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Diving Mayor Island


Dec 15, 2021

This article is intended to provide the already qualified Scuba diver with information which will help to plan dives in the waters of Mayor Island, off the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, North Island of New Zealand, whether as a local resident or a visitor. Information is provided without prejudice, and is not guaranteed accurate or complete. Use it at your own risk.

Location of Mayor Island
Map showing the position and dive sites at Mayor Island, New Zealand
Sunrise approching Mayor Island from the north under sail

. . . Diving Mayor Island . . .

The island is called Tuhua in the Māori language, after the black obsidian (volcanic glass) of the same name found on the island, which they prized as a material for cutting tools.

Captain James Cook named it Mayor Island when he sighted it on November 3, 1769, in recognition of the Lord Mayor’s Day to be held in London a few days later.

Mayor Island is a wildlife refuge. There are a few holiday houses in Opo Bay (South East Bay) on the south coast, where there is a secure anchorage unless the wind is from the south east.

Mayor Island is a dormant shield volcano off the Bay of Plenty coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is 35 km (22 mi) north of Tauranga and has an area of 13 km² (5 sq mi). The island has a mostly precipitous coastline, and maximum height of 355 m (1,165 ft) above sea level.

The island is thought to have risen from the sea about 7000 years ago, and the most recent lava flows have been dated at between 500 and 1,000 years old.

Weather reports for coastal weather region Plenty are broadcast on VHF. The nearest weather stations are Slipper Island and White Island.

Water temperature may be as low as 14°C

The waters within 800 m of the north shoreline are a marine reserve.

Regular recreational diving equipment is adequate for most dives in this region.

Shoreline of Crater Bay
Cliffside at Crater Bay
Understand: An open bay under a high cliff, with sand bottom and good anchorage. Bands of black obsidian can be seen glittering in the strata of the cliff face, and shards are scattered on the bottom.
Position: S37.28588° E176.27328° About halfway along the east side of the island. The crater is just over the cliffs.
Depth: Fairly shallow.
Topography: Shoreline reef starts about 3.5m deep. Medium to low profile rocky reef mostly of boulders with occasional outcrops.
Marine life and features: Mostly quite heavy growth of wide range of turf seaweeds. Not much fish life and not much mobile invertebrate diversity.
Conditions: Good anchorage on sand bottom at about 8m depth.

. . . Diving Mayor Island . . .

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. . . Diving Mayor Island . . .