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Scuba Diving in New Zealand
Dive Site: Lion Rock (Whakaari)
Location: Entrance to Port Charles, Purerua Peninsula
Depth: Drop offs to 27 metres (89 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)
Whakaari is the name given to Lion Rock by the Te Kawerau a Maki tribe. It is a large volcanic pinnacle sticking up out of the sea, forming some interesting shapes under water. Dived from a boat, the rocky seabed is covered in kelp with large areas of sand undulating between 12 and 16 metres depth. The rocks form gullies and swim-throughs which are home to numerous black sand rays. There can be some strong currents here which change as you swim around the boulders. At the side of lion rock you can gaze up from the seabed at the white breakwater overhead as it churns against the surface rock. The kelp and water conditions are very characteristic of diving from the south coast of the UK in the summer months.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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