Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving – Annas Reef, NA Reef, Poor Knights, NZ
PHOTOS TO COME
When I first dived the Poor Knights back in 1992, we dived this site and I was told it was called NA Reef (short for Northern Arch Reef). However, in March 2011 I was told the site was called Annas Reef. I have no idea which is now correct. It is possible that “Annas” is a corruption of NA or NA was a corruption of “Anna”. Either way, it is an interesting dive site.
Annas Reef is located about 75 metres to the north and east of Northern Arch on the northern-western section of the northern island. The anchoring spot is GPS S35º 26’ 52.4” W174º 44’ 02.4” (using WGS84 as a datum). If possible, anchor closer to Northern Arch itself as this will give you a better dive.
|An above water photo looking towards|
Northern Arch from Annas Reef
|The wall between Annas Reef and Northern Arch|
Annas Reef is a separate site, although you can do both Northern Arch and Annas Reef on the one dive so long as you anchor in between the sites and stay relatively shallow when at Northern Arch.
The site at the GPS reading consists of a straight wall (for most of the site) that drops vertically from above the water to about 24 metres. In the middle of the site is a large boulder that comes up from 24 metres to about 5 metres. It slopes away at one end to 20 metres. The boulder is perhaps 15 metres or so off the wall and is the main part of Annas Reef.
|Looking straight up at Northern Arch||Some of the huge numbers of pink|
maomao in the Northern Arch
If you want to dive the Northern Arch, follow these directions. As indicated, it is a lot easier if you are anchored halfway between the sites, but you can do if you are right on the Annas Reef site. Once in the water, descend and swim south-west to the wall. Follow this at about 15 metres for 40 or so metres (or 20 metres if halfway in between sites) and then start a gradual descent to about 25 metres.
Soon you should come to the northern side of the arch. Enter into it and you will be amazed by the fishlife. For a fuller description of the Northern Arch itself, check out the Northern Arch page.
|Looking through the Northern Arch from the south||Looking back and up through the Northern Arch|
Once you have been here for 10 or so minutes, it is probably time to head back to Annas Reef unless you are only going to dive the arch itself. Head back to the east along the wall, gradually rising to about 15 metres as you come. If you swim off the wall a bit you will see the large boulder as you approach it.
As mentioned, this boulder is a huge rock that comes up from 24 metres to under 5 metres. It is mostly covered in kelp, but the southern side is quite bare of kelp. There are a couple of cracks that are home to fish and eels.
|A small overhang on the large boulder||There is lots of this kelp on the rocks|
If you are ending your dive here, gradually ascend as you circle the reef. Eventually you will end up on the top at five metres where you can do your safety spot before swimming back underwater at five metres to the boat.
If you did not go to Northern Arch, you probably will have time and air to explore a bit further. A bit further to the east from Annas Reef there is another smaller boulder off the wall. It is 10 metres deep between the wall and the boulder and it comes up to seven metres. Just east or north-east of this boulder there is a cave that goes a short distance into the wall.
Return back to the boat along the wall at five metres, doing your safety stop as you go.
|Near the top of the boulder||These rock cod are seen on most dives|
There is really good fishlife here, and the spectacular wall that drops from above the surface to 24 metres makes it a special site. However, combining it with Northern Arch makes it even better, although it is preferable to do Northern Arch from the southern side.
Visibility here was 20 metres and perhaps 25 metres at Northern Arch. Water temperature was 22ºC in March. Not a must do site, but not too bad.
The following photos were taken in 1992 using Nikonos IVA on Ektachrome slide film and scanned to digital January 2011. Only minor cleaning of slides using PhotoShop has been done.
|I think this is on the large boulder||Some of the fishlife at NA Reef|
|Off the wall at NA Reef||Some of the fishlife at Northern Arch|
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