divers were loving the extra time down in the 25-30m range. It will now be available for all at a cost of $25 per day for twins and $18 per day for singles!
The following weekend saw Brendon and some of his NIWA friends come up from Wellington for a 3 day trip to The Poor Knights Islands. Always fun to watch people used to little visibility dive into the blue water around the Poor Knights! They also brought up some fantastic weather - A little breeze on Friday and dead calm on Saturday, which meant we had a wide choice of sites to hit. Again most divers were taking the advantage that EAN32 offers and getting in those extra dive minutes at Fraggle Rock first up, followed by Taravana Cave/Landing Bay Pinnacle. They all loved those site, but Saturday was even better - Tie-Dye Arch, 12 Fathom Reef and Northern Arch!!
Friday evening was flat calm in Rikoriko Cave - perfect for a night dive. Again another first - after six years of diving at The Knights I finally got to see a Flabellina (at least that I've known about and got to take a photo of). A weird worm type thing and a decorated crab were also out and about.
Saturday and another firsts for me - the first Nitrox dive in New Zealand - I've been here 6 years now and don't understand why it's taken soooooo long!!?? Fittingly the site was 12 Fathom Reef - 24m to the top, but covered in fishlife. Schools of Pink Maomao cover the reef and within the pink cloud lurk others; Golden Snapper, BlueMaomao and a few Splendid Perch. All you have to do is hover for a while and you're surrounded by curious fish - even the Kingfish come up from the deep to check out what's going on!
Sunday and the weather started to decline early morning, so the group decided to do one last dive at Air Bubble Cave. Loads of fish in the cracks and Stingrays on the wall with Snapper in the shallows made for a fine dive before the ride back to Tutukaka and the end of a great 3 days and fantasic month of May.