Participants in community snorkeling day were treated to a variety of marine highlights, including a blue maumau, an octopus, and playful dolphins. The annual event is organized by the Tasman Bay Guardians and gives people the opportunity to see what’s happening under the waves in our local marine reserves. Guide Thalassa Kawachi stated that the octopus was the most popular choice with children who participated in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve’s beautiful autumn day off the Abel Tasman National Park.
She said that while some people were snorkeling for the first time, others soon became more comfortable and began to ask their parents for snorkeling opportunities. John, an adult snorkeller, claimed that he discovered a large butterfish in a cave. They prefer seaweed, so you won’t see them in the bay. This was truly a beautiful sight.” A large pod of dolphins also breached the island.
Tamara Staples stated that they loved the show and it lasted for “ages.” The event was held in Cable Bay for the past few years. However, the weather and determination to keep it going despite the difficulties of Covid led to the decision to move the event to the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Freya McCall, the event organizer, said that diving off Tonga was always a great experience. Participants had 5-meter visibility underwater, which made it possible to see a lot. Everyone had a wonderful day.”
The event was funded by the Department of Conservation and provided the safety boat. Stew Robertson, a marine reserve ranger, said that supporting the event was essential in helping to promote marine reserves’ role in conserving our marine environment. Justin Strang, Tasman Bay Guardians manager, said that the group wanted everyone to enjoy Te Taio-o-Aorere. Wetsuits, snorkels, and fins are provided. Snorkel guides are also available to assist with the learning process.
Port Nelson, NBS, and the Department of Conservation sponsor the event, as well as on-water support from Wilsons Abel Tasman.