Scallop diving // Whangarei (NZ)

This is scallop diving in Whangarei…

“We sat down to eat with beers, good company and the largest plate of scallops I think I will ever have in front of me. AND I had caught them myself.”

Highlights

  • The thrill of catching your own supper.
  • Diving and boating in a stunning bay.
  • Eating a raw scallop mere seconds after getting on the boat (can’t get much fresher than that).

If you are anything like me then the idea of catching your own supper is something that you’ve always wanted to do. Then you’d come home and toss it on the barbeque, beer in hand, watching the waves roll in up the beach. If you are after something like that, but like me, the idea of sitting on the bank of a river with a rod in hand drives your mind to unimaginable boredom, then scallop diving in Whangarei is for you.

I was lucky enough to be taken out by some family friends in Whangarei, New Zealand and what an afternoon it was.

After a short motor from One Tree Point out through the bay we dropped anchor, geared up and went over the side. The bay has mostly a sandy bottom so there was not a huge amount to see down in the depths. We were there with only one goal and that was scallops. So this didn’t phase us. You have to scour the bottom for the faint outline of the scallop shells, before sizing them and plopping them in your bag. If they are under a certain size you have to put them back. It only took 30 minutes on the bottom before we had reached our capacity and we’re heading back up, grinning from ear to ear (not easy with a regulator clamped between your teeth).

To go from the murky depths and to pop up in that location was almost worth the trip alone. The bay’s surrounding us were just spectacular with mountains rising out from the calm blue water.

Back at our friends’ lovely beachside house we showered off, fired up the barbie, opened some beers and got to work shucking the scallops (opening and cutting out the good bits, for you newbie scallop hunters like me). This is no easy process but we slowly got used to it and were professionals by the time we had done the 92 we’d caught. With the sun having set long ago we chucked them on the barbeque with some of them back in half a shell to cook.

We sat down to eat with beers, good company and the largest plate of scallops I think I will ever have in front of me. AND I had caught them myself. What more could you want from an afternoon on the coast?

Gear

  • Scuba gear or just goggles and budgie smugglers of you’re a proficient free diver
  • Esky to put your catch in (and to keep the beers chilled)
  • Scallop measurer (don’t want to get fined for catching ones too small)

How to get there

Whangarei is a town on the east coast of the North island in Nee Zealand. About 2 hours drive north of Auckland.

Activities

  • Anything in or on the water you can think of.
  • Sun worshipping

Difficulty

If you’re in a good spot it’s a piece of piss. They’re everywhere. So make sure you pick well.