Scuba Diving

scuba

 

The GULF ISLANDS, which lie between Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island, have a character all their own. Their small, rural communities are friendly and hospitable, and thus an ideal place to spend a week or two exploring different underwater worlds. The off-season is cheaper, and the water is clearer then, with visibilty up to 40 metres (November to March).

 

Some of diving sites on the islands are:

• Tilley Point on Pender - Alcala Point on Galiano

• Village Bay on Mayne - Beaver Point on Saltspring

Between the islands lie colourful sea gardens of enchantment featuring an array of sea flora, with creatures like tiger rockfish and wolf eels.

 

THE SUNSHINE COAST Sechelt, has a submerged ship close to town, and the inlet has the warmest waters on the coast, which are ideal for snorkeling. In the area are marine recreational camping sites which can be reached by boat or kayak, if you want to spend a few days diving in nooks and cranies, or snorkeling in different spots.

 

Another good base is from Pender Harbour. The vast variety of sea life includes sea urchins, feathered starfish, sculpins, nudibranches, cabezons, and many more. Try these locations on the peninsular:

• Snake Bay • Tuwanek Point • Poise Island • Sutton Islets

 

POWELL RIVER -Saltery Bay -the emerald jewel of diving spots - was recognized with a large spread in "National Geographic" in 1980. In 1988, the Cousteau society visited for a 3 week exploration of the area. Saltery Bay is close to Powell River, and has many diving sites in the vicinity.

 

Look for octopus dens in Octopus City, or see the sunken mermaid statue in Mermaid Bay. North of Powell River are sea caves and caverns at Okeover Caves, and near Lund are the Iron Mines which is considered among the best for the crystal clear waters, and the abundant marine life. The Copeland Island Marine Park, where sea lions are to be seen in winter and spring, is also recommended.

 

Across the strait, and a short ferry ride from Powell River is TEXADA ISLAND which also has 3 or 4 good spots such as Grisle Point and Rebecca Rock. These are proctected marine sanctuaries, as are many previously mentioned, and no marine life may be removed.

 

Hornby Island is between Texada and Denman Islands, with at least 4 boat dive sites. Flora Inlet attracts divers from around the world to see 6 metre six-gill sharks, which come to shallow waters in the summer. Other sites are: Snapper Reef, Heron Rocks, and Norman Point.

 

Quadra Island is located east from Campbell River, and most dives are for experts as the waters are cold and the currents are swift. The shore dives at Wa-wa-kie Beach and Rebecca Spit are protected and safe for all divers. Look for octopi. At Steep Island the seals are so tame they often swim with divers. Whiskey Point is noted for the friendly wolf eels, and there are other sites with king crabs, and a wealth of colourful sea life. Most dives should be done in slack tides.

 

THE NORTHERN STRAITS from Campbell River north to Port Hardy are home to a great variety of marine life, including killer whales. The whales have not been known to attack divers, but keep some distance. At the end of Rock Bay Road are Chatham Point and Rock Bay where you might sight a minke whale. At Kelsey Bay Ship Breakwater provides homes to colourful gardens of dahlia anemone, and there are giant skates nearby. In the Port McNeill vicinity Stubbs Island, Plumber Rock and Haddington Island have colouful valleys of sea flora and droves of different fish.

 

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