Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
Home · Contact Me · Sydney Reef Dive Sites · Sydney Shipwrecks · NSW Dive Sites · Australian Dive Sites · Overseas Dive Sites · Dive Accidents and Incidents · Our Yachting Adventures · 4WD Trips · Weather · Search 21 November 2017 04:19
Navigation
Home

General
About Me
My Diving
FAQ
Downloads
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
Our Dive Boat - Mak Cat
Our Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
Our Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about our yacht, Catlypso and our Our Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • Our Yachting Adventures.
  • Login
    Username

    Password



    Forgotten your password?
    Request a new one here.
    Michael and Kelly's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of our Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Current Kareela Weather
    A summary of the current weather conditions at our house at Kareela, Sydney, is below. Click here for more Detailed Diving Weather and Conditions. Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station


    Conditions at
    23:49 on 23/1/17

     
    Temperature 25.6°C
    Humidity 65.0%
    Barometer 1003.4hPa
    Rate -0.3hPa/hr
    Wind Speed: 0 km/hr
    Wind Direction S
    Rainfall for Today 0.0mm
    Rainfall last hour 0.0 mm
    Rainfall last 24 hours 0.0 mm
    Rainfall at Start of Month 814.6 mm
    Rainfall this Year 827.0 mm
    Today's Extremes
    High Temperature 31.2°C at 15:48
    Low Temperature 20.9°C at 6:27
    Peak Wind Gust 0km/hr at 0:00
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Kirrawee Weather Station
    Yesterday's Extremes
    High Temperature 27.5°C at 17:11
    Low Temperature 19.8°C at 6:29
    Rainfall at Start of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Rainfall at End of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station
    Astronomical Data
    Sunrise 5:06
    Sunset 19:05
    Moonrise 1:09
    Moonset 15:04

    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "SS Duckenfield was discovered by Neil and Alan McLennan"
    Middle Arch
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Middle Arch, Poor Knights, NZ Despite the fact that there are numerous arches at the Poor Knights Islands, the names of some are so obvious that it would be very easy to figure out which one is being referred to in the case of dive sites like Middle Arch. As can be imagined, this arch is in the middle of the northern island, Tawhiti Rahi. It is on the more protected western side of the island so is diveable at most times.

    Half way along the island you will see an archway that is much wider than some of the others. It is located on a ridge that comes south from the island and the arch runs east-west. If approaching from the south close to the island you will not see it till you are within a few hundred metres as the opening will be to seaward of you.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    Middle Arch from the small bayKelly on the wall south of the arch base

    A GPS of S35Âș 27' 28.1" E174Âș 43' 58.4" (using WGS84 as a datum) will put you in the small bay right off the entrance to the arch. This arch is very visible from here and the dive plan easily understood. The bottom in this area is about 27 metres or so.

    From the boat, descend and swim north over to the wall. Once on the wall, follow it to the west. You will see the entrance to the arch, but leave that for later, there is more to examine first. Continue to drop as you go, down to about 25 metres at least. If you follow the rocky reef to the south you will picvk up the wall and start to go around the base of the arch's support. Your heading will change to west.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    The bronze whaler shark that hung around for a few minutesKelly on the wall south of the arch base

    The reef bottom gradually gets deeper, to at least 35 metres. The bottom off the reef wall is sand with some boulders while the wall is vertical with some kelp and sponges. When I dived here in March 2011we saw a large bronze whaler shark in this area. It patrolled along the wall for three to four minutes.

    If you go past 30 metres, start coming back up before you turn around. There is a lot of fishlife in this area, kingfish and snapper mostly. We also saw a few bullrays. There is also an overhang and a large boulder that creates a gutter between it and the wall. This has a lot of fishlife. After about 15 minutes turn around and come back at a shallower depth. You need to aim to be at about 16 metres when you start heading north again.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    The overhang on the southern wall of the arch base Kelly and a fire brick seastar in the kelp

    If you are coming along at this depth, you will see the entrance to a large cave. This is called Bernies Cave. It extends about 25 metres into the arch's support and is perhaps 20 metres wide and 10 metres high at the front. The bottom is sand till about half way back when there is a ledge. This is a few metres or so higher than the sand. On the ledge is a concrete or porcelain frog, a quite large specimen.

    At the back of the cave is an air bubble and towards the front, another larger one. This is the most interesting one, as you can get some great mirrored photographs of divers as they enter the cave if you plan it right. You can also surface in the bubble The entrance is normally full of thousands of small fish.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    The entrance to Bernies CaveLooking back out of the cave at Kelly

    Once you are finished here, head back out of the cave and follow the wall around to the left. You might want to drop a bit deeper to get some good views of the arch as you approach it. From a sandy 27 metres, the reef gradually rises over a bottom of medium sized boulders to 18 metres straight below the start of the arch. It then rises further to 10 metres on the western side of the arch.

    Spend some time here as the fishlife can be amazing. Inside the arch there are lots of pink maomao and some snapper. There are also quite a few eels of a number of species. We also saw some nudibranchs. You can spend a lot of time here. If you did a second dive here you could head out to the west a little before coming back to the eastern side of the arch.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    Kelly and the frog in Bernies CaveA shot of Kelly with the air bubble
    at the front of the cave

    Once you have spent enough time in the arch, head over to the northern side of the arch and follow it to the east. This will bring you out onto the wall to the north of the boat. There are also some nice eels to be seen along this wall.

    Once you are almost finished, you can ascend to five metres and do your safety stop on the wall before swimming back across at five metres to the boat. You should be able to see the boat if you swim off the wall a little.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    A photo from the southern side of the archThis is in the middle of the arch

    When we did this dive in March 2011 there were thousands of small pink jellyfish in the bay when we returned to the boat. These were being eaten by the snapper which would first hit them on the bell so that they retracted their tentacles, and then eat them. Birds were also swooping in, but I am not sure if they were eating them. The jellyfish packed a medium level sting.

    Middle Arch is another magical dive site at the Poor Knights, up there with the best of them. It is also once of the best reef dives I have done anywhere in the world. While there are hundreds of dive sites at the Poor Knights, this is one that is worth doing many times.

    Middle ArchMiddle Arch
    A good overall view of Middle ArchOne of the pink jellyfish

    When we dived here we had 40 metre visibility on the southern side of the arch's base and in the arch and 30 metres elsewhere. The water temperature was a lovely 21ÂșC. A must do dive at the Poor Knights.

    Old Photographs

    The following are three photographs I took at Middle Arch in April 1992. They were taken on Ektachrome slide film with a Nikonos IV and scanned to digital in January 2011.

    Middle ArchMiddle ArchMiddle Arch
    Divers in Middle ArchLooking up at Middle ArchAnother shot of Middle Arch

    Return to the Tutukaka/Poor Knights menu.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2017
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!