Maximum Depth: 28m
The Otakou wall is a man made 300m rock wall and is an excellent drift dive. The tidal currents in and out of the harbour can be very strong and this dive should only be attempted from a boat with close surface supervision. The dive follows the edge of the harbour channel. Follow the wall around until you come to the end of it and then follow the contours up the gradual sloping sandy bottom to do your safety stop out of the strong current. It is advised that everyone carries a safety sausage on this dive. The dive site itself is rated as one of the best sponge garden dives around. The wall is completely encrusted with large colourful sponges. Dotted amongst the sponges are numerous species of nudibranchs, crayfish and other small invertebrate species. Also one of the best sites to chance across the elusive Sevengill Sharks that prefer the deeper, darker waters of the shipping channel during the daylight hours.
Dive on slack tides to have a relaxing slow drift. Ideal conditions would be an outgoing tide, follow wall to your right shoulder and near the end of the wall you should experience shallowing topography that you should follow to clear yourself of the current and complete safety stops etc.
Container, Cruise ships and other commercial and recreational vessels often use channel so be aware of the shipping schedule (www.portotago.co.nz). Be aware that large tides also bear large currents, safety sausages should be mandatory while diving this site.
Sea and Weather Recommendations
Avoid: Large Tides as currents can become extreme in the shipping channel.
The red #10 and #13 Port channel beacon signifies the start and end of the Otakou Wall.. Look to GPS coordinates for accurate entry / exit points and be aware that currents can push you off track during descents / ascents.
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