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Trip Reports


2019.05.18 PKSnorkelDay LD 03315

Experiencing Marine Reserves runs events from the Far North to Otago. Our trip reports showcase the highlights of each trip from the perspective of our volunteers. 


2020.06.10 Mokohinau Adventure Snorkel

Mokohinau Adventure Snorkel Trip Report

Wednesday 10th of June 2020
Written by Kaio Graham

Images from the day

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Kayaking in motu manawa marine reserve

On Wednesday the 10th of June we set out on an early morning adventure!

We all met bright and early at the Sandspit Carpark, where we were greeted by the lovely EMR staff who offered us all sorts of snorkelling & diving equipment to borrow if needed. Once we were all ready and equipped with everything we set off on our way. The destination of exploration being: The Mokohinau islands.

Now prior to going on this EMR trip, I honestly had never heard of the Mokohinau Islands before. I soon learnt that The Mokohinau Islands are a small group of islands, a hundred kilometres north of Auckland City.

They sit smack bang in the middle of the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf making them a hot spot for snorkelling and an amazing sight to behold. Seeing this beautiful island set within my ancestral waters and knowing that my tipuna would have circumnavigated these very islands before me made me feel even more connected to life.

The boat ride is roughly 2 hours one way, and the islands have some of the most spectacular underwater views I have seen thus far. I felt privileged to be able to join all the amazing crew and blessed participants on this boat ride. We travelled to the outer islands and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We all chatted, ate and laughed, it was a highlight of mine to enjoy learning about the Hauraki Gulf, the kina barrens, to see all the marine life whilst snorkelling and be privy to random facts about the particular area along the way. I found the staff and volunteers knowledgeable and helpful. An amazing aspect of this trip is the educational information unique to the area.

We snorkelled two different spots on this trip. Both spots showed us an array of different things, and I'm sure all participants had their own unique memories that they loved. For me, it was the very first spot we visited, I couldn't help but admire the beautiful colours and shades of blue. The ocean was glistening, and the sun was beaming brightly down onto us all. The cliff banks that blended slowly into the water, till eventually there was no more cliff left, and it was just deep clear waters, the site was so beautiful and I buzzed with excitement seeing the many varieties of fish.

My friend also pointed out how cool it was when we were moving with the tide and when we both looked at the cliff banks and rocks, we would notice ourselves drifting up and down, noticing the water levels changing and letting the tide rise and fall and beating in synchronicity with its rhythm. Much like when I swim my homelands at Tapapakanga. I also had never snorkelled in water this clear and could see what felt like 20 meters under water. Also, to make it more exciting we swam through two formation arch ways. When you looked down you couldn't help but admire the marine life. There were so many different types of fish and they were many multitude schools of fish. We also spotted plenty of kina, angel fish, a paua, jelly fish and everyone was able to swim very close to them and admire them.

Our second spot we snorkelled at also had beautiful pigments of blue, and an amazing cave type bowl, where we were able to snorkel and kayak in. A few participants got up close and personal with an eagle ray, which was a cool sight to behold. I buzzed out with excitement whilst watching them get just centimetres away. I felt extremely blessed to tavel to such a remote part of New Zealand, where I normally wouldn't get the opportunity to go to. The whole day was packed full of beautiful memories, with awesome people. We also got to see a few dolphins and a gorgeous sunset to top the day off. In it all, I was left to ponder the awesome entranceway to my beloved Tīkapa Moana.

Ngā mihi nu nui to everyone who helped make this experience possible and so so enjoyable. 


-- Written by Kaio Graham

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