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“Discover Scuba was Absolutely Brillant”
Review of Dive Tutukaka

Dive Tutukaka
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Tutukaka
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The longest standing family-run dive company around; with a number of boats, professional crew, and every day all year round trips to the Poor Knights Islands. Passionate about the environment, conservation, for divers, snorkellers, and sightseers.
Timaru
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Discover Scuba was Absolutely Brillant”
Reviewed September 30, 2012

Never having dived before I did the Discover Scuba, which allows you to have a wee play around without having to get too serious. The crew we had on 23 Sept were an awesome bunch, Hemi my instructor was such a nice guy,he was professional, thorough, and patient with me asking him the same thing again and again. I felt very safe and trusted Hemi totally. He showed me so much sea life that was just amazing. Thanks guys for the best day out of our whole North Island holiday. You are all stars!!

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank CazzNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DiveTutukaka, Manager at Dive Tutukaka, responded to this review, October 3, 2012
We have huge smiles on our faces too!
Great to have you share a special day with us.
x
Kate
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“5 star diving, 3 star boat, 1 star skipper”
Reviewed September 15, 2012

Diving the Poor Knights is a really great experience, and I'm really glad that I've done it, however I really wish there was another option instead of just Dive Tutukaka for it.

I'll start with the good things - the diving site itself is great, and I can well understand why it is ranked as one of the best in the world. The instructors that took us out on the dive site (Darren, Jack, Steve & others on the day we were there) were really knowledgeable and approachable. I'm a certified Open Water diver and I felt comfortable with the diving that I was doing. The staff back on land also noticed that my girlfriend was wearing glasses, and went out of their way to hunt for a prescription mask so that she could see better underwater. Not many other commercial dive operators would do this (certainly none of the ones we've gone on the Great Barrier Reef with have done so) and this was really appreciated.

The day that we went out to the Poor Knights - Thursday 23rd February - the weather was horrible, it was cold and the sea was rough. Obviously this is nobody's fault, and I'm certainly taking any marks off Dive Tutakaka for that.

What Dive Tutukaka did have control over was the fact that the boat we were on was just too small - six crew and 18 divers were never going to be able to all squeeze inside, so about 8 or 10 paying customers had to sit outside on the back deck in the cold & rain, exposed to the elements. This was poor.

Not as poor as the skipper though. As mentioned, the sea was rough, and obviously you could have the best skipper in the world and they're still going to have a boat that's rocking about all over the place. But the skipper that day (Russ) appeared to be riding the waves in such a way that he was making no attempt to make the journey as smooth as reasonably possible, and not only that but as one paying customer after another started to get seasick, the skipper would shout out comments like "oh yeah! there goes another one! they're dropping like flies back there!". Where's the professionalism here? Each of these people had parted with at least 200 dollars to be on his boat, and a conscientious skipper should have been trying to give them as comfortable a journey as possible, so that as few of them as possible would get seasick, not the other way round. Okay seasickness isn't a major illness, and everyone felt better when the boat stopped, but that's not the point.

The journey back was a bit smoother, and you would expect it to be quieter, except that the skipper and half the crew had the Red Hot Chili Peppers blaring out of their iPod dock for most of the journey (see photos). Nobody objected, but equally nobody was asked, it just reinforced the impression in my mind that this was more like a bunch of lads who were larking about on somebody else's boat for the day.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank Steve147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DiveTutukaka, Manager at Dive Tutukaka, responded to this review, September 18, 2012
Hi Steve,

Thank you for posting your report, and thank you for starting with the positives!

The Poor Knights Islands indeed are an amazing dive site, with plenty of life, and the ability to provide a biodiversity that amazes. Even on the yucky rainy and windy days, it certainly can deliver some great dives.

Our crew are indeed knowledgeable and passionate about the islands, and the diving.

The weather can be challenging at times, and we are fortunate that although the trip out can be rough, there is shelter at the Islands for the day.

The other issues you have raised are fair, and as a customer, I would have felt the same things.

My crew let you, and themselves, and me, down that day, with their attitude.

Seasickness is nobody’s fault, and is as miserable as a wee miserable thing. You are so right; the journey should have been made as comfortable as possible for you.

The boat you were on El Tigre, has 18 dive stations, just undergone an internal refit, and on the day the numbers were right for the size. She is a fifty foot vessel, or over 15 metres in length.
Due to weather being not ideal, I crewed the boat with an extra crew member to allow for more comfort and attention to the customers that day.

To say I am gutted that this did not happen is an understatement. I do wish you hadn’t waited 7 months to post a review!

Sometimes people do feel more comfortable outside, especially if they were feeling queasy and I can’t say if this was the case or not. Crew should have given up seats for customers if required.

It looks like they trip home was easier seas, but with feet up on the front, and Chilli Peppers blaring seems to show a disregard for the tone of the day.
We spend considerable time working with our young crew, and instilling in them the essence of the importance of the quality of product that they deliver. They are with our guests for 8 hours a day and our customer service and deliverance of a world class experience is recognised.
In this case I am humbled, and apologise for what was not the best delivery of our day.
I am upset that you received average, you should have received exceptional.

I am unsure as to the exact conditions, and I doubt that Russ, and Darren (who was also a skipper on that day) would have dropped the boat off waves on purpose, rather it was challenging conditions that they were working through.

As much as we celebrate our successes, we will be learning from our mistakes.

I can only apologise, and say that we have looked at certain customer service aspects of our performance that day, and have been found wanting.
My crew are my greatest strength; they can also be my greatest weakness. I have faith in them, and in my senior team, that this is problem that will not occur again.

Thank you Steve,
Kate
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
230 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“very professional, great dive centre”
Reviewed July 15, 2012

There is no other choice in Tutukaka, but definitely not necessary to have another choice.

This dive school is among the best ones I've dived with. They are greatly trained and professional and definitely know what they are doing. The equipment is greatly maintained, they take care of all your gear and you have nothing else to do but enjoying your day and your dives. You do not even have to carry the heavy dive gear to the boat or prepare the gear. They take care of all. hot drinks are served on the boat and you can pre-order your lunch for 10 dollars.

Dive instructors and dive masters are so much fun and well documented about the area. While doing the surface interval they drive the boat around the area and tell you all about the under/above water fauna and flora, as well as about the geological/natural/Maori history of the area. They make sure you have a great day.

It worths every dollar you spend on it.

Definitely coming back if I can.

Congratulations guys, I am extremely impressed.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank DiegoUG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Private
Level 6 Contributor
170 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
“Definitely Next Time!”
Reviewed July 15, 2012

Due to weather, I was unable to dive the Poor Knights. However, I will be back and plan to dive with this outfit. Admittedly, I was upset after driving three hours to Tutukaka to learn that all dives had been cancelled. However, that was my gamble considering I did not call or reserve ahead of time. The dive staff felt my frustration and offered other options for spending the day. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Soon all of us were chatting over a map of the North Island planning out an impressive day of sites. I left with a new exciting day ahead of me and still glad that I popped into Dive! Tutukaka. Thanks guys!

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank CuriousTrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“See the Poor Knights Another Way”
Reviewed June 27, 2012

The Poor Knights is an amazing dive location so you can't really go wrong with that. I was disappointed in the service of Dive Tutukaka. First of all, I felt like I was being shuttled around a lot without receiving much personal interaction. Secondly, I had told them I was rescue diver when I'm really a divemaster, but I felt like I was being treated like a recently open water certified diver.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Julia G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Manager at Dive Tutukaka, responded to this review, June 29, 2012
Hi Julia,

Thanks for taking the time to write a review, and I am really pleased you enjoyed the Poor Knights Islands, - they are a spectacular place, and the two sites you dived with us, Magic Wall / Calypso Bay and then Blue Maomao Arch are literally signature dives of the Islands. :)

Your timing was good, as the day before, the weather was too miserable to get out to the Poor Knights, and yet they still delivered great diving on your day! We are so very lucky with the consistency of the site.

I am disappointed you felt that you didn't receive enough attention, and felt "shuttled" without personal interaction.

We did pick you up from the Whangarei Falls, with one other person, Florian, and your first dive was with two other divers (a group of three) with Hemi as your guide and you did a 64 minute dive, but came back with Gines's group of four.
Although unusual, our crew saw that you were comfortable in the water, and as you swapped groups, both Gines and Hemi took note and adjusted accordingly. Our focus is to guide you under water - not police you. ;)

Your second dive was for 54 minutes with Gines as your guide, this time in a group of six. My guys should certainly have been giving you the feeling of personal attention with those small group numbers, and please accept my apologies on their behalf, that you did not.

I am confused as to why you told us you were a Rescue diver, and not a Divemaster.
A rescue diver diving only in warm water, does have a different level than a Divemaster - as I am sure you will understand. We do try our best to cater to the diver and the day, but we do need a level of honesty from you. I do wish you had mentioned something at the time, as we can adapt to get it better for you if we know.

It was a good ratio on the day with three crew on the boat to 11 divers and 2 snorkelers - you should have received some pretty good personal attention!

I will be talking to my team and hopefully we can improve from this. If you don't have a good, day, then we don't.

Thanks again Julia, we can only get better!

Cheers
x
Kate
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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