Barrier trip 14 /3/10
Aboard were Shane, Ross, Chris, Paul, Fatima (excuse the spelling)
We left Whitianga marina at about 7pm after seeing half the NZ traffic force on the journey up. Headed to the Mercs for a roast chicken meal a couple of beers and some fine wine.
Up early the next morning for a scollie dive close to home bay easy dive with a limit bag good viz and some fish life. Left for Rosalie bay in about 25 knots of south west (poms forecast) should have stuck with mine. Set lures for some bait and immediately had a triple strike of sea going Kawai; unfortunately that was it for the crossing to the Barrier. Chris had a dive with pom in close with poor result, whilst Ross and I dived a reef about 200m off shore a depth of 8 m to 21m we separated and searched the reef with mixed results until meeting at our rendezvous where we found a nice nest in a rock face. It was there that the hook trophy was won, as Ross was the SENIOR diver I decided that he could make the catch with my assistance!!!In the end my assistance was needed as the Cray ended up with a better hold on Ross than Ross had on him!!
We then headed north to Homunga bay for a short fish and a nice meal a few beers a couple of wines!! And a night’s sleep in the shelter of the bay.
The next morning dawned with the wind eased off a touch a quick breaky and set the set line and a spot of drifting. We caught a few on the rods, with most coming on the set line.
We then set sail for Arid Island and a spot of prospecting after finding a very likely dive sight a pinnacle rising from 25m to 8m on the nor western side of the island close to the arch, Ross, Chris and Myself geared up and hit the water the viz was 10 to 15m with plenty of fish life and a nice Cray feeding current unfortunately after half a tank Chris and I decided there were no crays on this particular rock even though there were numerous hideholes and good country. So we bailed out to save our tanks for another dive. Ross spent his whole tank and covered the area pretty thoroughly and only sighted 2 small bugs.
Next dive sight was in the shelter of the only anchorage at arid (sorry forgot the name) so while Ross and the others prepared lunch Chris and I blew the rest of our air in 3 to 8 m of water. With a few nice bugs in the bag we had lunch and the decision was made to head around the top of the island to whangaparapara bay to fill our bottles and get out of the f------ wind.
After an hour or so steaming we passed wellington head and stopped at another likely looking spot where Ross and Chris geared up and hit the water this proved a very good spot although the current and the kelp wore the oldies out a good number of bugs came aboard .We then headed to whangaparapara to drop of the bottles and yet more good food, beer and wine.
Day 3 dawned and again it was an early rise, and after a bit of minor plumbing work, followed by breakfast we picked up our bottles and headed into a calm 20 knots of southwester. Then headed north to a sheltered scollie spot which was in the lee of the island and out of the wind and pom and myself were selected to provide the scallops of the day which we duly did in 15m of water plenty of scallops and good viz.
We then headed north to The Broken Islands for some shelter and another couple of dives with pom and myself blowing the rest of our tanks a another likely spot which held a lot of small crays but only two worth taking, again another great spot with plenty of good country but no bugs.
We then shifted to another island with the old boys hitting the water and coming back with some nice bugs. With a couple of hours till dark we decided not to head back to whangaparapara and did some more fishing until our friend the wind stopped us and we headed to a sheltered bay and some well deserved beers, wines and food.
Woke early today so we could get our dives and some fishing done light breaky and no plumbing issues so we even made a start at 7.30 for the first dive a few bays north of tryphena Ross and I dived the northern point working our way south with not a lot of success he decided to poach “Rays” hole and found a few bugs whilst I ventured south and came across Chris who pointed south and as he worked the deeper line I went shallow 4 to 8 m came across a few bugs and ended up with a nice bag of 5 bugs a couple of reasonable size. No time to pause for breath, scollie time at Chris’s secret spot easy limit of scollies with enough air left for a short shallow Cray dive. But first a short fishing session across the tryphena harbour entrance 3 or 4 fish off the set line and a drift before our friend the wind upset our plans again not before we had a short entertaining session with Chris claiming biggest fish at 12 lbs!!A quick trip down the coast and a few more bugs for the bag. I had a largely scenic dive found 1 bug worth keeping to top my daily limit off and found a large boulder 15 m bottom to 2 m top very spectacular and with a good amount of fish life and even a terikihi mooching around .
We then set sail for home slowing down at pink beach for a quick lunch and clean up arriving at Whitianga 6 pm.Thanks again to pom and the rest of the crew for a great trip to the Barrier cheers Shane