Maximum Depth: 10m
About150m from the gate on the right side of the Mole as you look seaward and fewer than 10 metres deep lies the Mokoia hulk. Carefully negotiate the rocks and enter the water 100 m short of the visible "rudder post" that is prominent 10 metres out from the shore. Here you will find the encrusted bow. Swim along the outside of the wreck until you reach the rudder then navigate the centreline of the wreck back to give you a different perspective. Note a heat exchanger, revolving stage with gearing underneath and the boiler during the swim. The artificial reef that is Mokoia plays refuge to a variety of marine life.Numerous opportunities present themselves for photographs but be careful not to stir up the silty bottom. Look for blue and copper moki, blue and red cod, octopus, conger eel, scarlet, spotted and banded wrasse, mullet, telescope fish, terakihi, crayfish, paua, sea horses and numerous vareities of triple fins, sponges, crabs and nudibranchs. Macrocystis or bubble kelp is prolific so if you get snagged quietly relieve yourself from the entanglement and continue on. Our favourite training site with visibility 3 - 5 metres and occasionally up to 10 meters. Highly recommended for all levels of experience.
If no swells have been hitting harbour side of the Mole for several days beforehand visibility will be at its best. Also watch diving here after rainy periods as the Otago harbour can become quite muddy / silty and visibility is often reduced. Watch for the eddying effect of the tides in some situations, can be identified by looking at which direction the macrocystis kelp is floating in.
The Harbour side of the Mole can become very tricky to enter and exit off the rocks, with the Nor'East wind being the predominant direction of swells to look out for, but anything from the East has been known to generate a little . Make sure you keep an eye on your equipment whilst gearing up at the water's edge. The wrecks themselves pose no immediate danger of an overhead environment as all areas have direct access to the surface, but the sharp edges of the rusted hulks could become hazardous so appropriate exposure protection is advised. Entanglement could also occur as the hulks have become a large area of bladder kelp forests and monofilament fishing line, a dive tool or knife is a must have for this environment. Small recreational fishing boats are often around as well, so make sure you have a surface float and flag to let them know you are diving in the area.
Sea and Weather Recommendations
Avoid: NE Swells as this will make entries and exits difficult due to surge
The first 'turn-around' area for a vehicle on the Mole is directly in line with the Mokoia. The Stern post of the vessel is permanently sticking out of the water on the northern side and stretching to the south lies the rest of the ship hulk.
The Mokoia was a passenger and cargo ship that was brought into service in 1889. For the majority of the time she travelled between ports within New Zealand and Australia. The Mokoia measured 100m long and carried up to 250 passengers plus crew. During World War One she was used as a troop ship. While steaming to Fiji, the Mokoia struck a reef on the 29th October 1920. She was brought back to Dunedin and originally sunk in Carey’s Bay (Port Chalmers). A number of years later she was refloated to be used for scrap metal, before being towed to and sunk at her final resting place along side the Aramoana Mole on 3rd October 1946.
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