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97 Wairau Road
Ph: +64 9 444 7698
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!
Read the trip report below!
Galapagos Trip Report: Once in a Lifetime Dive Trip!
Text & Images by Malcolm & Barbara Kidd
The two days flying and sitting around airports with barely any sleep are forgotten...
The earthquake we experienced in the Santiago Airport is but a distant memory…
The 17 hour crossing on our liveaboard dive boat from the main island to get here is not even in my mind...
I’m sitting just 14m underwater on a shelf on the southern side of Wolf Island in the Galapagos looking at something I’ve waited my whole life to see... schooling Hammerheads... not just a few... hundreds!
Apart from the hundreds of Hammerhead’s parading in front of us, there are curious Galapagos sharks (looking more intimidating than the hammerheads), schools of the biggest eagle rays we’ve ever seen circling so close we could touch them, cruising turtles, and so many fish that they photo bomb the photos we’re trying to take of the sharks. This really is a diver’s dream and enough to make even decades-experienced divers beam with joy and wax lyrical about all they saw once back on board the boat.I eventually stop taking pictures on my new camera system, stop shooting video through the GoPro attached on top, and I just let myself take it all in... I’m underwater in the Galapagos Islands and they’re here! It was the start of an amazing 8 days of diving and land tours that we’d planned for almost two years and saved for just as long.
Galapagos isn’t easy – it’s one of the hardest dive sights to get to, and the conditions are not perfect flat calm diving like your normal tropical destinations. But all that is forgotten when you hit the water – and for a kiwi diver it feels familiar and even looks similar to many Hauraki Gulf Islands both above and below the water (apart from the inhabitants!)
The reason it’s such good diving is that there are seven different oceanic currents that hit the Galapagos, but the main one is the largest upwelling system in the world, called the “Humboldt” cold water current. This is the most productive on earth with almost 20% of all fish caught on the planet bathed by its flow! This, combined with warm tropical currents, is why there’s so much life here and why we have to be prepared for temperature ranges of 14 – 25 degrees underwater!
We visit an island to see Land Iguana’s and are amazed at how close we can get without startling them – great pictures are almost embarrassingly easy! Sea Lions lie ignoring you on the sand while you take pictures of “Blue Footed Boobies” (yes, that is their real name!) performing mating rituals and making nests and tending to eggs while Frigate birds with huge red waddles try and attract mates in front of beaming people glued to their cameras! We look out to sea and watch acres of dolphin leap and play in the water surrounding the island – this place is just so full of life you don’t know where to look or point the camera!
Then we’re back to the main boat to travel another 6-7 hours north to Darwin Island and more importantly Darwin’s Arch. For me, this is the focus of the trip – it can make or break the whole two weeks if they’re not there!
I shouldn’t have worried... 4 minutes into the first dive – the guide suddenly frantically signals and points before disappearing as fast as he can into the blue. We follow, kicking as fast as we can – all scared we won’t see her... But there she is – a 15m pregnant Whale Shark – she’s huge (even for a Whale Shark!). And we get closer than I thought we would – I get so close I’m being pulled along in her slipstream, and I can slow my kicking right down and glide with her like I’m a remora. One of the coolest moments I’ve ever had underwater!
I look to my buddies and they’re all having a blast, I look to the huge schools of big eye Trevalley, the Hammerhead and Galapagos Sharks in the distance, the Turtle posing for pictures, and the millions of other fish that surround us all at once and think... This is what diving is all about!
We end up seeing a total of 14 Whale Sharks during our dives at Darwin’s Arch and on the last dive – like most trip organisers before me – I have a quiet sigh of relief that it’s all been so amazing... then I turn back to my camera before I miss the next shot. You can never have too many Whale Shark pictures!
We're back from the Galapagos Islands now and it was the best dive trip we've ever done! There is something we got wrong though... “Once in a Lifetime” isn’t correct - we are so going back!
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.