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97 Wairau Road
Ph: +64 9 444 7698
We were very proud to recently receive the shop award from PADI Asia Pacific in recognition of "Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry".
Jen Clent PADI Regional Manager for New Zealand presents the award to Malcolm Kidd - MD Dive Centre Ltd.
At the same time Jen also presented Matt Shortall, Dive Centre's long serving Instructor with the "Outstanding Contribution to Diver Training Award" due to his consistent excellent work and issuing almost 200 certifications last year!
Jen Clent PADI Regional Manager for New Zealand presents the award to Matthew Shortall - Dive Centre Ltd Master Instructor.
We also became New Zealand's first PADI Tec Rec Training Centre! Offering a wide range of Technical, Deep, Mixed Gas and Solo Dive courses - Phone Matt Shortall for more info on 09 444 7698 now!
Go deeper and longer than you ever have before!
Read the trip report below!
Galapagos Trip Report: Once in a Lifetime Dive Trip!
Text & Images by Malcolm & Barbara Kidd
The two days flying and sitting around airports with barely any sleep are forgotten...
The earthquake we experienced in the Santiago Airport is but a distant memory…
The 17 hour crossing on our liveaboard dive boat from the main island to get here is not even in my mind...
I’m sitting just 14m underwater on a shelf on the southern side of Wolf Island in the Galapagos looking at something I’ve waited my whole life to see... schooling Hammerheads... not just a few... hundreds!
Apart from the hundreds of Hammerhead’s parading in front of us, there are curious Galapagos sharks (looking more intimidating than the hammerheads), schools of the biggest eagle rays we’ve ever seen circling so close we could touch them, cruising turtles, and so many fish that they photo bomb the photos we’re trying to take of the sharks. This really is a diver’s dream and enough to make even decades-experienced divers beam with joy and wax lyrical about all they saw once back on board the boat.I eventually stop taking pictures on my new camera system, stop shooting video through the GoPro attached on top, and I just let myself take it all in... I’m underwater in the Galapagos Islands and they’re here! It was the start of an amazing 8 days of diving and land tours that we’d planned for almost two years and saved for just as long.
Galapagos isn’t easy – it’s one of the hardest dive sights to get to, and the conditions are not perfect flat calm diving like your normal tropical destinations. But all that is forgotten when you hit the water – and for a kiwi diver it feels familiar and even looks similar to many Hauraki Gulf Islands both above and below the water (apart from the inhabitants!)
The reason it’s such good diving is that there are seven different oceanic currents that hit the Galapagos, but the main one is the largest upwelling system in the world, called the “Humboldt” cold water current. This is the most productive on earth with almost 20% of all fish caught on the planet bathed by its flow! This, combined with warm tropical currents, is why there’s so much life here and why we have to be prepared for temperature ranges of 14 – 25 degrees underwater!
We visit an island to see Land Iguana’s and are amazed at how close we can get without startling them – great pictures are almost embarrassingly easy! Sea Lions lie ignoring you on the sand while you take pictures of “Blue Footed Boobies” (yes, that is their real name!) performing mating rituals and making nests and tending to eggs while Frigate birds with huge red waddles try and attract mates in front of beaming people glued to their cameras! We look out to sea and watch acres of dolphin leap and play in the water surrounding the island – this place is just so full of life you don’t know where to look or point the camera!
Then we’re back to the main boat to travel another 6-7 hours north to Darwin Island and more importantly Darwin’s Arch. For me, this is the focus of the trip – it can make or break the whole two weeks if they’re not there!
I shouldn’t have worried... 4 minutes into the first dive – the guide suddenly frantically signals and points before disappearing as fast as he can into the blue. We follow, kicking as fast as we can – all scared we won’t see her... But there she is – a 15m pregnant Whale Shark – she’s huge (even for a Whale Shark!). And we get closer than I thought we would – I get so close I’m being pulled along in her slipstream, and I can slow my kicking right down and glide with her like I’m a remora. One of the coolest moments I’ve ever had underwater!
I look to my buddies and they’re all having a blast, I look to the huge schools of big eye Trevalley, the Hammerhead and Galapagos Sharks in the distance, the Turtle posing for pictures, and the millions of other fish that surround us all at once and think... This is what diving is all about!
We end up seeing a total of 14 Whale Sharks during our dives at Darwin’s Arch and on the last dive – like most trip organisers before me – I have a quiet sigh of relief that it’s all been so amazing... then I turn back to my camera before I miss the next shot. You can never have too many Whale Shark pictures!
We're back from the Galapagos Islands now and it was the best dive trip we've ever done! There is something we got wrong though... “Once in a Lifetime” isn’t correct - we are so going back!
Margaret is the longest serving member of the New Zealand Dive Industry, having been involved in the dive industry since 1969. Later that same year she learnt to dive, when a 42 year old woman surprised all the "Ex-Navy" Instructors by booking onto a Dive course (the first women to do so with the company). Margaret was told she was learning to dive as her buddy that night! She has loved it ever since. Considered a "Second Mum" to staff and many customers!
Since his first snorkel at the Poor Knights at the age of five, Malcolm has loved the Ocean. He completed his NZUA Dive Course in 1982 (at age 11), was "volunteered" to fill dive cylinders during school holidays from age twelve, and worked part-time every school holiday from then on. He started working full time in November 1989, and when Guy retired, he took over the business. With Margaret's help, Malcolm has expanded the company into the brand new Megastore at 97 Wairau Road. His favourite dives are Darwin and Wolf Islands in the Galapagos, Vava'u with Humpback Whales, "Blue Corner" in Palau (Micronesia), and Sail Rock in the Hauraki Gulf.
Guy started snorkelling on the Mahia Peninsula at age five. He joined the RNZ Navy at age 16 and become a fulltime member of the dive team shortly after. Having distinguished himself in the Navy Dive Team, he left to complete a major commercial diving project and helped start "Diver Services" in the late 1960's on Aucklands North Shore. He then started Dive Centre Ltd in 1972 and quickly became something of a legend in the industry for his professional diver training, dedication to his customers, and passion for the sport. (As well as the infamous "Dive Centre Bus" trips to the Poor Knights that people still talk about 20 years later)! He retired in 2000 but is still diving and fishing almost every week!
Matt used to teach so many courses for us, it could have been said he had two part-time jobs! Well, now he's joined us fulltime! Matt first learnt to dive in October 1998 and spent a few years just enjoying diving. He progressed up to Rescue Diver in January 2004 and quickly went on to Divemaster in June 2004. After becoming an Instructor he has been "bitten by the bug" and is doing all kinds of courses, from Openwater to helping train new Instructors, Enriched Air, and now also specialises in Sidemount and Twin Tank Technical Courses as now even Solo Diver courses! He became a PADI Master Instructor in 2008. YOu won't find a more keen diver - on 99% of his days off he's diving for fun - owns his own boat and if it's wet he wants to dive it!
Jake has been diving since 2012 and fell in love with it straight away. He quickly went from beginner up to Dive Master and then on to Instructor. Just like Matt he had a "Normal Job" but found that his passion for diving meant he wanted to make it his career, teach people to dive and show them what a great sport diving is in New Zealand! Well, now he's joined us fulltime and will probably be here for life! After becoming an Instructor he is doing all kinds of courses, from Openwater to Rescue, as well as specialties. His favourite dive sites are the Bay of Islands and the Hen & Chickens and loves catching crays as much as taking photos!
Our beloved financial controller has worked with us over two different time periods now! She first started with us in 1987 and ran our office until 1997, then left to go to the IT industry, but luckily for us returned in 2002 and still makes sure the financial operations run smoothly for us!
Duane is our fulltime Service Technician and has been working for us since 2002. With a background in Marine engineering he is now considered an expert in equipment servicing and is contacted by other stores as well as importers to do work from all around the country. Whether it is a dive regulator, BCD, computer or even an LPG Cabinet heater that needs servicing, he is the man for the job!
Rex has worked for us for almost ten years testing cylinders over two different time periods! Through the late 80's and early 90's he worked fulltime for 8 years and now he's come back into the team to test cylinders... when he's not out fishing!
Rick was a bit of a legend around the Auckland dive scene, as he has helped on many courses, organised many, many trips and was always there with advice and a crayfish for those in need over the 14 years that he was with us.
Ricked died on Friday 9th April 2010.
He is sorely missed by us and all his dive buddies.