• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Poor Knights Liveaboard - with Photog Richie Robinson

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by diveChiq, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. diveChiq

    diveChiq Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Auckland, New Zealand
    This weekend, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the Poor Knights Islands with a great group of people - and professional Photojournalist Richard Robinson.

    I was not feeling too sure of the results of my photographic efforts after flooding my camera and housing on Wednesday, but a huge thank you goes out to Stacy from Aquanaut who actually lent me a camera and housing (compatible with my strobe) so that I could participate in all the workshops and thus the competition. My buddy for the weekend was my fabulous friend Marcia who has an eye for angles and dives the same as I do - not very far and not very fast.

    We started the weekend on Landing Bay Pinnacle. There was not lot of lift and the visibility was reasonable. We dropped down to our maximum depth and slowly headed up and around the pinnacle. I spent a lot of time photographing the base of holdfast kelp and trying to set up some shots that would look good in black and white. Towards the end of the dive, I found some lovely and bright Solitary corals which are my favourites from this dive. Eventually, we both needed a bathroom break and it became apparent that we had not even made it halfway around the pinnacle as we needed to swim 180 degrees back to the boat.

    We headed up to Cleanerfish Bay which was looking calm with some nice natural light. Marcia and I decided we would head out over the boulders just to the edge of the bay. It was here that I found my Cadlina Willani. We spent a good half an hour on the edges of the boulders before deciding to turn around - it felt like we were nearly at the corner of the bay 100m away - turns out we were only 15m or so from the boat. We headed up into the back of the bay to check out the walls of the cave. Sitting on the sea bed at the entrance to the cave were some lovely fat Gem Nudibranchs (Dendrodoris denisoni).

    Back on the boat, Richie was spending time with each of the photographers onboard. We had enough laptops and memory cards for him to take a look at the photographs being taken and answer questions on composition and workflow and also make recommendations on lighting. Even five minutes with Richie made the trip worthwhile.

    The sun was getting low in the sky so we cruised into Middle Arch. We were going to spend the night here and some of us wanted to go for a dusk dive and some of us wanted to go for a night dive. By the time Marcia and I descended down the wall, our dusk dive turned into a night dive. We were not planning to be down long - but this quickly changed. It is so different at night! A 10m x 10m location turns into an enthralling experience. Two firebrick starfish, a large scorpionfish, Tamja verconis, yellow anemones - and my strobe battery was flat. I experimented with torch light as a focus light and also as back lighting but in the end it didnt really matter - we could dive this site again in the morning and in the mean time, I could just enjoy my postage stamp size piece of wall!!

    After Marks classic (and very VERY delicious) lamb shanks, Richie set up a presentation on his photographs and talked through lighting and composition examples. He talked through the benefits of natural lighting and how to use what is available. He also talked about strobe position so the next time you are out on a dive trip and some photographer has their strobes pointed backwards or upside down or behind the viewer, they have probably done the Richie Robinson Photographic Tour.

    The kettle starting boiling ... the toaster perfumed the air ... I looked at my dive computer - it was twenty to seven in the morning. Time to get up!! Morning dive time!!
    My favourite dive of any liveaboard is the Sunday morning dive. Marcia and I hit the water before 8am and I headed straight back to the size of the wall to see if my starfish was there. Sweet - he was still hanging out. I took Suzy and Anna up into the air bubble in Bernies Cave and then let them know that Marcia and I were headed through the arch on a deeper dive. We stopped and let the longtail stingray pass and then continued down through the boulders to play 'touch the sand' on the other side. Marcia was quite narc'ed - we were diving on EANx34 - and we both had silly grins on our faces.
    Coming back up, we let the slight movement of water and just our breathing carry us up slowly. Two giant boarfish were playing a game of tag on our right and we stopped for a few moments to enjoy their spiritedness. We got back into the arch and it was pretty empty. I went back to my starfish and set up the shots that I wanted.

    Our next dive was at another of my favourite sites - Marys Wall. Pete Snookes jumped in with Marcia and I and played Wrasse wrangler. He sat on the bottom at the start of the wall and knocked rocks together so Marcia could shoot their faces. I spent time with the fans on the wall. In a previous dive there, I had taken a shot that I was pleased with but after talking with Richie, I had a new plan for lighting.

    We had a group of three longtail stingrays cruising around throughout the whole dive and although I dont have a lot to write - this was the BEST dive of the whole weekend for me and I ended my dives here.

    Dive Data
    Landing Bay Pinnacle : Depth 25.9m | Time 62mins | Visibility 12m | Temperature 19°C
    Cleanerfish Bay : Depth 21.2m | Time 64mins | Visibility 15m | Temperature 20°C
    Middle Arch : Depth 16.6m | Time 45mins | Visibility Night | Temperature 19°C
    Middle Arch : Depth 36.5m | Time 61mins | Visibility 15m | Temperature 19°C
    Marys Wall : Depth 25.8m | Time 53mins | Visibility 12m | Temperature 19°C

    Attached Files:

  2. flyfishscubadive

    flyfishscubadive ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Mansfield, TX

    The photos are AMAZING!! I just got back from my trip to the Red Sea, and people just can't believe that New Zealand has such beautiful colours. You have the best-kept secret in the world, IMHO.

    I was able to achieve my AOW on my trip to the Red Sea, and I had a great time. My trip to NZ is still burning in my memory like a hot coal. I know in my heart that I need to spend more time there to really enjoy the beauty of the country and the surrounding oceans, especially PKI.

    Your post is very informative. I envy your experience. I also can't say 'Thank you' enough for the experience I had while I was there. You're a sweetheart!

  3. ibj40

    ibj40 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Texas
    Do you have a link to the liveaboard provider? We (wife and I) are planning a trip to visit some friends in NZ next year, and would love to hook up with a dive op to do the Poor Knights. Our friends live in Christchurch, but we are "tropical" divers.

    Great write-up, and really wonderful pictures!

  4. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Instructor, Scuba

    There are a few operators that do liveaboards:

    Ocean Blue

    Pacific Hideaway NZ

    There is a third boat, Norseman, that does liveaboards. Website is www.divepoorknights.com, but it seems to be down right now.

    If you are a small group, my suggestion would be Ocean Blue. It's a smaller boat than Pacific Hideaway and you can probably just book it outright for you and your friends.
  5. marzum01

    marzum01 Registered


    Congratulations on the very well taken photos - I can't imagine how terrific it must be to have the opportunity to do a liveaboard at Poor Knights together with a professional underwater photographer! Was that just a coincidence when you met Richard, or did you actually sign up for an actual photographic workshop with the liveaboard as venue?

    The amazing thing about Poor Knights is that as you descend, you see rocky terrains and magnificent fish life, but as soon as you scrutinise things at micro level then there's sooooo much more to see on these otherwise seemingly boring rocks!


Share This Page