For Whakatane diver Paula Massey, 25, her expeditions under the sea have always been a family affair.
It starts from about 7am in the morning when the family wakes up ready for a day on the sea.
Mum, Sharlene, is already awake sorting lunch and organising all of the diving and fishing gear – because the day is not just about diving, but a chance for the whole family to enjoy the sea.
“I’ve been diving since I was about 13 years old.
It was actually my stepdad, Robert, who taught me how to dive,” says Paula.
The boat is loaded, regulators and tanks double and triple-checked and they set off to one of the family’s favourite dive spots.
The dive flag goes up and it’s game time.
“Robert and I are the only divers in the group, so while we’re under the water the rest of the family are fishing from the boat.
“Raurimu Island is one of our regular spots.
”Paula says it hasn’t been too big a task finding a compromise for both the fishers and divers of the family, with Robert having dived in the Eastern Bay of Plenty for most of his life and knowing all of the good spots.
“My Poppa has a GPS with all of his secret fishing locations on it and we’ve found we can literally go to any one of them and both the fishing and diving is always good.
”On top of catching a lot of crayfish it’s also a great way to get in some sightseeing, says Paula.
“It’s so full of life down there and so many people don’t always see it.
”Paula is a competent diver with qualifications in open water instructing.
“I sat my open water certificate when I was 16 years old and continued to pursue dive education at Dive Zone Tauranga.
”And it’s not just the Eastern Bay of Plenty she frequents.
“I’ve also done a lot of diving in Pilot Bay and Brewer’s reef in Tauranga.
“Pilot Bay is really silty in my opinion – only because it’s in the harbour, but overall there isn’t too big a difference between those spots in Tauranga and the ones back home.
“All the fish life is the same, and the reefs are quite similar.
”She says it’s important for those wanting to take on the hobby, to be prepared for it first.
“Go with someone who knows the area and if you’re not confident it’s good to do an introductory course first.
“These kind of courses can teach you about safety procedures, what to do in emergencies and how to calm your breathing, which is always helpful.
It helps knowing you’re safe while you’re doing it.