A man suffering the bends was flown to Devonport naval hospital today by the Tauranga-based TrustPower TECT rescue helicopter.

Pilot Liam Brettkelly said the man, a farmer from Edgecumbe, was flown from from Whakatane Hospital to Devonport Naval hospital for treatment in the navy's hyperbaric chamber.

The man had had gone for a dive near Whale Island on Sunday afternoon.

"After his one and only dive began to feel unwell, he went to Whakatane hospital who diagnosed the bends and requested we fly him through to Auckland for treatment," Mr Brettkelly said.

The man was understood to be in a comfortable condition in Auckland tonight.

The bends is better described as decompression sickness. For divers, this is what happens when a diver rapidly ascends from a deep dive to the surface.