Friday, August 10, 2012

Willis Point 18/07/2012

Jason and I decided to do some diving on the island, and it worked out that Jim Dixon and the Vancouver Island Underwater Explorers group was planning on diving Willis Point. I fell in love with Willis because of its great vis. Alas, not the best vis on this trip, but more on that later.

Jason and I took the 8am ferry out of Tswassen and made it to Willis Point for the agreed on 10am start. We were first to arrive, and were very surprised to see zero parking spots. There were three divers there already, Richard Parker was the one I recognized, but I only knew him in passing. They said that the local residents had taken to parking their spare vehicles there to try and drive out the divers. Seems pretty silly to me! I suppose it could get annoying with it being such a popular site, but still.

Jim showed up shortly, along with Greg Nuttal and Peter. I had not met Peter before, but knew Greg from the Nautical Archaeology Society 1 class that I took with the UASBC. Richard and his crew were heading down for their dive, and graciously said that we could use their truck gates to gear up on. So we all parked where we could up the road after unloading our gear and started getting ready.

We did two dives, and both were pretty good but similar. There was not a lot of unusual things to see, but one thing were the clouds of larvae in the water. I had seen clouds of them before, but usually they were quite small. These clouds were enormous, and didn't seem to end. It made the visibility even less. The great Willis Point vis wasn't so great on these dives. Jim said that the previous week it had been near unlimited. Go figure! On both dives we went to the left, and just saw what we could see.

There were huge numbers of moon jellies, and a lion's mane mixed in. We steered clear of the lion's mane, but one of the moon jellies crashed into my face, and I did feel a bit of a sting. Not much, though. Moon jellies are not stingers, but apparently if you got one right in the face you can feel it!

The shallows were fun to muck around in. The kelp fronds were festooned with kelp crabs. There was also a great ascent to the surface with small bubbles covering all the vegetation, and the sun making them shine like tiny pearls. It's hard to see on this bit of video, but it's near the end.

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