at Fisgard Island is recommended for all divers and snorkelers. This
is a shore dive in shallow waters, giving you an opportunity to enjoy
a mixture of marine life. Watch for bull kelp and be careful of winds.
This dive is very accessible, as Fisgard Island guards the entrance
to Esquimalt Harbour and is only 11 km (7 mi.) west of Victoria on Highway 1A at
Fort Rodd Hill. There is parking at the historic site parking lot.
Ten Mile Point, a dive for intermediate and expert divers or all divers
with a guide is a provincial marine ecological reserve for scientific
research, but as long as it is not damaged, recreational use is allowed.
Do not take any marine life from this area. This is a great place
to view all types of marine creatures, a rocky bottom and lettuce
kelp. Be careful of the current here, the bull kelp, and broken fishing
lines, so be sure to carry a diver's knife. To reach this fine diving
spot, head to the village of Cadboro Bay, a suburb of Victoria. Go
north on Cadboro Bay Road (which becomes Telegraph Bay Road) to Seaview
Road, take Tudor Avenue, Baynes Road and finally White Rock Street
where the rocks that will lead you to the sea.
Excellent diving at an artificial site is the Wreck of the G.B. Church,
located in the Princess Margaret Provincial Marine Park. This is a
boat dive for intermediate and export divers, and all divers with
guide. The G.R. Church appears like a ghost ship, only it is teeming
with marine life and experienced wreck divers can penetrate the wreck.
The hazards here are current, small boats and trying to work your
way into the wreck (unless you have taken a course in wreck diving).
This wreck, in the marine park, located off Portland Island, is northeast
of Sidney and you
can charter from Sidney, Deep Cove, Victoria, Pender Island of Saltspring
Island. Rent or launch your own boat and head for the site, tie on
one of the four mooring buoys and carefully make your way down.
A kayak and boat dive that's available to all divers, is the Tod Inlet,
where you will see red rock crabs, lingcod
and jellyfish. The hazards at Tod Inlet are small boats, poor visibility
and red jellyfish. This dive is on the east side of Scenic Inlet,
at the south end of Brentwood Bay, which is only 15 minutes off Highway
17. Launch from Brentwood Bay or charter from Deep Cove or Victoria.
There are more than 20 great diving sites in and Victoria and the
Scenic Inlet, all with fairly easy access,
that range in diving difficulties and experience. Try them all when
time permits and always plan your dive, and dive your plan.
diving area includes Galiano, Saltspring and Pender Islands. Tilly
Point Caves is a shore dive for intermediate and expert divers, all
divers with guide and snorkelers in the bay. This is a great diving
site, almost picture perfect as you make your way through the cave,
going in at one end and coming out at the other. The marine life here
is also colourful and plentiful. Watch for current on both the inside
and outside of the cave. There's bull kelp here, always dive at slack
tide and weight yourself. Tilly Point Caves are located in Boundary
Pass, just south of South Pender Island. To reach this spot, follow
sings to South Pender and Bedwell Harbour, continue on the main road
to Craddock Drive, where at the end is a bit of parking room. From
here walk down the stairs to the beach and out to your destination.
These caves are an honoured underwater reserve, don not touch or remove
any marine life.
A very interest boat dive recommended for experts only is the Wreck
of the Del Norte that went down after hitting Canoe Islet in the entrance
to Porlier Pass. This sidewheeler which sunk in 1869, lay untouched
until 1971.After it was discovered, artifacts were removed and in
the late 1970's this site gained heritage status. There is a mooring
buoy giving boaters a place to tie up so anchors will not cause more
damage to the broilers and two paddlewheels. Wreck or no wreck, this
is still a great dive site with an abundant amount of marine life.
Canoe Islet is on the Strait of Georgia side
of Valdes Island, it is north of the eastern entrance to Porlier Pass.
Charter from Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo,
Galiano, Gabriola or Saltspring Islands, or launch from Ladysmith,
Chemainus or Galiano, watch for the orange buoy south of Canoe Islet
marking the site.
An easy dive, located where the whole family can enjoy the beauty
is Beddis Beach, on the southeast side of Saltspring Island. All divers
and snorkelers will take to the shore dive that offers plenty of marine
life, such as urchins, rockfish, giant barnacles, burrowing cucumbers,
maybe even a dogfish shark. In shallower waters you'll find crabs,
horse clams and plenty of lettuce kelp. Watch for current and dive
near slack. Beddis Beach is off Ganges-Fulford Road, 8 km (5 mi.)
out of Ganges, a drive that takes about fifteen minutes.
diving region stretches along the east coast of Vancouver Island,
from the Cowichan Bay to Hornby Island, featuring a number of sites.
Octopus Point, a kayak or boat dive is for expert divers and intermediate
divers with guide, as it drops straight down into the abyss with marine
life everywhere. The rock wall is covered with animals, such as rock
scallops, trumpet sponges, nudibranches and coral. Colourful anemones
and sea lilies add to the profusion of living creatures at Octopus
Point. Be very careful of the current, bull kelp and depth here. Carry
a knife, dive on the slack. When diving deep, rest before paddling
back and do not over exert yourself, overexertion helps increase the
risk of bends. Access to this diving spot is on the west side of Sansum
Narrows between Vancouver and Saltspring Islands, it is southeast
of Maple Bay and northeast of Genoa bay and Cowichan Bay ramps. Charter,
rent or launch at Maple Bay. Kayak-divers can launch from Maple Bay
to Paddy Mile Stone, from here to the point stay close to shore, it
will take twenty to thirty minutes to paddle to the point of entry.
Plan this dive carefully and dive your plan..
Round Island, a kayak or boat dive is for experts only. This dive
has a great variety of dahlia anemones, as well as rockfish, lingcod,
and octopuses. Both sea lions and killer whales can also be spotted
here. The hazards at Round Island are strong currents and bull kelp.
Dive on high slack. This island is south of Dodd Narrows in Stuart
Channel, where currents are severe. Charter or launch in Nanaimo.
Launch at the foot of Barnes-Murdock Road, head east to Round Island,
anchor or land in the cove at the northwest tip. From here follow
your compass heading due north for the dive.
Jesse Island is in Departure Bay, north of Nanaimo. This kayak or
boat dive site is for all divers. Diving day or night, Jesse Island
is an easy and safe spot that is very popular with both photographers
and sightseers. Departure Bay is heavily used with salmon fishing
just outside the bay, be very careful of small boats and ascent up
close to the side of the island. Charter or rent a boat in Nanaimo,
kayak-divers can launch at Departure Bay Beach and paddle east to
the island. Anchor in the little bay or leave the kayak on an exposed
ledge and dive along the north side of Jesse Island.
The dive at Gabriola Passage is for expert divers and snorkelers from
a boat. It holds great fun for everyone, whether your wish to photograph
the area, are a junk collector or just a sightseer. This is a current-swept
passage, so be careful, however there are two small points sticking
out to give you somewhere to swim, in case the current is too much.
This place is shared by burrowing cucumbers, urchins, rock scallops,
huge lingcod, tiger rockfish, yelloweye rockfish and octopuses. The
shallows at Gabriola Passage are also very rich in sea life. Hazards
here are very swift current, the many boats and the bull kelp. Dive
precisely on the slack. Pull out of the dive if the current picks
up. A pick up boat is required. Listen for boats and ascend along
the bottom to the shore, well away from any boats. It's essential
to use a compass on this dive and watch the current for direction.
Gabriola Passage is the northern most passage between the Gulf Islands.
Charter from Gabriola, Nanaimo, Victoria or Vancouver, launch at Degnen
Bay on Gabriola and go to the south side of this passage. You must
have a pickup boat.
Wall Beach which is a shore dive for all divers with guide or for
intermediate and experts is where you will find octopuses and wolf-eels.
Other marine life includes rockfish in great numbers and a variety
of starfish. Watch the current here, it's a long swim out to the dive
site, wind can be a factor and there are small boats in and around
this region. Wall Beach dive is near Parksville,
at Northwest Bay on Vancouver Island. Take Northwest Bay Road off
the Island Highway, between Nanaimo and Parksville. This area has
good night diving
Flora Islet, where you have an opportunity to see sixgill sharks is
a boat dive for expert divers, and intermediate divers with guide.
Sixgill sharks are a pale gray, and range anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3
1/2 meters (8 to 12 feet) and move slowly, but will turn in a hurry.
These graceful animals come up from great depths during the summer,
but very little is known about them. Flora Islet, is the only spot
in the Strait of Georgia where these sharks have been spotted. The
depth, current, boats and sharks are all hazards at Flora Islet. Never
be tempted to follow the sharks down. Close to the islet in about
4 meters (15 feet) of water, you will find lots of marine life. This
is a sensitive area and is honored as a reserve. This means do not
touch, take or disturb any marine life, only look and leave it for
others to enjoy. Access to Flora Islet is off the southeastern tip
of Hornby Island, which is near the north end of the Strait of Georgia.
Southwest winds prevail here, so pick a calm day and dive early in
the morning. Be safe, have fun!
the Campbell River is to see salmon in their own territory as they
swim upstream. The best time to snorkel with the salmon is from early
August to mid October and can be a thrill of a lifetime. The bottom
of the river is rocky, and depth ranges from dry rocky spots to 3
meters (10 feet), in the shallow spots you can stand up, but head
for the deeper spots, as it makes for easier floating. When snorkeling
the Campbell River watch the current, rubbish, as well as fallen branches
and trees. Access to the put-in is from the Gold
River Highway #28 and the logging bridge. Mark your take out which
is at the end of Maple Street. Float with a buddy and enjoy about
an hour of snorkeling with salmon in Campbell River. Be safe, have
Richmond Reef, is a shore dive, recommended for expert divers with
local guide. It is essential to dive with a live boat for pick up
in this area, and you best not be a novice diver when you hit these
waters. The current at Richmond Reef is very difficult and you have
to watch for boats and the kelp, but the dive is worth the effort
as colourful marine life is all around you. Access to this dive site,
in Discovery Passage close to the west side of Quadra Island is from
Quathiaski Cove, where you can either launch or charter. Be very careful
doing this dive.
The extremely colourful world found at Seymour Narrows is a boat dive
for experts and intermediate divers with guides. This dive is your
opportunity to see all types, colours and sizes of anemones. You will
also have a chance to see abalones, rock and swimming scallops, and
lingcod. Watch the current, tide rips and whirlpools. All types of
boats use this waterway, so watch for them. When ascending listen
for the small boats and hug the side of the passage. Seymour Narrows
is near the middle of Discovery Passage, and north of Campbell
River. Charter or launch from Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island
or from Campbell River. Dive with a live boat and go with a charter
operator who knows Seymour Narrows and dive your plan.
to see marine life at its finest, boat dive Plumper Rock. You should
be an expert diver or an intermediate with a guide. China rockfish
are common here, so are hydrocoral and basket stars. In winter, the
visibility is usually 24 to 30 meters (80 to 100 feet). Bald eagles
can also be spotted here, after your dive, look for them. Hazards
are current and boats, the current is always moving here. Hug the
rocks as you come up and listen for boats. Plumper Rock is located
on the east side of Weynton Passage in the Plumper Islands. Charter
or launch at Telegraph Cove or Port McNeill. It is best to have a
pickup boat when doing this dive. Safety should always come first.
Bear Cove which is a shallow shore dive with easy entry is for all
divers and snorkelers. This is a good winter dive, at which time hooded
or lion nidibranchs seem to cling to every kelp stalk in the cove.
On the reef you will find plumose anemones, kelp greenlings and rockfish.
There are a lot of boats and visibility is poor, there's bull kelp
in summer and red jellyfish in the fall. When ascending use a compass
and stay close to the bottom and come out on shore north of the ramp.
Check for stinging tentacles from the jellyfish. Bear Cove, at the
southeast end of Hardy Bay, can be reached by travelling 8 km (5 mi.)
from Port Hardy on Bear Cove Highway or if travelling north from Port
McNeill, watch for the Prince
Rupert Ferry sign. Look and enjoy, never take any marine life.
Browning Wall which divers' claim is a great place to drift is a boat
dive for intermediate and expert divers or all divers with guide.
This sheer drop-off is a kaleidoscope of marine life that is constantly
on the move. There are basket stars, yellow and black China rockfish,
sponges, kelp greenlings, anemones, red urchins, rock scallops, nudibranch,
nudibranch eggs and giant barnacles. They weave in and out, mingling
and forming an unforgettable water postcard. Hazards here include
boats, depth and current. Watch for red jellyfish in the fall. As
you ascent listen for boats and stay close to the wall. Before you
made your dive, have a plan and stick to it and dive with a live boat.
This is the only wall on the chart that drops off to 66 meters (215
feet) and is located on the west side of Browning Passing at the south
end of Nigei Island. Charter or launch from Port Hardy or God's Pocket.
Enjoy this extra special dive.
for sunken treasure where there's no current, a short easy swim, an
easy entry and recommended for all divers. This is the Old Customs
House dive located in Howe Sound. Diving here can result in finding
old mining artifacts, old bottles and maybe even old bricks that came
from Anvil Island. The one and only hazard here is the silt, it's
best to dive on an ebbing tide that might carry away the silt you
stir up. Before making the dive, you and your buddy should plan your
dive and dive your plan, incase you loose sight of each other. The
visibility is poor. The Old Customs House dive is just off the Sea
to Sky Highways #99 at Britannia Beach. Go past the Customs House,
turn left and head for the deteriorating launching ramp. Swim out
to the end of the dock and look for artifacts at the base of the pilings.
Be careful, bottom is silty and sheers off, visibility is poor.
Seymour Bay, a shore dive for all divers and snorkelers. You will
find marine life at 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 feet) that includes flounders,
burrowing cucumbers, tube worms, kelp greenlings, sea peaches, and
giant barnacles. Deeper down dahlia and large orange plumose anemones
are plentiful. Seymour Bay is on Bowen Island, which is a 15 minute
ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. Once on the island, it's a 25 to 30
minute drive over steep, rough roads. There are no homes or habitation
on Seymour Bay but it is a really good dive with plenty of history.
Lighthouse Park at the entrance of Burrard Inlet is known as one of
the best dives in the Vancouver area for seeing marine life. This
is a shore or kayak dive and is for intermediate and expert divers.
Diving here means seeing gray cabezons and kelp greenlings side by
side, sea pens burrowing in ledges covered by pink sea stars. There
are black rockfish, copper rockfish and lingcod, little hairy crabs.
Rocks are covered with orange anemones. This is your chance to see
giant barnacles, white plumose anemones, cloud sponges, urchins and
red Irish lords and with luck a huge octopus. Watch for current, wind
and broken fish line. In summer the visibility is poor and there are
usually a lot of small boats. Another hazard is a very tiring hike
from the parking lot at Lighthouse Park and the site. Access to Lighthouse
Park is at Point Atkinson off Marine Drive in West Vancouver, but remember
to dive here you must have permission from the Harbour Master's Office,
as are most other dives in the region.
Bay which is a short dive is for all divers and snorkelers. This is
a great place for underwater sightseeing, with easy entry and a short
swim. Diving here you are likely to see rockfish, sunflower stars,
orange and white plumose anemones, nudibranchs and look for Dungeness
and red rock crabs in the eelgrass and sand around the reef. Do not
remove any wildlife from this park. The hazards of this dive are mostly
small boats, poor visibility and red jellyfish in the fall. Belcarra
Bay is located in Belcarra Park, on the east side of Indian Arm, which
is easily reached from Port Moody off Highway 7A. Drop gear off at
the gate at the end of Midden Road and park at the picnic area. You
will find easy entry from the sand and the wharf. Make sure you know
what the park hours are and schedule accordingly. You will need permission
from the Harbour Master's Office to dive here.
For a dive that is close to the city of Vancouver, but miles away
when it comes to diving and marine life visit West Cates Park, where
red rock crabs and Dungeness crabs are easy to find, little snails,
Oregon tritons and flounders are all around. This is a very interesting
shore dive for intermediate and experts. When diving here watch for
some current, shallow depths, poor visibility and small boats, especially
in summer. It's recommended you wear extra weight and use a compass
to stay on the bottom for the dive. Cates Park, is on the west side
of Indian Arm at Roche Point in North Vancouver, follow
signs that go towards Deep Cove till you reach Cates Park. To dive
at Cates Park, permission is required from the Harbour Master's Office.
The southeast corner of Croker Island is an excellent boat dive for
all divers and snorkelers. You will see small dahlia anemones, green
urchins, burrowing cucumbers and painted greenlings. Lingcod, rockfish,
small shrimp and hairy lithode crabs are in abundance. Another interesting
and fun dive is the northeast corner of Croker Island. This is an
excellent spot for the photographer, especially in winter, when visibility
ranges to 30 meters (100 feet) all around this island. Watch for boats
in the summer, and red jellyfish in the fall. Check for stinging tentacles
before removing diving gear. Croker Island is located at the head
of Indian Arm, northeast of Deep Cove and Cates Park and north of
Reed Point. You can launch your boat from North Vancouver and Port
Moody. Charters are available from Ioco, Deep Cove and Port Moody,
or water taxi from Reed Point. No mater when you plan to dive this
area, you will need permission from the Harbour Master's Office. Enjoy
this and the many other diving sites, always be careful and never
harm the marine life. Be safe, have fun!
the very best wreck dives found anywhere is located in Sechelt Inlet
The Wreck of HMCS Chaudiere, a huge warship is recommended for expert
divers with wreck penetration and for intermediate divers for exterior
wreck dives. This is a challenge as the ship is deep with 67 rooms
on four decks that are all open for diving. Many rooms still hold
equipment that adds to the dive. There is also plenty of marine life
in and around this wreck. Hazards include depth and the temptation
to explore more than you are capable of doing. Make a dive plan, stick
to it and keep track of time. Entry should only be made by expert
divers who have been trained and have necessary information about
this wreck to make it a safe dive. The HMCS Chaudiere Wreck sits in
the Sechelt Inlet, in the bay north of Kuneching Point. Launch or
charter from Tillicum Bay or Porpoise Bay and watch for the yellow
buoys that mark the wreck. Do not make this dive without first checking
with local divers. Be safe, have fun!
Sechelt Rapids, locally known as the Skookumchuck, is the fastest-flowing
tidal rapids in the world and a great spot to dive. Only expert divers
and intermediate divers with guide should do this boat dive. There
is constant motion here. It churns four times a day with every turn
of the tide. Sechelt Rapids is very rich in marine life. The current
here is potentially dangerous, plan ahead and pick your dive time
very carefully. On your first dive here, charter with an operator
who knows the Skookumchuck and always dive with a buddy. Charter,
rent or launch at Porpoise Bay or Egmont. Sechelt Rapids is at the
north entry to Sechelt Inlet. Plan this dive well and be careful.
One of the many fine dive sites out from Powell River is the boat
dive called Rebecca Rocks. This full of life reef is for all divers
and snorkelers. There are sea cucumbers, rock scallops, lingcod, rock
greenlings and small rockfish are everywhere. Another plus at Rebecca
Rocks is that harbor seals will snorkel and dive with you. When diving
here be careful of the wind, the current, the many boats and broken
fishing line. Dive on the slack. Carry a knife. It is recommended
to use a compass, pay heed to the current and don't over stray from
your boat position. This is honoured by locals as a reserve, so please
do not touch or take out any marine life. To reach the Rebecca Rocks
go northwest of Texada Island in Algerine Passage. Charter from Westview
or Lund on the Sunshine Coast, from
Comox on Vancouver Island or
launch from Texada Island or Westview. Anchor and choose your diving
location depending on the current direction.
These are just a very few of the many great diving sites you can enjoy
along the coastal waters of British Columbia. Keep in mind that when
diving a new site, it's essential to have an experienced and licensed
guide that knows the area, and most important of all, always dive
with a buddy. Plan your dive, and dive your plan. Local dive shops
will be more than happy to give you all the latest information on
dive sites in their region. Enjoy your diving, be safe and have fun!