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Diving the hot spots of Vancouver Island

My dive buddy and I enter the cool clear water and descend down a mooring line to the deck of the 110-meter (366-ft) wreck Saskatchewan. The water is 8°C (47°F). I look up to see the rest of the group silhouetted in a light emerald hue arrive like slow motion skydivers.
Diving the hot spots of Vancouver Island
Published in X-Ray Issue: 13 - Oct 2006
Authored by: Barb Roy | Photography: | Translation:
Download pdf ► Vancouver Island
Visibility is at least 27 meters (90ft). My buddy and two others glide by on their scooters, anxious to explore the ships interior while I join underwater photographers equally as anxious to explore the wreck’s exterior cloak of invertebrate life.

Upon the railings and deck resides an outline of white plumose anemones, all varying in height. Small swimming scallops, curious juvenile rockfish, brittle stars, decorator crabs and colourful nudibranchs seem to occupy the rest of the deck structures.

Clusters of sponge, delicate feather stars and small orange anemones crowd any vacant spots between giant lingcod and cabezon as the fish settle in on prime breeding grounds. As we proceed to the bow, the once battle-ready forward guns now lay dormant, softened over time by the duties of a sea life refuge. Even the wheelhouse wears a disguise of colourful critters.

From there I am enthralled by the sight of the mast and radar tower as I look up towards the surface. No straight lines can be found amongst the anemone camouflage. Although it is possible to see most of the ship on just one dive, two to three will permit a more detailed coverage. We ascend up the line, all pleased with our photographic treasures and exploratory jaunts, anxious to soon return.

British Columbia (BC) has always been known for its scenic beauty, powder ski slopes, and excellent restaurants, but most global visitors have no idea that this coastal Canadian province also has some of the best temperate scuba diving in the world! In fact, Vancouver Island boasts a cold-water paradise like no other, complete with unique underwater residents, nutrient rich currents and vibrant colors that will put most tropical reefs to shame. Of the many choice diving sites in British Columbia to choose from, I have selected four on the 460kilometer (286 miles) long Vancouver Island to cover for this story. These are by no means the only four on the island, just four that will portray BC’s incredible diversity.

When flying into this region there are three main airport terminals; Sea-Tac International in Seattle, Vancouver International on the BC mainland and Victoria International on Vancouver Island. Proof of citizenship is highly recommended when entering Canada. Many of the dive stores and operators offer travel packages, which include diving, accommodations, tanks and weights. Live-aboard dive boats commonly pick up in Vancouver, Nanaimo and Port Hardy. Rental dive gear is readily available throughout the island as well as specialized Nitrox, Trimix and Argon gas.

BC Ferries offer daily service from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay on the mainland, across Georgia Strait to Duke Point or Departure Bay in Nanaimo, taking approximately two hours. When traveling at peak times, ferry reservations are a good bet and can be made on-line. ...

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Diving the hot spots of Vancouver Island