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It was also an amazing year for diving and our return trip to the Galapagos Islands was even better than our previous trip in 2014!
Let me paint a picture – we’re sitting on the liveaboard boat at Darwin Island – over 165 nautical miles north of Galapagos’ main islands, we've crossed the equator overnight and just arrived that morning…
e look out towards Darwin Arch less than 1km away, just down the coast we can see a mother Humpback Whale teaching its baby to slap its tail on the surface, around the boat we count 6 turtles relaxing on the surface, 7 Silky sharks are swimming under the boat, then suddenly a school of Mobula Rays are jumping into the air as they swim past, and the biggest school of dolphin any of us has even seen is in the distance leaping and playing as only they can… this isn’t over the morning – this is all at the same time! To say we were excited to get in the water was the biggest understatement you can imagine… we were all buzzing to get under Darwin Arch!
Heading out towards the arch on one of the two inflatables – our boat driver suddenly yells out “Whale Shark right below us... get ready to go” heart racing gear in place camera in hand, “3, 2, 1, go as the inflatable slows down ahead of the whale shark – we backward roll in – I'm lucky – I'm at the front of the RIB and manage to swim ahead and slowly let her catch up to me and we’re only 3m below the surface! I angle to be above her and swim to get into the pressure wave above her head… always mindful of never touching – and manoeuvring so I'm in the sweet spot. I don’t have to fin as hard – I'm being pulled along with her – it feels amazing, I quickly look back and a couple of divers are still swimming trying to keep up – the others have peeled off towards the arch.
She angles down and takes me on a 9-minute swim to 30m – several Giant Trevally come and join me above her head… they don’t stay long as almost unbelievably she swims through a school of hammerhead sharks!Truly one of the most epic moments I've had underwater in my 36 years of diving! She turns – I'm trying to remember to take pictures but I don’t want to waste this experience looking through the lens… she starts to ascend – too quickly for me to safely stay with her… so I peel off to the side – making sure the Go Pro on top of my camera captures her disappearing up into the blue shallows around the arch… she’s gone – I turn to high five the others (if they're still there) and a second whale shark is 4m away swimming straight towards me! I move up above and out of the way and let her pass underneath me and I swim on her back for the next couple of minutes and realise just how lucky I've been on my first dive at Darwin Arch – and that was just the first 15 minutes!
Over the seven days we’re on board Galapagos Aggressor we swim with hundreds of Hammerheads, Turtles, and many more Whale Sharks – not to mention the Seals, Sealions, Marine Iguana, Sunfish, huge schools of Barracuda – this really is scuba diving heaven… We climb an extinct volcano and get incredible pictures of the wild landscape, we visit the giant tortoises and tour around finding penguins. We eat great food, drinks, and have some late nights playing our new favourite dice game “Zilch” (thanks Willie). This made for another epic trip at what we believe is the greatest big fish dive in the world – Darwin Arch - Galapagos… And yes, we've booked the Galapagos Aggressor for August 2021! Contact Malcolm on 09 444 7698 to book your spot(s)!
We were very proud to recently receive the shop award from PADI Asia Pacific in recognition of "Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry".
Jen Clent PADI Regional Manager for New Zealand presents the award to Malcolm Kidd - MD Dive Centre Ltd.
At the same time Jen also presented Matt Shortall, Dive Centre's long serving Instructor with the "Outstanding Contribution to Diver Training Award" due to his consistent excellent work and issuing almost 200 certifications last year!
Jen Clent PADI Regional Manager for New Zealand presents the award to Matthew Shortall - Dive Centre Ltd Master Instructor.
We also became New Zealand's first PADI Tec Rec Training Centre! Offering a wide range of Technical, Deep, Mixed Gas and Solo Dive courses - Phone Matt Shortall for more info on 09 444 7698 now!
Go deeper and longer than you ever have before!
If you enjoy diving, and want to learn more about the underwater world, learn unique skills and have new adventures, then you will enjoy our range of Specialty Courses.
Diving is a spectacular activity that involves a variety of unique enrironments and conditions as well as many different challenges. Specialty programmes are designed for divers of all qualification and experience levels. You can learn new skills and have a great time by completing a Specialty Course on a type of diving you are interested in.
We have different Specialty courses running each month, so check out the list of courses on the left hand side or look at the schedule and see what's happening next!
The specialty subjects available are as listed below and take between one and two days each to complete. Just phone us on 09 444 7698 or email us now for details!
Not only do you need to know how to safely fill scuba cylinders but also how to keep the air you pump into them free of contaminants and that the scuba cylinders we want to use are safe and within test. This ensures you are certified to fill scuba cylinders in New Zealand.
Diving 300 metres above sea level is nearly always in a lake. Divers need to use altitude correction tables or make adjustments to their computers to compensate for the changes of a lower pressure evironment. Then there are the thermoclines and new animals to see!
Many, if not most dives are performed from boats. Even with certain similarities, not all boats have the same design or protocols for diving. Learn how to dive safely from boats, where to stow your dry/wet gear, nautical terms and something about using ropes is a must. Also where useful items like first aid kits are kept makes you that much more comfortable when diving from boats.
Any depth between 18 metres and 40 metres is defined as a deep dive for any recreational diving activity. Consider diving deeper to going faster in your car. The faster you drive the more concern and caution you need about the way you feel and what your instruments tell you.This is no different when diving. If you wish to dive deeper play it safe and do a course! This weekend away in teh Bay of Islands includes accomodations food and all dives and fills!
Pixels, shutter speed, lenses, strobes … a bit confusing? Learn about the best type of camera and set up for what you want to shoot and how to make those 'gob-smacking' photos!
Want to cover a lot of ground quickly? Hitch a ride with a DPV – but watch out for the rapid pressure changes and the fan that propels you along! There are some do's and don't you need to learn about!!
Diving at speed! Nothing quite like it! Drift diving allows you to see considerably more underwater terrain and marine life than on a regular scuba dive. It saves energy as water movement takes the place of fin action! There are also some countries where drift diving is the norm and no dive vessel is allowed to anchor at dive sites. Because both diver and support vessel are often separated, it makes it very important for the diver to conduct this activity with great care and to enable themselves to be seen and picked up by their support vessel.
Even in the warmer waters of the tropics you can become cool if not insulated correctly. If diving in cold water, a dry suit is the ONLY way to maintain warmth throughout the dive. Thicker wetsuits are useless in comparison – especially at depth.
A must course for diving professionals but equally as important if you might be in a position where you need to look after anyone else. A life could depend on your knowledge.
More divers than ever are using enriched air (nitrox) to increase allowable times at depth. Would you be confident enough without these new skills?
Make no mistake – this type of course for recreational divers is a really smart thing to undergo. This should be a compulsory course for divemasters or those who wish to look after groups of divers. Knowledge gained from this course can get you out of all sorts of simple, easy to solve jams – but it is NOT a full repair technician's course.
When the sun goes down, some animals go to sleep while others wake up. Familiar landscapes sometimes change to make you feel that you are somewhere different. In this environment where the lights can go out, it's important to know the rules and guidelines for this type of diving. Disorientation can be unsafe! Do the course!
We have a precious underwater environment. Please learn to pick your feet up and not crush/damage the animals. Even the most insensitive appearing sites have organisms (some 1,000s of years old) living there (your knees or size 10 fins don't). If your buoyancy control is a bit lousy – at least get tips from someone you've seen that looks pretty good at it. But for a quick and thorough fix, do this course. You may save someone's (helpless organism's) life!
Lost a ring or something you want back? Whether it's heavy or light, in clear or dirty water, this is the course to help you with knowing how to find what you're after. You might find other great finds also - like old bottles that don't go too badly as flower vases or just plain old (often literally) conversation pieces!
It's a good thing to be able to dive alone and know that you have virtually every chance of getting back safely without the assistance of a buddy. That needs special training and equipment. To do this course you need to be well experienced with proof of at least 100 logged dives.
Sidemount diving presents divers with a different approach to equipment configuration and diving techniques to master. Its benefits include ease of streamlining, easier equipment transport, versatility, increased gas supply, accessibility and is particularly useful in tight spaces (like cave and cavern diving).
Bugs, beetles, fish and other animals. I've always found that it's easier to get close to nature underwater than on land. And what a lot of nature! Even in the dullest shallowest, grubbiest dives you can always find animals to grab your attention. This course goes into the do's and dont's of how we should interact with this environment and also gives a lot of tips on where to find things.
Starting on land just to get the hang of it, underwater navigation then graduates to low visibility water with plenty of turns that try to confuse you. This course gives you the confidence to get back to where you started from and have a fairly good idea as to where you are at any point throughout the dive.
Whether it's the history or the marine life that ends up calling them home, wrecks are utterly fascinating. Even so, there are hazards to be aware of, often with legal and social considerations to be accounted for such as whether entry is forbidden or sensible in the first place.