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“RV Acheron overnight”
Review of Dive Tutukaka

Dive Tutukaka
Ranked #4 of 15 things to do in Tutukaka
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The longest standing family-run dive company around; with a number of boats, professional crew, and every day all year round trips to the Poor Knights Islands. Passionate about the environment, conservation, for divers, snorkellers, and sightseers.
Reviewed April 4, 2018

We were a group of 5 - 2 divers and 3 snorkellers. There were 3 other divers on the boat and 3 crew (skipper, cook and dive guide) for the 8 of us. one of the other guest divers was a total novice and hubbie felt she put the whole group at risk as the guide had to leave them and take this diver back to the boat. She then had one on one crew for her dives after this. That meant the cook or dive guide had to take her. And on the last dive the other four divers were totally on their own. We were totally neglected as snorkellers. It would have been appreciated if one of the crew came on at least one snorkel with us to point out things and names. We were really on our own. Now, if I had paid less than the divers I would have expected it. But since we paid same as divers I would expect we too would get some service and not just be a free ticket. Even worse that one passenger had one on one dives. We didnt feel included or welcome - we paid the same as the divers (without gear etc). Our first snorkel was a total disaster when the dupplied mask failed. I was told by the captain that “i should have bought my own mask and snorkel”. I felt a reputable dive company would have decent gear. He then slapped it on his face and said there was nothing wrong with the mask. so i politely explained that the air bubbles in the mask were holes the water was coming in! That summed up our welcome to the dive boat. Our second snorkel we were in mid of a passage so we went to an arch. It was rough, and we found the crew had taken off the fins on our own paddleboards and not put back on property. Thus it fell off and we had no fin. This pretty much ruined the second snorkel and we were not feeling good at all about the whole trip. We didnt even get an apology from the skipper. And its cost us to replace our personal paddleboard fin. Turned out the maomao arch we visited on our second snorkel was also our third snorkel - so we covered that again. The first day was a bit of a write off for us snorkellers. We found that it wasnt great snorkelling the same time and place as the divers as the bubbles scarced the fish away. We were feeling a bit fed up. The second day we got onto it and figured noone was going to help us (even struggling in and out of our gear etc) so we were on our own and would do our own thing. That worked much much better. We went earlier than the divers so got to see more. Still, not one crew accompanied us at all. We were left totally on our own.

I really felt a crew of 3 for 8 of us was not enough. Perhaps it was the long weekend so they were short staffed. But they were so busy that there was little chat about the area etc.

I wouldnt recommend this trip for a snorkeller or non diver. The boat is long and narrow so really rocks. One of our party felt seassick despite the sealegs Sleep was bad. The cabins are hot and ours was very very musty so i couldnt go down except to sleep. The worse was the noise as waves slapped on the boat. I love the sound of waves usually but this was noisey. Ive travelled to Antarctica and it never rolled as much, I guess big ship have better stabilisers.

The food was nice, but we didnt get the lamb shanks. Nor did we have jams, scones and cream which is shown in other trip photos. And I felt it strange that a 22 year old male had to share a twin cabin with an unknown solo female. That was a bit off for both parties.

Poor Knights, of course, never failed to amaze. Fantastic weather, fantastic visibility for diving and snorkelling. Its my fifth trip to the poor knights and it still one of my favourite places in the world to snorkel. Perfect day is perfect for snorkellers. Ive used dive tutukaka for all my previous trips, but on a snorkel boat and they were excellent.

The divers loved the chance to do four dives in a day and a night dive. So this trip is fantastic for that. I would go with a snorkelling group but find snorkelling and diving groups didnt work for us non divers. For the price, Next time id travel with snorkellers on a snorkel only boat and have a blast jumping off the boat and exploring snorkelling.

Sadly, this trip was a bit disappointing for the cost for us snorkellers.

Thank nzp0ppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
22kaka, Owner at Dive Tutukaka, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2018

Hi Diane,

Firstly thank you for both your review, and your emails. We appreciate the time taken to give us feedback - I do wish we had had the chance to rectify some of this whilst you were with us though.

I will try and address some of the things you have mentioned.

The mask? Kevin thought he was being funny, and will have absolutely no intent to be rude. He is just not that kind of guy.

The paddle board fins? My team would have been stowing them safely for travel, and absolutely not been the equivalent of a naughty airplane luggage handler - acting with disregard and lack of care. That again is just not how any of my team are.

There was a lady on board who had allergies to lamb, beef and ham, hence a roast chicken dish, and your daughter had allergies too, so we didn't make the scones - our menus does change, and is not always what the photos show - but it is always delicious! If you were wanting the scones, we could have whipped them up for you at the drop of a hat - it is a great recipe.

RV Acheron does have a particular movement, and is an older wooden boat, which for some enhances the magic of the experience, but not for others. I am sorry that you didn't sleep well, some wave sounds are soothing for some, but obviously not for others, but it is a boat. We do have ear plugs if you had asked us, we could have offered them? There are also fans in all the rooms - we could have helped you turn them on.

Your partner's previous trip on Acheron was in rough conditions where the roll would have been obviously more pronounced, and this trip the conditions were so so much nicer......but everyone has a different perception of conditions, and like seasickness, such a personal call. SeaLegs does work for a lot of people who feel seasick, but I am afraid not everyone, and that too, is out of our control.

There were five in your group, and the assumption we made was that - as a group - you were happy to chose the cabins, as your son and daughter could easily have shared a cabin, instead of the other way around, once a guest is settled, we only move them if they ask us to. I am sorry we missed those signals, but once again - we totally would have re-arranged that for you if you had asked us. We often ask if everything is ok, so when we hear that it is, well, we assume it is.

The "cook" is an experienced round-the-world sailor and Skipper, as well as a qualified Instructor, and a dive guide. She focussed on one customer who was having problems, and that was in order to allow the other divers a different dive, as well as reassure her and give her back her confidence. We are there to guide and enhance, and not to be the dive police and the group was content to dive on their own after six dives, or so they indicated to our instructor, as otherwise we would have dived with them. It is not compulsory to dive with one of us.

The snorkelling? My team were told by your selves that you were very experienced, and you seemed confident, and my team assessed that you were all adept and capable - I am sorry they missed you struggle with your gear - but they genuinely didn't catch that - they usually do, and are very service orientated. It was your fifth trip to the Islands, and once again I apologise we didn't pick up on the signals that you were not happy or familiar with the snorkel equipment, or the sites. Our briefing is pretty thorough, the story we tell about the islands is amazing, and I am surprised you missed it!

Short staffed? That is harsh, we have a crew ratio in-water of 1:6. I am not sure how to answer that one - there were 8 customers to three crew. We did our best for you, and I am sorry you came away with the impression we skimped on your safety and the perception that a long weekend resulted in a crewing compromise - I can assure you that is the furtherest from the truth.

I am slightly perplexed at the depth of your review, as you were sending us photos to our Facebook page on how cool the trip was and how many fish you were seeing whilst on board - so I was surprised to get your emails.

But, you have felt strongly enough to write several emails, and a Trip Advisor review, and I acknowledge that you felt so.

Once again, as much as we can - we do our very best. My team are amazing. In this case we have left you unhappy, and I do take that personally - and my team are surprised and upset to learn about your issues. I genuinely believe that we could have resolved most of these issues if you had raised them earlier. The team certainly do.

I hope you will join us again for a sixth trip, and we can get over this speed bump.

Thanks again for emailing, and posting a review. We do care a lot about our guests and the impression they leave with.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (475)
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14 - 18 of 475 reviews

Reviewed March 28, 2018 via mobile

We went to Poor Knights Island, and enjoyed watching dolphins on the way. We did snorkel, stand up paddle board, kayak and visitided the world's largest sea cave. The crew was awesome. A truly amazing experience!

Thank Jime G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 27, 2018

Fantastic crew, great boat and just the dream dive spots! Much better than I had first thought! All crew very informative and friendly! I will be highly recommending these guys to friends and already want to come back here for my next holiday!

Thank Hannah J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 26, 2018 via mobile

We went to Poor Knights with Dive Tutukaka yesterday and had a great day. We were a mixed group of divers and snorkellers, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. All the staff were great and and keen to ensure everyone had a good time. Sophie was an excellent dive guide - friendly, informative and quick to help people having issues with equipment. She also took great photos during the dive and posted them on Facebook within an hour of being back on shore! Lovely to find a wonderful dive company that is not trying to extract extra money from you by taking photos and then a hard sell:) We definitely won’t hesitate to go with Dive Tutukaka on another trip.

Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed March 20, 2018

This was a spectacular day diving - some of the best diving I've had around the world, and two of the best dives I've had in three decades of diving. Fantastic visibility, incredible school-fish and pelagic life, loads and loads of rays, and even pretty warm water. Brilliantly organised, super staff - just an all-round exceptional day in a special place. If you're coming to NZ, make sure you dive here. If you live here, get back out to the Knights to remind yourself what special underwater life we have in New Zealand.

Thank MikeKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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