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Discover diving in New Zealand

The intriguing island nation of New Zealand is a land full of mountainous beauty, Māori legends, and excellent diving. Surrounded by the ocean on all sides, New Zealand boasts spectacular coastlines filled with pristine marine reserves filled with life. If the hundreds of dive sites littering New Zealand’s coastline are not enough for you, there are many small secluded offshore islands to explore as well. Although the water is colder here, New Zealand offers some of the best diving in the world, with phenomenal kelp forests, fantastic drop-offs, colorful sub-tropical reefs, and awe-inspiring shipwrecks. What are you waiting for? Come explore what New Zealand diving is all about.

Double Cove Marine Reserve

Double Cove is a marine reserve located in the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. This site is ideal for beginners and training, as it is quite sheltered with depths from 9 down to 18m. Entry to the water is by boat or small jetty.

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Jones Bay is fantastic for learning to dive. It has a sandy sloping bottom with plenty of shellfish. There is also a significant reef structure to the right of the bay that provides shelter from the current.

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Mathesons Bay is a sheltered bay that is perfect for diving! Divers can easily enter and exit the water via the beach or over the rock platform if the tide is right.

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Great training site and suitable to dive year round. A sunken dingy at 11m is a good objective for the dive. Lake Rotoma was formed within the Rotoma caldera when lava flows from a large crater explosion blocked its outlet 9,500 years ago.

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Great site for training, has some great cliff faces and a circular rock structure made by divers as a reference point. Bottom topography can be silted if disturbed, good buoyancy is a must at this site.

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Ti Point is a great beginners dive site! It is an easy site to access with a concrete ramp and wharf that can be used to enter and exit the water.

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HMNZS Canterbury (Wreck)

The HMNZS Canterbury was decommissioned at the end of March 2005 and was scuttled on 3 November 2007 at Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands, making for a great artificial reef wreck dive.

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Five Mile Bay

Good parking, onsite toilets, grass area to set up. Easy shore entry on sand extending for 50mtr off shore leading to a gentle slope extending down to 27mtr+. Water clarity generally good on sand area, some silt on drop off. Easy site to Navigate.

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Orca Bay

Orca Bay is a sheltered bay with a deep wall that drops to 20m+ it then slopes down to 35m+ further into the bay. There are small pinnacles dotted around the bay that provide shelter to a large variety of sea life!

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Discover the world’s most fascinating aquatic life

Aquatic life under our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams is amazing! From microscopic zooplankton to the largest animal on earth, the blue whale, underwater life comes in all possible shapes and sizes. With 71% of the earth being covered with water, it is no wonder we are so fascinated with what lies beneath the surface. In fact, scientists estimate that there are nearly 1 million different species of aquatic animals. Freshwater ecosystems are home mainly to fish, invertebrates, and reptiles, whereas the ocean contains a wide array of marine life including fish, mollusks, crustaceans, reptiles, sharks, and marine mammals like whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whales are the greatest acrobats and singers among all the whales. They enjoy breeching, propelling their massive bodies out of the water and falling back in with a huge splash, slapping the water’s surface with their fins, and spyhopping. In addition to the sporty performances of these animals, their singing talent is second to none. One of the most magical moments that can be experienced by any scuba diver is to actually listen to the beautiful symphony of humpback whales while diving underwater. Their songs are very unique because they consist of complex, individual stanzas that repeat themselves. Humpback calves are even known to “whisper” to their mothers.

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Bottlenose Dolphin

Charismatic, curious, cute, and smart are all reasons the bottlenose dolphin is the most well-known of the dolphins. The upward curvature of their mouths gives them the appearance of always smiling and their extreme intelligence makes them the easiest cetacean to train. Combine this with their friendly looks and it’s no wonder why they are the stars of most aquarium shows and many Hollywood movies. Not only do people have access to viewing them at most aquariums around the world, they are also the most common dolphin found in the wild, living in temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical waters all around the globe in almost every type of habitat.

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Sea lions are pinnipeds that are easily recognizable by their external ear flaps, cute, pointy nose, long, puffed up chest, and their ability to walk on all fours. Some of the more popular sea lion species are the California sea lion and the Steller sea lion. These fast, agile swimmers can reach up to 30 knots underwater and are very curious about the world around them. In fact, sea lions are not afraid of scuba divers in the least and have been known to buzz right around a group of divers, blow bubbles at them, and even chewing on their snorkels and fins.

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The mako shark has an incredibly special skin structure that allows it to swim up to 80 km/h, making them the fastest fish in the world. Due to its speed, they can cover enormous distances of up to 55 km per day and can actually jump up to 9 meters out of the water! These animals can be found throughout the world’s oceans in both tropical and temperate waters.

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One of the most fascinating fish on the reef, moray eels come in nearly every size and color from the tiny, bright blue ribbon eel, the smallest averaging only 25 cm long, to the black speckled giant moray which can grow up to 4 meters in length! In fact, there are nearly 200 different species. Most morays are marine dwelling fish, but several species have been seen in brackish water, and just a few are found in fresh water. They are clearly distinguishable from the other reef fish with their long, slithering bodies, pointy snouts full of sharp teeth, and long dorsal fins that run the entire length of their bodies. No matter the species, these animals are always an exciting site to see while scuba diving.

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Not to be confused with the freshwater angelfish of the Amazon Basin, marine angelfish are brilliantly colored and live on the warm, shallow water reefs of the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific Oceans. This beautiful family of reef fish consists of about 86 different species, the most well-known being queen, king, french, royal, and grey angelfish. With their large, laterally compressed bodies, small, up-turned mouths, and bright colors, they are hard to miss and a favorite sighting for most divers.

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Despite their protruding teeth, menacing grin, and aggressive predatory status, barracuda are actually completely passive towards divers and snorkelers, although passing by a large adult can still be intimidating to the most experienced scuba diver. They are found in tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world, preferring to cruise over coral reefs, seagrass beds, and near the surface of the water, never venturing very deep; therefore, they are commonly sighted while scuba diving.

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The second largest group of animals after the phylum Arthropoda, mollusks are a group of soft bodied invertebrates with about 130,000 species worldwide. They encompass an extremely diverse group of creatures including snails, bivalves like mussels, clams, scallops, and oysters, and cephalopods like squids and octopuses, just to name a few! Mollusks can be found in the sea, on land, and in fresh water. Despite common features, each of these groups has its own distinctive characteristics.

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Check out incredible moments water enthusiasts like you experience every day with SSI

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