Sunday, October 24, 2010

Howe Sound Boat Dive - 23/10/2010

It was back out on the Topline with Jason and Vince this Saturday. Kevin and Jan were great hosts as usual!

The first site we visited was on the southern edge of Bowen Island. It was a new site to me, but I can't quite recall the name of it. We ended up passing it up since the conditions were not good there. The currents were not looking right to have a good dive.

Fortunately, Wolcombe Island was in the area, and we went there instead. I'd been there several times before, and it was usually a nice dive. On my first trip there, we saw a basket star. Wolcombe was apparently the only place in the Vancouver area where they could be found. However, since that trip, I've not seen a single basket star there. I suspect they have died out / moved on. So, if you want to see basket stars, get up to Port Hardy!

It was a pretty uneventful live boat drop, and we swam to the stick marker on the rock, did our checks, and descended. Our dive plan was to average 70 feet for half an hour then move up gradually for the rest of the dive. Jason was the limiting factor with a smaller gas supply, so we capped the dive to 50 minutes maximum. The wall at Wolcombe dropped to about a max of 80 feet, with a sandy bottom leaving off there. We didn't see anything too spectacular. The previous weekend many octopus had been reported here, but we didn't see any. The rock topography of Wolcombe was always interesting. But in terms of life there wasn't much of interest to be seen today. Or, we just missed everything! Well, there was a fairly large grunt sculpin which is always cool. I had my stage bottle out for practice again, and got some good stuff done. Managing the extra gear was getting easier. All three of us shot surface markers for practice at the end of the dive, and all that went well too.

From there, we got to pick where to go next. Hutt Wall was near, so we headed north to that. Jason and I hadn't been there in quite some time. Also, Mike the dive master on the boat said that there were two really huge cloud sponges at 60 feet there. Jason and I had missed them the last time we were there, so were anxious to see them. Mike also reported a northern spearnose poacher living under one of the sponges. I'd never seen one of those before, so was quite curious.

Since the sponges were at 60 feet, we decided to keep our dive plan to that depth. There was no way that we'd run out of no decompression time before Jason hit his gas limits, so that wasn't a concern. We estimated a 50 minute dive based on his gas consumption, and it turned out to be pretty accurate.

Descending down the wall was pretty murky at first. It also took a bit of swimming to get out from the rock far enough to actually get onto the wall itself. Somehow, Jason picked up a hitch hiker on the way. A feather star latched onto his arm, but eventually detached and dropped off. I found it quite amusing though. It took a bit of swimming to actually get to the could sponges. I almost started to think we missed them, but then there they were. They didn't disappoint. Both were close together and very large, at least the size of a small couch. One was half-dead though, shot through with brown. It's structure was still there, but both were not in good shape. It was too bad, but it was strange for them to be in such shallow water anyway.

Under the one sponge was indeed the norther spearnose poacher. It was very cool. Inside the sponges several grunt sculpins were making their home, along with many squat lobster. All in all, the sponges were extremely interesting and made this the best dive of the day. We continued on, and found several hairy crabs in various cracks, along with a very well camoflaged sculpin on a rock wall. Jason was looking at something right beside it and totally missed it. I wasn't quite sure what it was. Nothing in my marine book really looked right. I suspect it was a leister or buffalo sculpin. We also found a boot sponge filled with purple fish eggs. There was a kelp greenling near, so we thought it may have been greenling eggs. I also noticed a very nice painted greenling on the dive.

Hutt Wall was the high light of the day for sure! Afterward, we had some drinks at Ya Ya's in Horseshoe Bay. It was a pleasant end to a good day...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Egmont Dive Trip - 15/10/2010-17

I had visited Kal and Porpoise Bay Charters one time before, and I jumped at the chance to go again for more dives in the fabulous waters of the Egmont area. Many of the photos in the big green Pacific marine life book I had were taken in Egmont, as Kal explained later. The Chaudiere was also potentially on the list of dive sites, as was Agamemnon power lines and Skookumchuck rapids, all of which I'd heard a lot about. Another reason I wanted to go was to have a special location for my 200th dive.

The trip was arranged via IDC, and was planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One dive on Friday, three on Saturday, and two on Sunday.

There were some logistical concerns for this trip. One was Nitrox. Kal needed to know before hand who wanted that. The ferry ride to Langdale was another, but not a big one, since traffic on a Friday afternoon to the Sunshine Coast would be light. Transporting scuba cylinders was a third, but I had the forms printed out already and gave some to Steve as well. Other than that, the only things to be concerned about was making sure to bring everything that you might need to make the trip enjoyable. There would be no trips back and forth to the community, so what you brought was what you had. Having a warm hat, gloves, and some waterproof clothing was a very good idea, just in case too. There was no need to bring sleeping bags or anything like that. The accommodations were great. More on that later.

It took about three hours to do the trip up. There were two vehicles, the IDC van and Mihai's. I drove up with Mihai and his wife Christina, and everyone else went in the van with Steve. There was Heather, Alison, Jim, Liam, Avi, Gord, and Dave. About half of our group were new divers, so it was an interesting mix of experience.

The drive up was great. It was a warm sunny fall day, and there were no delays. We arrived at the red government dock in Egmont around 3:30 and met Kal.

A Google map link.

Kal's boat:

From scuba 2010 october egmont

It didn't take long to get stuff onto the boat for the short ride to Kal's place. Kal's boat was very well set up. Benches lined both sides at a good comfortable height, without having to stand up from a full sitting position. Double cylinders fitted fine as well. Under each bench was a sturdy shelf, and 2 single cylinders could fit in the bottom space. The boat had a good bathroom, and was covered as well, but open on the sides. Thankfully it didn't rain all weekend, but that kept the sun off! There was a custom hot-air blower that Kal had put in for hand warming as well. He joked about the jet-engine sound the fan made when it was running. If I recall correctly, the boat could hold 16 divers, 8 per side. That would be pretty tight but it was possible. We got to spread out some so that was nice. There was no capacity to do fills on the boat, but all the dive sites were close to Kal's home base so that wasn't a big problem.

When we got to where we'd be staying, I was anxious to see the yurts. Kal had set them up as a cheaper alternative to building cabins. They were "tents" in a very loose sense. Sure they were made of treated cotton canvas, but they were warm and dry and very nice. No dirt floors here!

From scuba 2010 october egmont

From scuba 2010 october egmont

From scuba 2010 october egmont

We met Ann (the "big cheese" according to Kal), and Nanook and Nemo, who were the resident puppies. They were an instant hit. Nanook was on the dock waiting to greet us, and to see what new people the boat would be bringing to lavish attention upon him. Kal joked that if we saw two glowing red eyes in the dark, that it was just Nanook. He was a husky cross and had very interesting grey/white eyes.

We quickly got sorted and picked out our accommodations. There were five yurts if I recall correctly, two sets of yurt bathroom/shower combinations, and a four bedroom guest house behind the main house. There was a lot of room to spread out that's for sure! We would have to settle in later though, since we wanted to get out for a check-out dive before it got too late. Worse, we didn't want to miss dinner!

Kal took us out to Nemo's Leap, which I had dove on the previous trip. It was named because the dog Nemo had leaped off of the boat and swam to the shore on one occasion. I was diving with Mihai for the duration of the trip, but we trio-ed up with Dave on several dives including this one. Jim and Alison formed another team, Heather and Avi another, and Gord and Liam. Steve bounced around between those groups I think. The checkout dive went pretty well. Mihai, Dave and myself had a good time on the dive. It was getting dark, but the visibility was quite good, probably 20-30 feet. The bull kelp beds were very nice to see. There were a lot of great nudibranchs out as well. We kept it under 60 feet and just had a nice relaxing 45 minute tour around the broken rocks and interesting topography.

Again we were greeted by the dogs on the dock, and hung up our drysuits in Kal's other boat which was heated and dry. It was a good setup. All the dive gear stayed on the boat or near it. There were no drysuits allowed in the yurts! Dinner was a variety of hamburgers, smokies, chicken and veggie burgers. Desert was a home-made chocolate brownie with ice cream. All excellent! Some of us hit the hot tub that evening, too. Yes, there was a hot tub! I didn't recall the hot tub from the last time I had been out there, but we were only there for a day trip then. It was a welcome treat after a long drive and some time in the Pacific ocean! The stars were out in force, and the view skywards from the tub was great.

The next morning brought more clear sunny skies, and flat glass-like water. It would be like that all weekend, which made a huge difference. The plan was to head out to South Sutton Island for the first dive of the day. But first, a hearty pancake breakfast courtesy of Ann. That morning dive would be one of the most memorable for people, because at the end of the dive, a bull and a cow sea lion played around with almost everyone. Unfortunately Mihai and myself were in a different location, and missed out on the sea lion fun. But it was still a great dive.

South Sutton Alison being camera shy

South Sutton surfacing in kelp

The dive I was most looking forward to was the Chaudiere, a Restigouche-class Destroyer Escort 366-feet long and 2900 tons. It was sunk in 1992. The Chaudière was the first Destroyer Escort ship sunk by the ARSBC, purchased from the Department of National Defence for $1.07 ($1.00 plus GST). We got to go through the famous Skookumchuck narrows, but unfortunately the tides would be wrong so we'd not be able to dive them during the trip. It certainly gave a reason to go back! Kal was saying the water could rip through there at over 15 knots at times. We went through during a safe period, but it was still plenty fast. Kyakers were out on the standing waves set up near the rocks by shore. They looked to be having an exciting time!

For the Chaudiere, Dave, Mihai and myself were diving together again. The general plan was to descend on the midship line, go towards the bow to see the guns, then slowly ascend up the stern section to the stern line. The Chaudiere was quite deep, and we planned accordingly. The guns and superstructure were at 100 feet, and we spent a good portion of our bottom time there.

Chaudiere guns

Chaudiere near the guns

Working our way back up the stern, we came across Steve doing a bit of wreck penetration.

Chaudiere Steve entering

Chaudiere Steve exiting and waving

There were a lot of large and spectacular yellow frosted nudibranchs on the wreck, along with a variety of anemones and tunicates. I was surprised that there wasn't more life on it however. There were large sections of barren rust-covered metal. The ship was quite interesting, though, since it was on it's side. It gave quite a different perspective. I can just imagine how different it would be inside seeing staircases and ceilings all sideways.

Chaudiere stern panorama

After the Chaudiere, we had a second dive planned before heading back for dinner. We returned to Nemo's leap, in a bit of a different location. This ended up being a pretty fast drift dive, and it was a lot of fun. Again, there were a lot of nudibranchs and bull kelp. We kept it shallow, and had a nice relaxing time. Lots of nudibranchs were a common theme on this trip, that's for sure. Also, there was a lot of human evidence on the bottom here. We came across a barbecue, a circular saw blade, various bottles, and Jim found a teapot. I am pretty sure that it was the same brown teapot I saw in the spring!

Trashed Teapot

Back at the house, some of us decided to do a night dive under Kal's dock before dinner. I had eyed the water under the dock since day one; visibility looked great, and there were kelp beds and shallow rock walls rimming the area. Kal also said he'd be happy if we could recover a few of his vinyl gear covers that had blown into the water recently. Alas, we didn't find any of those, but the dive turned out to be pretty good. Myself, Dave, Gord, Avi and Liam suited up and hit the water. Liam had a problem with his light, and Heather was kind enough to lend him hers. Overall, we headed north out from the dock along the gravel bottom. It was pretty flat and shallow, but gave a good easy dive for Gord, Liam and Avi who hadn't had much experience with night diving. The best part of the dive was the huge schools of gleaming shiner perch. They flitted about in our light beams magically. Visibility went beyond where our lights extended adding to the experience. We did hit some rock piles and poked about there, but the current started to pick up so we headed back in.

However, it was a pretty tough deciding to do this dive. Heather and Steve had hit the hot tub. Dave and I both confessed to each other the next day that we almost did the same!

Dinner was again grand, with Ann doing some great steak, fish and veggie dishes. Desert was a raspberry cobbler; as good as it sounds. Alison had two helpings (I had to correct that, originally I put down three, but she had three "home made" buns the next day so I got confused)! It would be an early night, though, since the plan was to try for a "sunrise" dive. Steve wanted to see if it was similar to what he had experience elsewhere, where getting in the water before sunrise and spending your dive time during it would give insight into both night and dawn life. It certainly sounded like an intriguing idea, if early.

So at 7:40am the next day we were in the water descending on Swede's Reef, so named for the Swedish photographers who loved it so much. Mihai and I teamed up again, and found about 4 puget sound king crabs. We also found an octopus den, with the remains of a puget sound king crab at the door. Mihai saw the tentacles, but it was too far back for me to see. I did recover the carapace from the deceased crab, and it made a great souvenir! Kal said to rinse it in fresh water then coat it in a lacquer or other coating as quickly as possible. I used lacquer later, and it did a pretty good job. The shallow depth and the bright morning light made it amazing when we were swimming with a school of fish, too.

Swede's reef puget sound king crab

Swede's reef swimming with the fish

After heading back for an excellent eggs benedict breakfast, we were on our way to the final dive of the trip, the Agamemnon power lines. I had heard a lot about this dive, so was pretty excited when I heard we would do it. It turned out not to disappoint! This wall dive was incredible. The number and size of the cloud sponges was unbelievable. We wouldn't see any of the big gorgonian corals, but we did see some small specimens. I'd have to return to see those once I completed Tech 1. The visibility was very good, and the light was great, even at a hundred feet. I was pretty sad when we had to come up from this dive! However, it was just as good shallow, as it got even brighter. The rock topography here was great. Maybe not packed with as much life as a place like Browning Wall, but it was on par in terms of spectacular dive sites!

Agamemnon channel cloud sponge fly by

Agamemnon channel cloud sponge crab and panorama

Agamemnon channel small gorgonian coral

Overall, this was the best dive of the trip in my opinion. Everyone else said the sea lion experience, but since I didn't see that, this was it!

I've certainly left out a lot of details, but there was no way to pack all those memories into this post. A big thanks to Steve for organizing the trip, and the same to Kal and Ann for being such great hosts. I know many of us will be back! I can't wait myself.

Here is a short list of some of the life I saw: cloud sponge, chimney sponge, gorgonian coral, zoanthids, moon jelly, sea blubber, red fur crab, puget sound king crab, rhinocerous crab, rock scallop, leafy hornmouth, giant white dorid, yellow margin dorid, variable dendrontid, gold dirona, pearly nudibranch, frosted nudibranch, shag-rug nudibranch, spiny sea squirt, transparent sea squirt, longfin sculpin, cabezon, yelloweye rockfish, tiger rockfish, painted greenling.

I just got some pictures from David. I will continue to update this with more of his favorites as I get them!

From scuba 2010 october egmont

From scuba 2010 october egmont

From scuba 2010 october egmont

Friday, October 15, 2010

Howe Sound Boat Dive - 10/10/2010

It was time for a boat dive, so I went out with Mihai on the Topline. It was fall, so the boat had moved to the other side of the marina. Good thing I remembered they did that, otherwise we would have been looking for a long time!

The day was very nice. It started out threatening but cleared up nicely.

The first dive was on North Bowyer. I had brought my AL80 stage for some practice so this was ideal. Mihai and I planned a dive of 50 minutes with an average of 70 feet. We ended up shallower so extended it to almost an hour. The stage practice went well, but the visibility was very poor. Maybe 10 or 15 feet. Not much exciting in terms of things to see either, so not the best of dives. We had some team positioning and communication problems, but I think that was due to Mihai being out of the water for a while and also had a leak and computer problems.

The second dive site was new to me. It was the North East wall on Bowyer island. Kevin had reported a lot of octopus there the previous week, so I was hoping to see a bunch. This dive site was a not bad wall, but it wasn't as nice as the Cut at Whitecliff. There we're some cloud sponges and other life such as you would find on a wall, but not a lot of it. Certainly not as much as you'd find other places. The wall too was plateaued, so there was not a drop off to nothing. This made it a lot easier for newer divers. We had a few along, so that was good.

We practised SMB deployment at the end of the dive, and that went pretty well.
All in all, not a bad day, but visibility was very poor. Too bad, since it was so sunny and nice. No octopus either! Oh well, next time.

Caulfield Cove 09/10/2010

It was always fun to check out a new dive site, and Jason and I did just that. I had known about Caulfield Cove for a long time, but had never taken the opportunity to check it out. Caulfield Cove was pretty easy to get to, being even closer to town than Whitecliff. However, parking was very limited and as we would find out, quite shallow and barren.

Betty Pratt in the 151 Dives book called Caulfield a great place to find bottles. When that description has been used, the dive usually is less than stellar. Usually shallow and lots of mud. Bottles yes but you really have to like that!

I'm getting ahead of myself.

It looked like the area could be promising with rock cliffs lining the west shore, and a rocky outcropping to a bay to the east. There was a DFO dock here, and some people would use that to dive from. Jason and I decided to park in the parking spot by the garbage can and enter the water from the beach trail that was near that. We checked out the rocky outcropping but that looked too steep and craggy.

We knew the site would be shallow, so planned accordingly. On the first dive we decided to cross the bay to the rock cliffs on the west and follow those out south. Crossing the bay was pretty uninteresting. We did find a lot of bottles and golf balls. We did find a cracked white china plate with a blue pattern on it. Treasure from long ago, or knock-off modern crap. Not sure! There were rumours of all sorts of things lost overboard here, as it was a shipping stop-point.

All in all, It was a uniform muddy bottom with little life. Some red rock and dungeness crabs, and a few midshipmen. We did find a brand new boat anchor and chain in the middle of the bay. I marked it with my SMB just to see if we could recover it later.

Finally we made it to the west side, and discovered the bottom sand/mud sloped up all the way to meet the rock, meaning there was really not much there at all. No wall anyway. We followed this for some time at 10 feet and came across a lot of red algae and eel grass. There was a frosted nudibranch which was the highlight of the wildlife. We crossed back over the bay and found a few rock outcroppings on the way back to the dock, that seemed good for the second dive.

We returned to the anchor but it was too heavy to safely raise. We'd need lift bags to do it properly, and so we abandoned it.

Our average depth was something like 10 feet. We did both dives on a single steel 100. Jason mentioned his air consumption had gotten better, too. A pretty good day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tofino / Ucluelet UASBC Trip 02-03/10/2010

On October 2nd and 3rd, I went along with Chris and Kim and the Underwater Archaeology Society of BC (UASBC) to dive 4 wrecks around the Tofino and Ucluelet area. The wrecks were the Lord Western, Favorite, Nika and Pass of Melfort. I had been meaning to join the society for a long time, so this was a great opportunity to do that and to see some history!

The logistical difficulty of diving on the Western side of Vancouver Island was what I learned most, especially coming from Vancouver. First contending with the ferry ride, then the 2-3 hour drive across the island along narrow winding roads, and weather that changed on a dime. It was worth it because of the huge variety of diving opportunities, though.

The UASBC used the Michelle Diana, a 32 foot Water taxi/dive boat captained by a fellow named Brian. It was a versatile boat, but in that versatility it lost out on features that folks who dive doubles can appreciate. Namely, a lot of bench space and ways to secure your rig in your space. We made it work, but there was a lot of man-handling of gear needed. If I had to handle my doubles on this boat while in rough weather, I'd be pretty nervous!

Everyone met up in Tofino on Saturday at about 10:30am. Jacques Marc was the trip leader, and we had Chris, Kim, and me as the GUE contingent, along with Keith, Alexa, Holger, and Jiri. We departed Tofino in good order for the 1 hour and 15 minute boat ride north to Sydney Inlet. I think the approximate Google Map location of the Lord Western was:

I was surprised at the poor quality of the satellite view, but what can you do!

On the trip up, we were lucky to see several humpback whales. One dove quite nicely and showed it's flukes in the classic whale-diving pose.

Arriving at the dive site, Jacques briefed us on the Lord Western. The UASBC had a publication on this wreck which I had read as well. It was the oldest located wreck in BC, having sunk in 1853. It was a three masted barque, carrying fir piles and canned salmon. I forgot to take notes on more details! It was a pretty big ship, though.

Jacques dropped a shot-line down on where the sounding showed the ballast pile. The ship had a large amount of small rocks in the hold as ballast, and that gave a very nice landmark running the length of the wreck site. Unfortunately, the shot-line was off, and when we got to the bottom, we were greeted with nothing but muddy bottom. However, it didn't take long to come across the debris and the wreck site opened up around us. Silt was a real problem here. Most of the wreck was between 60 and 40 feet. There was a surprising amount of the wreck left. A large section of wooden deck planking remained, copper pins from the keel jutted up from the bottom at regular intervals, and timbers lay tangled everywhere.

I took some shaky video on this trip. I had not done underwater video before, so please forgive the camera-work.

Lord Western debris field

Lord Western debris from Anton North on Vimeo.

Lord Western ballast pile

Lord Western ballast pile from Anton North on Vimeo.

A picture courtesy of Alexa. Note the line running through the shot, left over from the UASBC survey work.

From scuba tofino uclulet 2010 not mine Alexa Councell

Next, we headed North to the wreck of the Favorite. Jacques told us that it provided floating accommodation to female cannery workers. The other rumour was that it was a floating brothel. It sank in 1920 quite ingloriously. The crew took leave for a weekend, and upon returning found the vessel had sunk!

I was not quite sure where the wreck was geographically, but I believe this was it:

The Favorite was very close to shore, right at the mouth of a small freshwater creek. Again, the bottom was very muddy and silt was a problem. The wreck was small, but more recognizable. The bow and stern jutted up from the bottom, and were still joined together by parts of the hull. Copper hull plates had been helping to keep these parts intact. The wreck was shallow, between 30 and 15 feet. Because it was small, we kind of ran out of things to see after about 20 minutes. There were some iron capstans encrusted with rust which were interesting. They looked like cones made of very thick metal lattice work. We stretched the dive out to about 40 minutes by going up and down the hull 4 times, but I think it would have been more interesting if we had some specific tasks to do while on the wreck. There was nothing else around the area to see unfortunately.

Favorite bow

Favorite bow from Anton North on Vimeo.

Favorite capstan by Alexa

From scuba tofino uclulet 2010 not mine Alexa Councell

Favorite bow by Alexa

From scuba tofino uclulet 2010 not mine Alexa Councell

On the trip back to Tofino, we stopped in at the Lord Western to retrieve the shot-line that we had forgotten. The ride back was a bit rough as the swells had increased, but it wasn't bad. We had to be back quickly to make it to Ucluelet and drop our cylinders off at Subtidal Adventures for fills. This was not advertised as a dive shop as far as I could see. However, the owner seemed to have a compressor that was available. You may want to call ahead to confirm if you want to use him. Originally Chris, Kim and I were going to blend some 32% nitrox in the field, but that plan was abandoned. Chris and Kim decided to burn up some trimix on the next day's dive of the Nika. Limited fill ability was something to keep in mind on future trips.

We had dinner at the Eagle's Nest Pub, but not after some problems with directions! You wouldn't think you could get lost in a small town, but we almost managed it. But, because it was a small town, a bit of driving around allowed us to discover Jacques's blue pickup in short order. We stayed at the Little Beach Resort, which had small cabins for rent. They had free wifi too! Good for me, since my phone was on the Rogers network, and that didn't work in the area. We had a good meal talking diving, but packed it in for an early night's sleep.

In the morning, we had breakfast at the Blue Water cafe. At least, I think it was called that. It's address was approximately 1636 Peninsula Road. It used to be a shop called “Big Swell”. Anyway, it's not hard to find. It seemed to be one of the few places open for breakfast early.

After picking up cylinders, we were out on the water with Brian again. The Nika dive site was near Francis Island, but my memory of the location was vague. It was not far from the harbour, though, only 10 or 15 minutes. It was near a pretty exposed rocky outcropping, and the swells were breaking vigorously on it. But apart from the rough water the day was ideal. Clear and sunny with no fog or rain. We all got geared up in a sheltered bay, then we motored to the site and did a live boat drop. Jacques would lead the main group so as we'd not miss anything. Kim and Chris were on trimix and they planned a much longer dive so they were able to go off on their own. The rest of us were on air, and were constrained by bottom time. The Nika was in about 80-90 feet of water, and was a very square-profile dive. It lay pretty much completely in that depth range on a flat sandy bottom. We descended down the rock wall of the outcropping, and landed smack on top of the prop area. A very long drive shaft connected them to the steam engines. A huge cabezon was hanging out on them. Beyond that, Jacques took us out to some more of the wreckage, then around to the boilers which had slid off to the side. All in all, this was the best dive of the trip. The high-flow area meant that there was very little silt. The sunny day made for quite a bright dive, too. And the wreckage was just cool. Alas, our bottom time ran out far too quickly and we had to surface. It really made me look forward to Tech 1! Jacques was quite the speed-demon too, which made good use of our limited bottom time. We ended up seeing everything of the wreck, I think.

Nika prop area

Nika prop area from Anton North on Vimeo.

Nika boiler area

Nika boilers from Anton North on Vimeo.

Unfortunately the Pass of Melfort was not doable. The swells were just too large in the area of the wreck.

Instead, we went back into the harbour area and went looking for wreckage from the MV Ganges a former RCMP launch wrecked in 2008 and an unknown wreck that Jacques had heard about that morning from a local. Jacques handed out marker floats so that if we came across anything we could mark it. The dive itself was shallow, (25 feet) and the surge was quite pronounced. Keith and I dropped in right on the fuel tank from the Ganges. Jacques marked it so that we could get the GPS coordinates. We found another square tank, this one newer and made of aluminum. Others found the Ganges stack, engine bed plate, battery cases etc. There was also a lot of life, many nudibranchs and jellies, and best of all, a Puget Sound King Crab. Also a few rubber tires!

Puget sound king crab from Anton North on Vimeo.

Back on the boat, we waited for Jacques. Holger had found the sailing ship parrel that we were looking for in 13 feet of water. Jacques swam in to photograph it and recover the marker. The surge made it very challenging at one point washing him over a rock. In the end he abandoned his efforts and we sacrificed another float. Thankfully we didn't have to mount a rescue dive for him! Once he was back on the boat, he was very very tired.

Another highlight was before this dive, a California sea lion gave us a show eating a salmon near the boat. Alexa got a great picture of him gulping down the entire tail section!

From scuba tofino uclulet 2010 not mine Alexa Councell

Finally, we were back in the harbor and all packed up. Here is the group of us, after a successful and fun trip!

From scuba tofino uclulet 2010 not mine Alexa Councell

Please note: I have corrected some of the details above, but there still may be some errors. I will do my best to correct them! I wanted to post this quickly so as not to have it fade too much from memory. Jacques was kind enough to do some editing and updated some of the details. Thanks, Jacques! The edited article will be going in the UASBC publication, the Foghorn soon.

Kelvin Grove 30/09/2010

I went back to Kelvin Grove for a night dive with Anita Hollands. Not only was it just to have a nice fun dive since I missed diving on the weekend, but I also was trying out an underwater camera that I had borrowed.

I only did video on this dive, and it didn't turn out very well. It was harder than I thought! Mostly it was the lighting. Without large powerful lights, underwater stuff was hard to capture. No surprise there, I had been hearing that since I started diving!

It was still a nice little dive. I found a great little octopus out of its den. But before Anita could see it, it had retreated out of sight. Too bad, it was a great orange colour. There were many nudibranchs as well.