EXCLUSIVE: Dwane Herbert is one of just a few divers brave enough to harvest the delicacy known as spiky gold
For many workers the daily grind feels very mundane as they count down the hours down until the weekend.
Nothing could be further from the truth for diver Dwane Hervert.
The 31-year-old is one of just a few brave souls who risk their lives every time they go to work in their search for ‘spiky gold’.
Dwane is a diver who spends his days in search of potentially deadly sea urchins.
The earned the nickname spiky gold because they are such a delicacy in Asian cuisine and can sell for huge amounts of money.
But for dad-of-two Dwane, from New Zealand, it’s all in a day’s work.
Not only does he have to contend with venemous sea urchins, which after 14 years of diving his body has now developed an allergy to, there are other predators in the sea Dwane has to be wary of.
He explained: “Great white sharks are always in the back of your mind. I’ve very recently had an encounter with one, just two weeks ago.
“He was a huge beast but he was very docile nd he was swimming round us and got really close up.
“You build up an appreciation for them – you have to respect them because as soon as you see one you have to realise that you’re the bottom of the food chain.”
Other terrifying beasts in the deep the divers regularly encounter include sea lions and seven gill sharks.
And it isn’t just the sea urchins and the ocean’s deadliest predators that Dwane and his diving colleagues have to be worried about.
Huge ocean swells can also prove deadly for these intrepid divers but this has always been the career Dwane wanted to follow.
He started diving when he was just seven and by the time he was 16 he knew he didn’t want to do anything else.
Dwane said: “My old man was a diver so I was always tagging along with him.
“I love getting away and being in the fjords with no one around – I just love the serenity.”
But the job doesn’t come without its professional challenges.
The day starts early with the crew getting the boat ready and then setting sail over night for the best place to harvest the spiky gold.
They’re usually in the water by 8am and dive using only snorkelling equipment.
Dwane said: “You can’t hold your breath for a long time – a minute or a minute and a half at most – because if you’re under for too long it means you need to spend more time on the surface.
“You’re up, down, up, down all day and you try to limit the amount of time you spend on the surface.”
Because the crew have to be ready to go as soon as a crop of sea urchins is spotted, making plans is impossible.
During November, which is their busiest time, Dwane had just four days in his own bed at home with his wife, Annabelle, and their two children, Coby and Eli.
And despite fetching £10 for just 200g of sea urchin, Dwane insists his dangerous job is far from lucrative.
He explained: “It’s alot of work to get the parts of the sea urchin that we can sell, so it works out at no more than a normal salary.”
But the brave diver has no plans for a career change any time soon.
Spike Gold Hunters will be on Blaze at 9pm tonight.