Island Bay revels in long summer

02:30, Mar 12 2013
Island Bay dive
Summer dive: Island Bay Divers owner Tim Walshe is pleased with business this summer.

Summer in Island Bay has rarely been busier.

High temperatures and long stretches of calm winds have provided holidaymakers and local residents with plenty of reasons to enjoy Island Bay's south coast, and businesses are cashing in.

Local diving operators and food outlets say they have noticed a big upsurge in customer numbers and sales compared to previous summers.

Dive Wellington Company Director Dave Drane said the summer had been "the best by far", with only one trip having to be cancelled because of bad weather.

"We have had the least amount of cancelled trips of any year. In previous years we would cancel one every two or three weeks," he said.

Mr Drane, who has worked at the Dive Wellington shop for 15 years, said as well as an increase in group bookings, tourists and repeat customers, the demand for snorkelling and suit equipment stood out.

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Island Bay Divers owner Tim Walshe said the summer had been very good compared to the last two or three summers.

"There has been an increase in interest from local and amateur divers," he said.

The above-average sunshine hours and light winds in January and February had resulted in less swell and improved visibility - ideal conditions for diving and snorkelling.

The Island Bay Snorkel Trail, only a few minutes' walk from the shop's location near the corner of The Parade and Reef St, was a customer favourite.

Bay Foodmarket owner Alan Parbhu said customer numbers were at their highest since he started working there in 1995, and it was not just Island Bay residents flocking in.

"We get people from everywhere, from Karori, Churton Park, Lower Hutt.

"Tourist bus groups of Germans and Australians have stopped by after enjoying a walk to Red Rocks," he said.

The sales of flowers and ice-cream had been high, with "cookies and cream" the No 1 ice-cream choice.

The Bach Cafe worker Ketewhia Teuatuku said there had been "way more tourists" this summer from America, Australia and Asia.

She had also witnessed a surge in demand for cake slices, fish meals, birthday and engagement parties.

The Wellingtonian