The Gods have finally provided conditions where I can get back in the water with my good buddies from PK Dive.  The trip was planned as an exploration adventure, and at last I would be able to conduct some field trials with my latest Buddy Locator prototype.

The weather was overcast with a 1 m swell (maybe 1.5 m by the coast) and chop.  The water temperature was a chilly 14°C.  We headed South, down the coast on Shadowfax in search of a charted coastal marine tunnel guarded by a Taniwhai (aquatic monster or spirit known to Maori).  The swell and surge at the dive site called for a Plan B so we headed NE for a couple of kilometers along a reef running NE from the coast for a deep dive adventure.   I was certainly the newbie on this trip - the other divers were kitted out with twin-sets and trained for staged decompression - when will I ever become a real diver?

Prior to decent one of my Buddy Locators had a problem so I abandoned the test program at the surface, threw them back on board and descended 30 m to the reef on a photo mission.  My new A20 camera housing performed faultlessly, but the visibility was hardly conducive to great photography.  I bothered a few crays, some Moki, Bigeye and Goatfish with the flash.

By the second dive the wind had started to pick up and conditions weren’t improving any.  We headed to the wreck of the ex-Navy frigate Waikato, just south from Tutukaka heads. I’ve dived this wreck before, but it’s big and there’s plenty of it that I have yet to explore.

Having overcome the effects of Lemon and Paeroa (this is not a remedy for sea sickness) Martin had found a mismatch with  his dry suit inflator hose coupling.  Don’t you hate gear problems!   I decided to try and re-run my Buddy Locator trials on the deck of the Waikato.  At 25 m the units failed again so I abandoned the test and set about a detailed inspection of the deck and upper structure of the stern section, photographing jewel anenomies and a few of the other local inhabitants

Again the camera worked well, but I have decided to change to a stiffer shutter/focus control spring to ease focusing - tactile feel through rubber gloves at 25 m is not a happening thing.  And I definitely need to work on my photography technique and get use to the features of the camera.

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