Which Marine Reserves Are Best for Scuba Diving?

10th February 2015
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scuba diving at marine reservesIf you are fortunate enough to hold a scuba divers’ license, why not put your skills to good use at a Marine Reserve? Each Marine Reserve has something unique to offer scuba divers. While you have to pay particularly close attention to your ascent at some, a few offer highly favourable diving conditions. Knowing more about the best ones can help you plan your outing.

Volkner Rocks Marine Reserve

Thanks to a low amount of sedimentation, underwater visibility at Volkner Rocks is excellent. Once you hit the rocky reefs in the area, you can see most of your seafood favourites in their live form. Mussels, crayfish, and kina are available in abundance. However, you cannot take any away with you; those sea creatures are there for observation only. There are hundreds of manageable dives in the area, some of which reach 30m. If you head to the White Island area, you can see a more diverse range of sea species. This includes eels, eagle rays, and enormous kingfishers.

When visiting Volkner Rocks, do remember that the area was once a bombing range for New Zealand’s air force. Fortunately, most bombs have been removed from the diving habitats. However, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has stated that any divers who see an item that looks like a bomb should inform the emergency services immediately.

Horoirangi Marine Reserve

If you are the type of diver who only wants to reach beneath the waves to see unusual species, a visit to Horoirangi Marine Reserve is well worth your time. The Ambush starfish is particularly common there, and is much less scary than it looks. There is an abundance of crustaceans that meander between the rocks, many of which come in vibrant colours that will make you feel as though you have entered a different world.

Recent research focusing on the Horoirangi Marine Reserve has found that conservation activities in the area have led to new marine life. If you like to make repeat visits for diving, this is something you can benefit from. Try visiting on an annual basis and recording what you see to see if there are any major changes to the sea life there.

Long Island Marine Reserve

As a Marine Reserve that you can only access by boat, Long Island is wide open for exploration. In fact, those who scuba dive on a regular basis state that it is one of the most rewarding diving experiences they have had. Above the water, you have the chance to see dolphins and whales. When diving around the northern side of the island, you can witness some of New Zealand’s most diverse reef habitats. You only need to reach depths of 15 metres to see some of the best sea life. Once you are finished there are plenty of spaces to picnic while watching black gulls going about their business. At the northeast side of the island, the rocky pinnacles are home to some of the island’s best rock lobster habitats.

These are not the only Marine Reserves open to scuba divers by any means. However, if you want a simple experience that is rewarding, they are the best to visit. Always remember, you cannot take any sea life or aspects of their habitat away with you. Leave every part of the Marine Reserve you visited exactly as you found it.

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