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davflaws
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Diving Fiordland
Apr 15th, 2019 at 1:40pm
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After my trip to the Coral Sea, I was home at the Heads for a few weeks then off to Fiordland (Chalky Inlet), choppering in and out from Tuatapere (amazing), and living for 7 days on Takapu - an old ML refitted as a liveaboard.

It was a “bucket list” trip with my 31 year old son Adam, and 6 of his deer hunting spearfishing mates. You could cut the Testosterone with a knife, but by dint of playing the slightly doddery elder and doing lotsa gentle pisstaking, I managed to maintain my values and dignity (well mostly anyway) in the face of my deteriorating physical capability. The young fullahs coped with my snoring, did all the heavy lifting of bags and gear etc, and helped me in and out of the tender. I just looked, and often "passed" on the chance to dive, but they were into the water or the bush every chance they got and seemed to be really much keener and better at killing things than I was at that age.

The diving was cold and dark because the freshwater coming off the bush is about 8 degrees, all stained the colour of weak black tea with tannins from the Beech forest, and forms a layer on the surface. So at one place I saw Black Coral (just wee trees – 20 cm) in 3m of water, with the intertidal cushion star Pateriella at the same level. By 30m, the trees are the same size as those at the Poor Knights. Butterfly Perch, Blue Cod, Trumpeter, Tarakihi, Wrasses for Africa, and crays like you wouldn’t believe! Five, six, seven, and eight pound bugs everywhere! Two at a time in some places!
The roar was just starting as we were leaving, but the boys roared in and got a couple of young Stags.
  
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ReelLuckyBouy
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #1 - Apr 15th, 2019 at 6:51pm
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On my bucket list too, glad you enjoyed it   Smiley
  
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Nomads
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #2 - Apr 16th, 2019 at 9:59pm
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Nice one.
I have been invited to do the same this Friday, but I can't make it...
Mate is going down for a 5 dayer (aboard the same boat I think)
I have been told to make room in the freezer..

Didi you bring home any kai?
  

Like a cane chair at a nudist camp, always leave an impression.
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davflaws
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #3 - Apr 17th, 2019 at 5:46am
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Two Squirrel loads of people, gear, and kai on the way out. Polyboxes of frozen crays, fish, and venison.
  
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XRhunter
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #4 - Apr 17th, 2019 at 7:44am
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Dived there many years ago with camera gear. Certainly is a strange environment underwater in the fiords. All that frigid tanniny water for the first 3m or so then out you pop into salt water underneath at least 3 degrees warmer than the top layer !!

Magic conditions for seeing deep water critters in shallow conditions. Those enormous black coral trees in 15m of water festooned with sea horses and starfish.  Pleased for having photos of it all, as I don't know if I would get back down there to do it all again Huh
  
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davflaws
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #5 - Apr 17th, 2019 at 2:46pm
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I certainly won't, but it was neat to cruise around Black Coral without checking all my gauges every ten breaths and feeling slightly apprehensive about being too narked and too deep for too long.

Also saw an Occulina hard coral in 20m. Only other one I have ever seen was fifty years ago at the Kings under an overhang at 180 feet
  
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XRhunter
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Re: Diving Fiordland
Reply #6 - Apr 17th, 2019 at 7:44pm
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Yeah, first black coral I ever saw was out at the Knights in the late 1970's, down at 220 ft. Third dive in sea water. Didn't end well. ran out of the breathy stuff at 90' and used most of my buddy's getting back to the decoke bottles hanging off the boat at 30'. Went back when I had some experience under my belt and photographed lots of those sights that are common at a place like the Knights, but rare most other locations. But Fiordland is certainly a pretty special place. I remember fishing for cod, and the sinker not even hitting the bottom before you felt one, then the second cod hook up, then haul them all the way up again and you're looking at a feed for 5 people, in just 30 secs!!!
  
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