Ten years ago - then... and now
By Caitie Bird
Working on the ocean has always been a part of Mark and Hayley’s lives. They met working on the reef in Ningaloo at Exmouth (Hayley's hometown) and started travelling the world together working in Canada, the Caribbean and Tonga. During their travels they moved to Whitianga and got themselves a job at the Glass Bottom Boat, they did a season or two working for Shane and Robyn Harnett before being offered the chance to buy the business off them. They did so on Nov 1st, 2013, and since then have expanded the business and fine-tuned it into the iconic tour we know it as today.
They got married, had their two little girls, Amelia and Jasmine, and also added a third brand new vessel to the fleet in 2017. I am one of the skippers along with Steve, and we have been on the Jones's crew for 7 years now, enjoying the lifestyle that being on the water brings and working alongside the Jones's doing what they love.
Over the last ten years there have been plenty of amazing memories made. The Glass Bottom Boats have been lucky enough to have had some incredible wildlife encounters, from dolphins, to orca and humpback whales - but nothing can compare to when an orca swims under the glass and turns on its side to look at everyone on board.
The last three years have been difficult for everyone, due to the pandemic, border closures and also cyclones and weather badly affecting the roads. However, the weather has now moved to a more settled pattern, the tourists are returning, and we are getting excited for summer. Our crew will grow from the 4 all-year rounders to around 12 -15 staff to keep the business running, and it's always a busy but fun time, and we can't wait to have a full crew once again.
The walking track to the cove may be closed, but seeing the famous archway by the sea is what we have always done with the added bonus of viewing the fish through the glass and ending our experience on a snorkel for those who want to hop in for a swim.
It's the time of year for Christmas parties, so book online for the perfect activity. We can take up to 38 people at once across the three vessels. It's a great way to end the year with your team and see your backyard from a different perspective.
Congratulations to Hayley and Mark for 10 years of business and we can't wait to see what the next 10 years bring!
Website: Glassbottomboatwhitianga.co.nz. Ph: 07 867 1962
Captions; Photo recreated on November 1, 2023.
Well done! You look younger. A great advertisement for life on the Coromandel Peninsula.