Kiwis with a keen sense of adventure might want to take advantage of an opportunity to do some scuba diving on an active volcano, which, it would seem, might fall squarely into the adventure of a lifetime category.
There is something for everyone, everyone who has the proper credentials, that is. There is a variety of dives on White Island. There are cathedral spire pinnacles with drop offs of as much as 150 m for those who like to go deep, but there are also shallower reef dives that offer the opportunity to observe a wide variety of marine life, including spectacular coral reefs.
The first dive of the season was in December; too late for that one, but there is another two-day trip beginning on 27 January and another commencing on 24 February, which we mention because as soon as you do the January dive, you will be lining up for the February dive.
The boat pulls out of Whakatane, on the north shore of the north island, about 300 km southeast of Auckland, and heads straight to the Bay of Plenty.
The environments one can experience on these dives is similar to where life on the planet first emerged, near volcanic vents that provided the warmth for single-celled organisms to start the evolutionary events that led to life as we know it today.
The program offers up to four dives on the first day, including a night dive, and three on the second day.
If you desire, you can take a hike on dry land on the slopes of the volcano.
The sport of diving is often overlooked by those of us who typically obsess over horseracing, rugby and such, but sport diving of all types has shown steady growth over the years following World War II and with today’s modern equipment and highly trained professional guides, it is accessible to people of disparate ages and abilities.