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“Snorkeltastic!” 4 of 5 bubbles
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.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2012

Laura, the team member at dive centre when we went along to scope it out could not have been more friendly and helpful - so marvelous that we spent the whole day prior to our scuba experience doing exactly what she said - which walks to go on, which holiday park to stay at, which beach to swim at (Woolley's Bay), how many sugars to have in our tea...okay, not that last bit! At the end of that day, how could we not go back and book for the Dive experience?

I say dive, but Robert and I chose to snorkel not to dive. Honestly I'd never even worn a wet suit so was feeling a bit like some ritual humiliation was in store. The crew however could not have been more helpful, funny, upbeat and yet very professional and serious about the safety bits and pieces. 2 dive sites were visited and despite only reaching a dive of 20 cms (otherwise known as my maiden snorkel experience) both were fun after initial nerves. The first dive was fantastic - a life changer, it actually seemed from hearing the experience of the divers that we saw a wider range of ocean dwellers if from a greater distance - carpet shark, ray, selk (deep sea beastie making a rare appearance in high waters) and others. The second dive site, in the cave due to inclement weather, was a bit disappointing for a snorkeler but seemed to have been good for the divers. A nice camaraderie developed on board between all ranges of ability, and age groups - even we relative oldies felt at ease! Conditions on return were hideous, big swell and high winds but we really felt that the crew knew what they were doing.

I'd definitely recommend this experience to other novices - even seeing the islands themselves and hearing about the history and ecology of the islands whilst sitting in a wet wet suit on a fairly crappy day on a rocky boat was interesting and added another cool dimension to the trip.

Big hands up to the gentlemen crew aboard Calyspso on Tuesday 23rd October for making our day out good fun and saving any belly laughs for the pub later that day. I fear a few were to be had - my back to front wet suit experience and the poor chap who lurched out of the toilet during a particularly rocky patch!

Best Carole

Visited October 2012
Thank Carole W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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381 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very Proffesional”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2012

We went to Dive tutukaka to had a dive in poor knigths. Was an excellent trip, with an very funny and profesional crew! Very recomendable. Near that place you have a holiday park that you can stay the nigth before.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank Ezequiel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wharehine, NZ
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Thumbs up fantastic service & awesome diving”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

I've dived with Dive Tutukaka a number of times & although its been a few years since I've been I'm sure they'll still be awesome!

The dive sites are fantastic even if you're just a novice or snorkelling..

Go on & enjoy!

Thank 2dobes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Discover Scuba was Absolutely Brillant”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
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.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“5 star diving, 3 star boat, 1 star skipper”
3 of 5 bubbles 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
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,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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