Zip up a dry suit, strap on an scuba cylinder and sink below the surface into an incredible marine wonderland. Vancouver Island North is world-renowned for its scuba diving. These cold (around 10°C), clear, current-fed waters are home to an extraordinary diversity of life in jaw-dropping density. Legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau and the experts at National Geographic magazine have proclaimed the northeast coast of Vancouver Island as one of the finest cold-water scuba diving destinations in the world.
Enjoy stunning colour in great, substantial stretches. In these rich waters, where specimens often exceed the limits given in field guides, you may encounter more than ten species of sea slug on a single dive. Giant Pacific octopuses and wolf eels might be spotted around their dens. And rockfish may school around you. The rock walls are brightly painted with red soft coral, multi-hued sponges and vibrant anemones and sea stars. It’s an underwater photographer’s dreamscape.
The reason you can’t see to the bottom in these cold, dark waters is because there is SO much life. When you can see to the bottom, there is far less plankton which fuels the food web.
Seemingly endless stretches of coastline provide equally endless dive opportunities. Favorite spots in the area include the concentration of dive sites in the Broughton and Blackfish Archipelagos; the gardens of Zeballos; the expansive walls of Browning Pass near God’s Pocket Marine Provincial Park; and the vibrant life of Quatsino Narrows.
Choose to rent gear (dry suits are a must) and join a local operator on guided trips out to prime locations. Opt for a live-aboard adventure. Or settle into the comfort of a dive resort. Whichever way you get your feet wet in this addictive pastime, you’re sure to want to explore all that this cold-water diver’s paradise has to offer.