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10 Campbell St, Whitianga,3510

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JUL

28

Winter Diving

Posted by Dive Zone Whitianga

It’s that time of year when putting on a wetsuit & jumping in the ocean doesn’t seem that appealing to most people. Staff & Students at Dive Zone aren’t most people! and winter diving for us means clearer water, less boat traffic & an abundance of fish life regenerating after the summer peak. It also means migration for the whales, moving from the cold waters to the warm tropical waters. We have been privileged to see Orca’s & Humpback Whales this winter season, plus dived with dolphins.

For all you keen hunter gatherers out there, Crayfish – Soft & in Berry, but what does this mean?

Soft; Crayfish discard their outgrown shell and have a brief ‘soft’ phase as the new shell absorbs water and swells as it hardens.  They are very vulnerable to predators during this time and you are not allowed to harvest them. It takes a little while for the shell to fully harden, so use good personal judgement & read the fisheries rules for what constitutes a soft or hard shell.

In Berry; the females produce eggs that they hold under their tail for months after fertilization before being released as larvae. The number of eggs produced is directly proportionate to the size of the female cray.

All females will tend to be in berry at the same time and it’s obviously best to leave them alone during this period. 

The boys are still fair game though and you can tell them apart without grabbing them by looking at the size of the front legs, which are much bigger on the males.

So dont be thinking winter is the time to hang up your wetsuit.  Just see one of our Dive Zone stores at either Bay of Islands, Whitianga or Tauranga, for some great insulating layers and GetIntoIt!  There is plenty to be enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

JUL

22

New Zealand Seahorses

Posted by Dive Zone Tauranga

When you think of Seahorses, you are forgiven for assuming that they are only found in exotic destinations with clear, warm waters.  But in reality, they are much closer to home, living in harbours, bays and sheltered reefs all around New Zealand.  Our local waterways are home to Hippocampus abdominalis or Pot Belly Seahorse, one of the world’s largest species, which can grow up to 35cm in length.

The team at Dive Zone Tauranga are lucky enough to have a couple of local dive sites where you can see these intriguing creatures on almost every dive … but the tricky part is actually finding them!  Seahorses use their prehensile tail to grip onto their surroundings, preventing them from being swept away by strong currents or waves.  While they range in colour from light grey to black, most are yellow or brown which is perfect for camouflage.   

The unique thing about Seahorses is the reversal of the birthing parent.  The female broods the eggs before they are deposited into the males pouch for him to fertilise.  He nourishes the eggs until they hatch, which can take 24 - 50 days, then gives birth to an average of 270 live offspring known as ‘fry’.   

Seahorses are very distinctive in shape with a protruding belly & a tube-like snout which is used like a straw to suck up their food.  They spend considerable time searching amongst seaweed for small crustaceans, fish eggs and larvae, and will eat up to 40 times a day!  Their already excellent eyesight is further enhanced because their eyes operate independently.  This enables them to look forward with one eye & backwards with the other, making the search for tasty treats even easier.

They are poor swimmers, propelling themselves through the water by beating the dorsal fin on their back, and their pectoral fins located on either side of their head provide stability & steering. 

Next time you’re out for a dive, take time to stop and explore the reef to discover these fascinating creatures for yourself.

APR

08

How to Avoid 5 Common Diving Problems

Posted by Dive Zone Tauranga

We all strive to be the best divers we can be.  But, let’s face it, we’re not perfect!

The good news is that with a little knowledge & practice, the following common mistakes can be easily avoided:

DISREGARDING HEALTH & FITNESS

Few people enjoy perfect health for their entire lives, but adopting a healthy lifestyle when you’re young, can help postpone ailments associated with aging.

Prior to diving, it’s important to take an honest assessment of whether you are medically fit to dive.  Be vigilant for signs of acute illness (like congestion) & familiarize yourself with the risks & essential precautions associated with any chronic diseases.

NEGLECTING PROPER GEAR MAINTENANCE

Dive equipment is your life-support system.  Each time you dive, you are venturing into a fascinating, but also unforgiving environment, so make sure you are diving with a set of properly functioning equipment.

Rinse your equipment after every dive & clean it after each trip before storage.  Allow it to dry completely in a cool, shady & well-ventilated area, & ensure it is stored away from extreme temperatures, dust & dirt.  Regularly monitor your equipment for signs of wear, & check the hoses for leaks & cracking.

LACK OF BUOYANCY CONTROL

It’s not surprising that the most common injuries among divers are related to buoyancy issues ... barotraumas, uncontrolled ascents, marine life injuries & more could all be prevented with some practice & attention to detail.

Inefficient buoyancy control can result in descending deeper than planned, altering the intended dive profile & increasing air consumption. Constant adjustments to your buoyancy control device can also affect air consumption.

Most marine life injuries result from unintentional contact between a diver & the marine life.  Proper buoyancy control is essential to protect yourself & the environment.
 

INSUFFICIENT DIVE PLANNING

One of the most important pre-dive steps is dive planning.  Dive plans don’t have to be complicated or inflexible, but they are essential to prevent and manage diving incidents.  Learn as much as possible in advance about any dive site you plan to dive including depths, currents, surfacing techniques, boat traffic etc, & remember to inform someone who is not coming on your trip about your dive plan, & when you expect to be back.

Prior to your dive, make sure you & your buddy are familiar with the dive plan. Discuss contingencies should conditions change during your dive.  Establish the maximum depth, maximum bottom time & minimum air supply to terminate the dive.

DIVING BEYOND YOUR TRAINING

Never stop developing your diving abilities.  There is always more to learn — how to dive new environments, further refinement of your skills, how to use new types of equipment etc.  No matter where your diving adventures take you, make sure you are equipped with the proper training.

Remember that your certification only qualifies you for the same diving conditions & environment in which you were trained, so take it easy.  And, if you’re not having fun, or you don’t feel good about the dive, don’t do it.  This is especially important when diving in new conditions such as cold water or limited visibility, or when using new equipment.

There’s always something new to learn & ways to improve your technique, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned diver or a complete novice.  All of our three Dive Zone stores have passionate, professional Instructors who can guide you on your journey to becoming a better, more confident diver.

FEB

11

Summer Fun

Posted by Kelly @ Dive Zone BOI

While many around NZ have been complaining of poor weather over the summer the three Dive Zone sites have been blessed!!

Long, hot summer days week after week have meant countless opportunities to get out and in the water. All three stores have had record busy seasons with full Padi dive courses and Padi Freedive training growing fast too. The summer looks like being a long one so get out an enjoy it and if you have been toying with the idea of learning to dive or improve your freedive skills - now is the time! The water tends to be considerably warmer during February and March than at any other time.

I recently put a couple of our staff through a Padi Freedive course. Tess and Serena were both keen spearfisher persons but wanted to improve their breathold time and increase their chance of landing bigger fish

There are three levels - Freediver, Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver. Tess and Serena completed the first level. The Freediver course comprised two days of pool and ocean sessions. On the second day both were able to comfortably reach the max depth of 16m. More importantly than the depth was their confidence they could comfortably reach that depth and stay there. Previously they were hovering around the 8-10m mark and were unable to stay long. Big improvement!!

 

If you or friends have considered freediving or want to improve contact the Dive Zone stores and get into it! 

Below are some images of the team while out having a bit of fun the week after the course - proof is in the results!!

   

AUG

27

Winter Diving

Posted by Dive Zone Tauranga

As the temperature drops and the ocean cools, a lot of New Zealand divers pack away their dive gear and head to the slopes for some alternative winter activities.  But have you ever been tempted to brave the cold to explore the underwater world during winter months?

The water may be cold, but the ocean is alive with all kinds of sea creatures, some of which only appear during winter.  Visibility can be excellent, and if it’s raining, well you’re going to get wet anyway.  

After the initial shock of cold when entering the water, the temperature becomes unimportant as you immerse yourself in the hive of activity surrounding you.

One way to compensate for the cold is by using a drysuit.  This is quite different from diving in the more common wetsuit, but it opens up a range of new and exciting dives.  Drysuits can be made of various materials - the most common types are trilaminate, crushed or compressed neoprene.  The suit acts as a barrier from the water, and the air inside becomes a layer of insulation.  Base layers worn under the drysuit enable the diver to stay warm even in near freezing conditions.

The staunch wetsuit diver is not without options though.  Adding additional thermal layers under their suit can be an effective way to battle the cold.  There are some awesome products on the market like Sharkskin, Smartskin and neoprene hooded vests. 

The thickness and the fit of your wetsuit are equally important.  The suit needs to be thick enough to provide adequate protection, and most kiwi divers find that a 7mm suit does the job during winter.  The suit should fit snugly to prevent heat loss, as a loosely fitting suit will allow water to flush through, taking your much needed body heat with it. 

Don’t forget that we lose an incredible amount of heat through our head, so be sure to include a hood as a winter diving gear essential.

We have some awesome diving in the upcoming months, so make sure you check out our trip schedule and join the Dive Zone crew for some wicked winter diving. 

Additional trips are arranged through each individual store, which you can check out here:

Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Whitianga