Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quadra Island 08-09/12/2012

I had been really looking forward to this trip. Alan Johnson of International Diving Center had arranged another trip to Quadra Island. The previous year I had missed it, but this year both Heather and I signed up. I had heard a lot about diving at Quadra, and the visibility here was supposed to be second to Port Hardy.

Our boat was the Ata-Tude with Captain Bill Coltart of Pacific Pro Dive based out of Campbell River. The hotel was the Whiskey Point Hotel just a short hop by ferry from Campbell River. The hotel obviously caters to a wide range of water-sport enthusiasts, as it has a dedicated drying room! That was a very nice treat!

The first day of diving had us visit Row and Be Damned, and Steep Island. I can't remember the story of the names, but the dives were excellent. The current was not too bad, and it just provided a nice relaxing drift. Having the luxury of being picked up by a boat was a great treat. The Steep Island dive had fantastic rock overhangs and huge clusters of black-tufted tube worms. Bill also said that the rockfish would eat an urchin out of your hand. On this rare occasion, I gave it a try, but the rockfish seemed very uninterested.

That night, I did a night dive with AJ from IDC off of Whiskey Point. We heard it was quite nice, and got a lot of good details from Captain Bill. Here is a google map link to where the spot was:,-125.221159&spn=0.003604,0.006974&hq=whiskey+point&hnear=Quadra+Island&t=h&z=17

Bill warned us (with good reason) to plan the dive carefully. The currents around Quadra were very strong, and the ferry terminal was just around the corner. Being swept the wrong way could be very hazardous. Fortunately, his instructions were spot on for the dive. The key was patience in waiting for the current to turn. While waiting, we threw sticks in the water to have something to gauge the current direction. AJ's choice of one stick was very amusing, when it promptly sank like a rock out of sight. I laughed pretty hard at that!

The dive itself was great. The current was minimal, and we spied a pretty little giant pacific octopus out in the open. AJ had not seen one before, so it was a great success. Visibility was amazing as well. I would not recommend Whiskey Point as a dive site to anyone unless they had a keen understanding of the currents in the area, and were a pretty skilled and comfortable diver. The entry and exit is rocky and rough, and the current is not to be trifled with. Unlike other dive sites near a dive "resort" this is not really one where you can just jump in and paddle around easily after a long day of diving. But it was still worth it.

The next day had us doing three dive sites in one. We did Copper Cliffs, but the current was so fast that it took us over at least three dive sites according to Bill. it was a fast, but extremely fun drift dive, probably one of the fastest I'd ever been on. The feeling of flying was just incredible. You had to be quick on your inflator and dump valve though, because the current would also bring you up and down like a bit of a roller coaster. Exhilerating!

In the end, it was an excellent dive trip, as always! I would be back to dive with Bill anytime.

Here is a bit of video:

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