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You beauty – glass bottom boat cruise

I’ve been around Mercury Bay on and off for many years but never ‘on’ the Bay. Our young friend insisted so we boarded a Glass Bottom Boat, Friday, 12 January.  It was a mind expanding and heart expanding experience.
 |  Stan Stewart  |  ,

The Launch was full, fourteen people. The young crew were friendly and professional. Apart from us our companions were tourists. The seas were calm, and expectations were high. We were not disappointed.

From the water, the rocks and the cliffs are awe-inspiring. Add in the history narration and there’s a lot of it – Captain Cook’s visit 1769, being a New Zealand milestone. The beaches and the costal settlements look romantic from the water; hidden beaches seldom visited, amazing, inspiring sheer rock faces, caves small and huge.


And then there was the fabled Cathedral Cove. The empty beach looked smaller than I remembered, (it was low tide when we previously visited it). Our launch was there at high tide. The Cathedral was as impressive as we had seen it from the beach. I remember the beach thronged with visitors. A raw gash filled with fallen trees up the steep hillside was where the access steps used to be. It was huge but did not seem unfixable from my passing view. I have seen many larger slips on roads.


The marine reserve was a real eye opener. First was the impressive technology that removed the flooring of the boat for everyone to be able to see the galls flooring and enjoy the sights of the ocean floor Through the glass bottom we saw snapper of all sizers, schools of snapper. But there was more. Our guide explained how the life of the reserve was balanced – fish, marine growth harmonised, no infestations of dominant species as there were in the unregulated sea beyond the reserve. She believed that the marine reserve should cover a wider area. Her argument made sense to us.


Along with a couple of others who remained in the boat; I was a spectator to the snorkeling. Those who jumped in said it was gorgeous. Our young friend said the best part was seeing through the clear water with the goggles and snorkel and her feeding snapper with the kina was an absolute thrill. This was achieved by our guide who dove down to collect a kina which she held on the end of a knife. The snapper knew the drill and eagerly gobbled the kina off the knife. Our guide reminded us to watch out for our fingers!

After two hours we returned to the wharf. Everyone thought the tour was brilliant. So did we. It was an experience not to be forgotten. The cost was so well worth the experience- in fact it is  a very generous item for a visitor or tourist to take up. In this beautiful Mercury Bay.

This Glass Bottom Tour company is owned by Mark and Haley Jones. They have been working in eco-tourism for years – Western Australia, Tonga, Canada and the Caribbean. They took over the reins of Whitianga Glass Bottom Tours a little over ten years ago. They love taking guests out to ‘really’ see their back yard, snorkel for the first time and to share their message on conservation and sustainability. 


Bookings: Glass Bottom Boat – Cathedral Cove Cruise 07 867 1962,nz 

16 Monk St., Look for the flag. Located between Bay Bakery and Still Hair Design.