Diving @ Poor Knights Island

Lina

This is on my bucket list.....

My husband told me about the the Poor Knights Islands many moons ago, since then I've been obsessed. During the warmer parts of the year the giant black stingrays gather in a crevasse by the hundreds. Because the crack in the cliff is very narrow the sonar of the hunters lurking in the waters bounce off the cliffs and they can't get in but be sure that patrolling outside are a vast number of sharks and Orcas.

Because of their incredible form and biodiversity, the Poor Knights Islands are a Marine Reserve and Nature Reserve 23km off the Tutukaka Coast in Northland. The water is known for its clarity - up to 30meters!!! and an abundance of sea life.

The Islands are the remains of a group of ancient volcanoes. Beneath the waves these volcanoes have been hollowed and shaped by the ocean into a web of caves, tunnels and cliffs which Jacques Cousteau rated as one of the top ten dives in the world.

From turbulent sunlit waters and kelp forest on the upper reaches of the tumbling giant ‘staircase’ to the dark waters of the islands’ many caves, the Poor Knights offer an extraordinary variety of underwater experiences.

Sponge gardens and gorgonian fields are inhabited by a multitude of fish, shellfish, urchins and anemones, with black coral found in deeper waters. The steep cliffs that fringe the islands plunge up to 100 m below sea level before reaching a sandy sea floor. The arches are some of the most interesting places to explore. A rich nutrient soup washes through them, which feeds the countless animals competing for space on the walls. Squadrons of stingrays cruise the waters of the archways during warmer months.

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