Woke up feeling not to bad. Check in at the dive shop, go buy lunch, and once again I'm on the way to the islands. This time it's with a different divemaster and skipper. The wind and swell is up so we're unable to dive the wreck of the Tui. The ride out to the islands is very rough. My compatriots from Paihia, Brenda and Paul, are also there again.
The first dive was absolutely amazing - the visibility was incredible at 100+ feet! We went to a new spot called Red Baron Caves. On the dive explored a series of vertical caves. They started at about 20 meters and ran nearly vertical to openings at the surface just inside the island's rocky shore. The result was a beautiful crystal blue light from above and a deep aqua glow from below. There were also tons of yellow and mottled moray eels. In the first cave a big long tailed sting ray swam into the cave to investigate us. Swam along the bay to the point where the current got strong. While deciding to turn back a big school of pink maomao came around the point with another school of bluish / grayish damoiselles - within seconds we were surrounded by two intersecting clouds of color. Also saw two large (5 to 6 inches long) nudiebranchs - pitch black with bright indigo lung feathers. Pretty sure they were having sex, or whatever passes for sex in a marine slug with external lungs. This was one of my favorite dives ever.
The second dive was back at the Gardens (same as the second dive yesterday). The dive was somewhat disappointing. The visibility was half what it was on the first dive and the surface was rough resulting in a lot of surge in the shallow water. We tried to check out a couple caves - one new one, and the one we spent so much time in yesterday - but the conditions were just to rough to stay long. There wasn't any exciting marine life - a couple eels (mottled morays) and some big scorpion fish were about it. It was a nice enough dive, but relative to the other three dives I've done at the Poor Knights it was disappointing.
The ride back was still rough, but not nearly as bad as the way out. Brenda was heading to Auckland and offered a ride so I decided not to stay in Whangarei. Caught the dive van back to the hostel and packed. Brenda picked me up for drive back to Auckland. Had to check four or five hostels before finding space in the suburb of Mt Eden. Had an unexciting diner at Pizza Hut that was delicious in my ravenous state. To bed early.