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Community snorkelling day at Tonga Quarry on again

February 26th, 2014
[DOC press release]

The opportunity to put on a snorkel and find out what's under the water near the Tonga Island Marine Reserve is happening again this year as part of Seaweek.

Experiencing Marine Reserves, Department of Conservation, Nelson Underwater Club and Nelson Environment Centre have come together to provide a free snorkelling day off Tonga Quarry in Abel Tasman National Park on Sunday 23 March from 8am to 3pm.

Megan Wilson, co-ordinator of Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR), said these are wonderful opportunities for people to experience these treasures in our local marine environment up close.

"There is so much happening under the water in our own backyard that many people do not know about. This event gives everyone a chance to get out into our local marine environment and see these treasures for themselves.

"With two marine reserves in Tasman Bay, we have easy access to getting up close with many of the wonderful creatures that live in the sea. Taking a guided tour enables people to find out more about the marine environment than they might by themselves."

People may bring their own gear if they have it, or bring a gold coin donation to have all equipment provided (wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins). Nelson Underwater Club is providing experienced snorkelling guides and safety boats. Participants must be 7 years and over.

The Tonga Quarry snorkelling day costs $20 per person for a discounted boat fare provided by Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle. The boat leaves Kaiteriteri at 8am, returning by 3pm. Bookings can be made with Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle by emailing debbie@seashuttle.co.nz before Wednesday 19 March.

A similar event will be held at the Horoirangi Marine Reserve between Glenduan and Cable Bay between 9.30am and 12.00pm on Sunday 9 March.

Tonga Island Marine Reserve stretches along the Abel Tasman coastline between headlands off Bark Bay and Awaroa Inlet. It is home to seals and little blue penguins; crustaceans such as hermit crabs, kina, starfish, and crayfish; and a range of inshore fish such as tarakihi and blue cod.

Recent research shows that 20 years after the Tonga Island Marine Reserve was created, there are more than seven times as many crayfish and 40 times as many blue cod over 30 centimetres.

 



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