by Jillian Wilson, photos by Glenn Edney
Keep an eye out. You might get lucky and see a bronze whaler shark, or even twoâ. Skipper Glennâs hint of a possible underwater discovery really gave no inkling of the reality of this dive. The words thrown around afterwards ranged from fantastic, amazing, awesome, blown away, incredible, stunned, to I just donât believe I did that diveâ..
So what was so out of the ordinary on this midwinterâs day? This was an extraordinarily memorable dive, one that will stay with me, detailed and alive, to be taken out and enjoyed, talked about and embroidered, for a long time. Embroidered? No! Thereâs no need to embroider this dive. The reality speaks for itself.
I descended with my buddy to the Cream Gardens, from Glenn and Tiana Edneyâs brand new boat Mazurka, for the first dive of their very first Poor Knights Islands charter trip.
At 28 metres we dove our way past the huge boulder that we were told marked the beginning of bronze whaler territory. I had a feeling of peering frantically, and being frustrated at seeing nothing. And then I saw it! A beautiful bronze whaler shark appeared through the dimness, its striking bronze markings becoming clearer, and then it vanished. But then, another one! And then two more, with three sharks coming in closer for a look at us, and then moving smoothly and effortlessly away.
If that had been all there was to the dive it would have been remarkable, but it was about to get even better. I watched in amazement as more sharks arrived, milling around in front of us, making it hard to see them individually. I had now counted about 10 sharks, but the need to keep an eye on my computerâs no-decompression time started intruding. Just to finish, we moved to the end of the reef, and there in the distance were many more sharks than just 10; maybe 25 or 30 or even more; it was hard to tell. It was not a sight I ever expected to see in New Zealand waters, and I felt totally awestruck. In between them, below and above, and desperately trying to keep out of their way, were numerous large snapper. It was a barely credible sight. I was using my brand new Apex 200 regulator on that dive, but it was no dive for trying out its different settings. The sharks may have looked calm and in control, but I was feeling edgy, and a STOP sign on my computer indicated it was high time to seek shallower waters. The final incident was a big solo shark, stealthily cruising by us from behind at 15 metres, as we made our way back along the reef to the bay. Was he escorting us out of their territory? I was relieved to say goodbye! Minutes later we happily whiled away the safety stop admiring lovely cream gorgonian fans and finding an eyecatching yellow and turquoise Tambja Verconis nudibranch.
Then we were back to the warmth, comfort and friendliness of the motor sailer Mazurka. Glenn and Tiana greeted us with flabbergasted expressions as we gabbled out our tales. There was much high voiced chattering going on as they helped the five of us out of our gear on the well set-up dive deck. A super lunch and coffee followed, to help us unwind. If this is any indication of the standard of dives, and the care and accommodation that can be had on OceanBlue Adventures with Glenn and Tiana Edney, then Iâm lining up for more! What a phenomenal adventure.