13 October (Black Saturday) and two whole weeks with no diving - what will become of me!  This weekend my good buddies at PK Dive suffered my company again for another dive on the Waikato and a coastal cray mission just North of Tutukaka heads.

The water was around 13°C and visibility was at best 10 m.  I must talk my bank manager into a dry-suit allowance.  There was no appreciable swell and the slightest chop in the morning.  The NW wind continued to pick up as the day progressed but our afternoon dive was sheltered by the coast.

The first dive was to 31 m to check out my rebuilt buddy locators on the sand on the Southern side of the Waikato stern section.    The problem with testing at 30 odd metres is that no decompression limits are significantly less than my air consumption.  The devices performed well with no leaks or other disasters.  I managed one ranging test (but without a string line) and some background noise observations before heading up to the deck above for some more ranging tests and photo opportunities.  Click here to see a movie showing the background noise readings.

The second dive was a cray mission.  I found two cray nests - a concept that until this day I had only heard about.  They were everywhere and for the first time I got to pick and choose dinner.  If only I hadn’t lent my lucky catch bag to Martin!.  I managed to jamb three crays into a net bag that I was using to lug my test gear around.  This made further testing of the Buddy Locator difficult to say the least.  There was limited marine life diversity but I did see some large red Moki and an assortment of Goatfish.  A couple of my A20 camera control buttons stuck on during the second dive - possibly due to a change in lubricant and the cold water.  I’m working on a fix to this problem by reverting from Silicone grease to the proprietary rubber lubricant that I’d used on the Pentax 750Z housing.

Click on Thumbs to view photos.  My thanks to Alan Morrision for allowing me to post some of his images.