Descend Scuba Diving - Milford Sound

Descend Scuba Diving - Milford Sound

Descend Scuba Diving - Milford Sound
5
Scuba & SnorkellingBoat ToursWater SportsEco ToursSightseeing Tours
About
Milford Sound diving trips. We supply everything: boat, gear, guides, food and fun! A scuba experience like no other you can see the famous deep water black coral trees, red corals, dog sharks, octopus, crayfish, seals, penguins, dolphins and over 150 species of fish in a world heritage area marine reserve. We operate with a general maximum of six divers guided and hosted by experienced PADI instructors Lance and Simone whom are the owners/operators of the company. Our passion is dedicated to expanding marine ecology awareness, diving and sharing the local area with you, which makes for a truly personal experience. Includes 4 hours cruising all of Milford Sound. First time divers are welcome to experience diving with us and will be well taken care of. Descend !
Milford Sound, New Zealand
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(18 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles231 reviews
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Andrew D
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Friendly, professional, laid-back crew. Well-organised, gear in good condition. Beautiful and unique way to experience Fiordland, seeing rare black coral and hundreds of crayfish! The wall-dives were spectacularly rich in colour, amazing macro life + larger species too!
Written 1 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

teresa
Newbury, UK5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
Such a professional outfit! Let me begin:
1. Carl: Skipper of the boat and so familiar with all the dive sites, could provide you with the most detailed brief of the land and underwater features. As he dives as well, his knowledge knows no limits. Great sense of humour too - not a stuffy crew member
2. Gio: what an absolute pocket rocket of energy, fun, professionalism, intelligence and skill. She looks absolutely amazing underwater - her 4000+ dives are clearly apparent when you see her manage a training session and a group of divers trying not to crash into ANCIENT coral!
She also made really tasty fresh vegetable & falafel rolls - which is far better than packet soup you normally get on a boat dive.
3. Ted: the gentle giant of the group. Helped me so willingly with my sidemount kit, which was proving difficult with cold fingers! Such a quiet spoken gentleman, who amused us during lunch with his dry sense of humour.
4. The sites: the dive location is stunning! The black coral looks like a winter wonderland of white branches spanning out with its tendrils. When you realise they grow (maximum) 3cm year, you wonder in awe at the age of some of these animals - spanning the full breadth of human history: imagine something that was alive when Pharaoh Ramses was ruling Egypt! The rock wall of Cray’s Crack and the descent down to an abyssal 150m+ is intimidating and exhilarating.
Let’s not get started on the lobsters! So friendly and inquisitive - not to mention humongous!
5. Simone: The communication with the head office is prompt and informed. I asked to use sidemount and DiversityNZ were so helpful with this. I asked for 10.5L steel DIN tanks as I find 12L too heavy and unnecessary as my air consumption is tiny - could they have been more accommodating? I think not
I asked about another day booking and they cancelled because of the weather: I value a company that puts safety ahead of profit.

Excellent professional outfit.
Written 14 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leonid K
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
This team was very professional and friendly. The team paid a lot of attention for diving environment to be very safe. My wife and I worked with Ted and he demonstrated deep knowledge and great patience to teach us and to lead us step by step. It was our first scuba diving experience and we consider our experience as Introduction to the Water.
Written 15 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin K
38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
I did my dry suit diving course here and loved it. The dry suit diving was a little hard to control buoyancy compared to regular diving but it was so cool to be able to dive in freezing water like this. There is such a unique ecosystem here and it is very different than anything I had done before. It was by far the biggest lobsters I had ever seen and there were hundreds of them, as well as unique black coral and other interesting fish.

Milford sound is amazing, but seeing it on a dive boat is even better. You get to see all the beautiful sights and waterfalls that all the regular tours see, but then get to see it all from below too. You also get to do a 10 min hike to a waterfall which is cool since no one else on the regular tours get to do that.

The one downside is I wish they did underwater photo/video. Almost all dive shops do that now and I love having those memories!
Written 22 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roberto P
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Solo
I had my drysuit certification in Milford scheduled for a long time (about 3 years in the making, thank you Covid-19!) and it finally happened.

Brit's a very patient and knowledgeable instructor and made sure that we got our skills done and dusted super fast (and safe) at the beginning of our dive so that we could move on and actually enjoy the underwater scenery. And boy was that a treat!

A part from the black coral, which is obviously one of the highlights of the fiord, we got a dolphin come and say hi, a dogfish peacefully swam in front of us and as a final bonus we got to play with an octopus for 3 minutes while having our safety stop. I honestly can't wait to go back and go a little deeper (we max'd 20m due to the altitude of the Homer tunnel) to have a look at the red coral.

Big shout out to Lance as well, who was our skipper and guide above water. And to Simone also, who's handling the operation from behind the scenes. Great kudos to the both of them.

Side note, but also very important. All the ScubaForce equipment used throughout the dives is top notch (I've also ended up buying a drysuit myself)
Written 2 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aimee Jacobs
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
My husband and I had a fantastic day diving with Descend Scuba! The diving far exceeded our expectations, with lots of sharks, a ray, a sea horse, an octopus, and amazing black coral.

Brit and Lance made the experience incredibly enjoyable. Brit was an excellent instructor for our drysuit certification (100% worth it!!) and guiding us underwater. Lance gave a great tour of Milford Sound above water before and after the dives. And there was chocolate, a tasty wrap, and hot coffee & tea between our dives for a recharge.

Mahalo!!
Written 20 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Allyson B
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
Absolutely amazing experience. The team/ crew take excellent care of everyone on board and in the water. They give you a one if a kind tour of Milford Sound throughout the whole day including hiking access to an area only they can take tourists (bridal veil falls). Plenty of nourishment is provided between dives and it was very yummy. I was incredibly impressed by the equipment used and they spend time beforehand making sure you are comfortable with it. Very unique diving experience and more then worth the cost! I would do this again in a heartbeat.
Written 23 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Huck
Andover, UK5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Couples
Milford Sound is such a beautiful place, both above water and below as it turns out! The whole team at Descend were awesome, special thanks to Lance who made me feel very safe and comfortable for my first ever scuba dive on the Basic Diver course. Great tuition and direction throughout and some spectacular wildlife to see; from black coral and inquisitive rock lobsters to kingfish and a lucky encounter with an eagle ray too. Incredible experience that was the highlight of our trip to New Zealand. The whole day out on the boat, socialising with the skipper and crew, was great fun - and Britt's sandwich was delicious to boot! Thank you guys! I really look forward to coming back to New Zealand, and joining another dive with Descend! I would highly recommend this to anyone considering trying scuba diving for the first time, and my partner who has been diving many times around the world would also recommend this spot too!
Written 20 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for taking the time and write this review. We are very happy you had a good time and are looking forward to see you on your next trip to NZ!
Written 21 February 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

egbauer
Santa Ana, California, United States37 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
I had a pretty awful time with Descend Scuba but a lot of this was not the dive shop's fault so I'm going to do my best to set my feelings aside and write the review that I wish I had read before forking over $500+

Basically: this is not a great dive excursion for new or (like me) rusty SCUBA divers. It sounds like there are some truly neat and exciting dives in the Milford Sound area--the skipper described a few--but only for confident divers who know the equipment.

I've got an advanced license and ~25 dives under my belt, but it had been a few years since my last dive & the refresher course I took before leaving on vacation did not cut it. I was rusty & while the equipment that Descend uses is excellent, it was also all new to me. The BCD equivalent, in particular, was a backplate surrounded by an inflatable doughnut rather than a vest. The drysuit itself really affects buoyancy & the seals at the neck and wrists are thick and stiff; I couldn't really move my head around to look at things. The learning curve felt steep to me & as a result the first dive (of two!) was intentionally wasted on an area where everything is kinda dead and flailing divers won't damage the environment.

And, honestly, the underwater scenery in Milford Sound is not that compelling. I saw a couple of small rays, I saw some of the local lobsters, I saw the black coral (which was actually white, and very neat). But that's about it. I didn't see any sharks but I'm not the kind of diver who gets excited about seeing sharks. The fish are not very colorful and I happened to be diving during a rare streak of clear sunny weather, with good visibility. Apparently it's usually worse.

I visited with two friends who don't have SCUBA certifications so they went to the underwater observatory instead and when we reconnected at the end of the day, they'd seen almost everything I had.

I do have one complaint which I'm going to share. Most my irritations were pretty petty but, in retrospect, this one isn't. As I mentioned, I was quite rusty after a few years without diving & I had a lot of trouble with buoyancy in the water. I was going through air really fast and struggling to maintain neutral buoyancy. After I got home I tried to figure out why, because I was bouncing around like crazy and I've never had so much trouble before.

And then I realized I knew the answer. After I told the divemaster I was rusty, she loaded me down with a TON of weight. About 20k. I sank like a rock and then had to inflate my (already unfamiliar) BCD almost to full in order to make myself buoyant again. I'd be fine so long as we were swimming along at an even depth but whenever the divemaster guided us up or down, I'd have to tweak my BCD to compensate. I was constantly struggling to manage a problem that the divemaster had created for me, basically.

I wish I'd figured this out in time to enjoy my dives, but I didn't. For that, and a handful of other reasons, even though I'd been looking forward to diving Milford Sound it ended up being the most disappointing day of my trip to new Zealand.
Written 18 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi, First of all, we are very sorry to hear that you had and awful time, especially since our main purpose as a diving business is to provide the most unique, enjoyable, fun and memorable experience we possibly can. You have chosen to complete a drysuit course with us. This involves learning a new skill set. Some divers adjust very easy and some take a little longer, but with the right attitude, learning a new skill is fun. In most of our divers eyes we took over the years, the pleasure of learning to dive in absolute warmth is still the preferred option and most see the value in taking away a new skill set. For divers who don’t want to do a course, we also have a wetsuit option available or a 1:1 dive for rusty or new divers who are not yet confident in their buoyancy control. The choice is there. The most important point to address is the assumption that our instructor gave you too much weight. We are dive professionals and would never overweight our divers. Our procedures include individual weight checks as part of the first descend to ascertain that you are weighted correctly. Our weight pockets don’t even hold the amount of weight you talked about and we gave you 8-10 kg of weight, which was perfect for you in our suit system. Adjusting to the different buoyancy control needs in colder water/ diving in thick wetsuits or drysuits is part of the natural learning process. Figuring out the correct amount of air in your BC for the depth needed can be a bit tricky at first but most divers get the hang of this pretty quickly, some take a bit longer, which is ok too. This is all covered in your online learning and briefings so you know what to expect. In regards to your comment on the uncompelling underwater scenery. I am sorry to hear you did not appreciate what Milford Sound has to offer. While we do start a drysuit course in a shallow sandy area, where we can get used to the suits without risking to damage our protected black coral trees, we swiftly move to areas as part of your scenic dives where the uniqueness impresses most divers we have taken to these sites.
Written 21 February 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

republicofheaven
Washington DC, DC15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
It's incredible to see below the water as well as above. Milford Sound is such a magical place. We even got to explore a remote waterfall on the shore in between dives. This is such a memorable way to cap off your South Island experience.
Written 3 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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