Sunday 30th September 2001, Takapuna Beach NZ

We arrived at Goat Island Dive bright and early. John played it safe and was not diving today so that his gut might recover from its constriction in yesterday’s tight wetsuit. (Brigid is not complaining, as John has now done 2 more dives that her, and it gives her the chance to catch up.)

The little yellow cat is quite crowded as there are four other divers: Glen and his son, Scott; Peter and Jeff; also dive shop owner, Brian, and trainee Divemaster, Dion; 16 tanks of air; and all the rest of the gear … The intention is for three dives. Peter and Jeff can only stay for two.

While Brian, Jeff, Scott, Glenn, and Peter go off hunting crayfish, Dion takes Brigid ‘sightseeing’. After the weight problems of yesterday, she is given extra lead for her belt. Unfortunately, being a deeper dive, she now sinks like the proverbial stone, and wastes 70 bar of air, trying to achieve neutral buoyancy! John, is rather pleased to be left on the surface in charge of the boat (“I want one!”) and diver roster. Dion got rather a shock on contact with the water. He had forgotten to do up the zip on the back of his drysuit. (A drysuit should be just that. Dry. Most people wear shorts and a t-shirt under them.) John says he shot out of the water … almost quicker than he got in!

No crayfish were found on the first dive, and Brigid decided to keep John company on the boat, while the others poked about under rocks in a second attempt. Peter and Jeff were anxious to get away so, once they were out of the water, Brian started the boat. Dion, cold and wet, with water still swilling around his ankles, eventually surfaced to see us disappearing towards the shore. He was not having a good day.

We dropped the two guys off to hunt for ‘sea-eggs’ with the remains of their air, and returned to the open sea to collect poor Dion. In the end we put him ashore with the others, while we went back to look for scallops.

By now we were feeling hungry, having finished the supplies of custard creams and coffee. But what’s this? Dion has left his lunch behind – a whole chicken, complete with salad! There wasn’t much left of it by the time we had finished.

Soon we were back in the water and Brigid was introduced to the skills of scallop hunting. (If you are lucky, you see them closing their shells slightly as you approach.) Brian did his party trick of eating a raw scallop underwater. (Thanks, but I’d rather keep the reg in my mouth!) Back on the boat, the catch was carefully measured, and undersized scallops were thrown back. We ate a few raw … John wrinkling his nose in mock disgust!

Not wishing to bump into Luke again, we decided to head straight back to Auckland that night. We camped on Takapuna beach, and enjoyed a huge pizza and excellent bottle of New Zealand wine at the Red Dog café.