Matheson Bay – Clear Water?

Last November (2014) I went for a shore dive to the Leigh area. I was not sure which spot to choose, actually I was not sure if diving would be possible at all due to the storm a couple of days earlier. The sea was calm again yet there was a possibility the coastal areas would still be murky. Anyway, it was a sunny day, I wanted to give it a try at least. I decided to try Matheson Bay first. There are usually not many fish in the bay when the water is cold but I like the scenery of the shallow water kelp reaching to the surface, creating a kind of a forest.

While I was setting my gear up a group of aspiring divers with their instructor came to the parking lot. We started to discuss the uw conditions; the instructor mentioned he had been diving there a day ago and he had never seen such a clear water in the bay. That was something I needed to hear; finally an opportunity to make wide-angle pictures of the bay. I was very curious what that ‘clearest water ever’ meant so I rushed into water.

I guess the instructor was right. You know that feeling when you have a wide view of the underwater country around yourself; it’s a common thing in the tropics or off-shore, but not when diving from the shore so close to Auckland. As there were not many fish in the bay except the usual leatherjackets and spotties I focused on making pictures of kelp plus some sponge-covered rocks. The results can be seen below. All of you who dive(d) in Matheson Bay can judge if the visibility was or was not really good on that memorable day.


I found this after entering the water; colourful algae scattered on the sandy bottom.


After a quite long swim (if it’s a high tide) one gets to the rocky area with brown kelp reaching to the surface.


A typical view – tall kelp growing from a rock, the rock covered with sponges growing in the shade of the kelp.


The fresh light-brown colour of kelp fronds.


In the channel there are rocks covered with a mixed growth of bright-coloured sponges and short algae.


A selfie in the clear water of Matheson Bay.


On the way back to the shore – long kelp bent in the current.