February 2011

Due to the work load lately we have all been hanging out for a dive, but haven't been able to coordinate the weather, spare time and sea conditions so when things lined up the best they could, Neal, Graeme, Vaughan and I left at 430am and headed up the road to Motunau. It wasn't until we got to Motunau that we realised it was the competition day and there were lots of boats around even though we had arrived well before daylight. The best thing we did was get ready and head out the river. Crossing the bar with spotlights was a novelty, but as the sea was good, it was not too difficult. The sky was lightening as we motored towards a spot to try fishing at.

Once there, the fishing was fairly slow. The cod we did catch were small, so Neal had a spot marked on his GPS that he had found on an earlier trip, that was needing to be checked out. We lifted the anchor and headed off. The reef looked interesting on the sounder, and since the sea was clean, Neal and I decided on a dive.

The water was warm at 15°C, and as we started to drop towards the bottom, we could faintly see the reef from just below the surface. I have never had this sort of viz out here before so it was exciting. There were plenty of small fish around - leatherjackets, cod, and Moki. Neal followed the anchor rope down and checked the anchor placement and was pointing over the edge of a dropoff on the reef to where there were a lot of feelers sticking out from cracks. The viz was around 6 - 8m and everywhere we looked there were crays.


We got our limit of crays fairly quickly and the scenery was really nice, with dropoffs, overhangs, crevices and a small amount of weed. Since we had filled our quota, we decided on heading back to the boat. As we left the reef, we looked back down and saw a big school of kingfish swimming around and they circled us for a few minutes as we ascended. Once on the surface we were so excited with the dive we raced for the boat and Neal got the jig organised. Vaughan tried jigging while Graeme, Neal and I checked the crays and got the gear stowed.


The following week, the sea looked like it was still good, so we made another attempt to get to the reef for a second dive. This time the sea was choppy and a reasonable swell was running so we only got a few km from the river before we turned around and headed for home. There is no point in pushing the trip with such rough conditions. The following day, Neal rang at 6am and said "feel like a dive - the sea looks better". "ah" - 1 second later - "yea". Half an hour later, Graeme, Vaughan and I were at Neals place and hooking on the boat. This time the sea was flatter and the bar crossing easier. We headed straight for the last reef we had dived on and geared up. Graeme, Neal and I dropped onto the reef again and this time the viz was a bit less, but we still managed to find enough Crays to make it a great dive amongst the awesome scenery down there. This time there weren't any Kingi's around, but it was still a great dive. Vaughan had been catching a few cod while we were diving. For some reason I wasn't feeling the best, so the others fished for awhile. We tried in several different spots on the way back to the river, but couldn't catch anything else.

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