For people who hate getting their feet wet technology is making it possible to enjoy the mysteries of the deep without leaving your warm, comfy couch.
An innovative Wellington diver keen to share the marine life of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve on the city’s southern coast has created a virtual dive tour of the area making the underwater world as close as your desktop, or Virtual Reality viewer and phone: adventure360.co.nz
Nicole Miller, President of the Wellington Underwater Club and member of the Reserve Trust, has turned video footage from her dives into 360 videos including close-ups of the HMNZS Wellington wreck sunk there in 2005.
Virtual reality now lets people swim around the ship’s bridge past the Captain’s toilet with the video showing how the marine environment is slowly encrusting the ship. “On just about every dive we discover something exciting – marine life or historic artefacts. We are so lucky to have this marine wonderland right at our doorstep,” Nicole says. “It’s a veritable seaweed garden full of weird plants and wildlife.”
In her videos you get up close and personal with a Banded Wrasse, come eye ball to eye ball with a big Blue Cod, and flirt with a little Blue Eyed Triplefin.
“There are just so many little critters around,” Nicole says. “This is probably the only city in the world with a protected marine reserve right on its doorstep so easy to get to. Take a bus, or your car to Island Bay then follow the critters painted on the pavements to the Island Bay aquarium at the start of the snorkel trail. It’s super accessible.”
Fellow diver and penguin monitor Celia Wade-Brown says: “Forwardlooking “biophilic” cities care about their local environment on land and sea, and less pollution and more support for local groups working in this area adds up to a huge overall impact.”
“The virtual dive tour is a great starting point for others to get interested in our home, and for Wellingtonians themselves to get interested in the wider marine environment.”