Last weekend we had a fun dive on the Columbia artificial reef off Maude Island, Campbell River. The former destroyer class ship was sunk June 22, 1996 by the Artificial Reef Society of BC. The 366 foot long ship is now home to dozens of species of marine life, including this cabezon, seen above with Trisha.
The cabezon sits mid-ship, very relaxed, as if it's just chilling out and watching the world go by! Cabezon are a large species of sculpin, and native to the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to California. Cabezon feed on crustaceans, molluscs, fish and fish eggs, and can grow up to 23lb in weight.
They are very photogenic fish, and it's always a pleasure to see one on a dive. They are few and far between Beneath BC, so the sight of a cabezon is always a welcome one.
Click and drag this 360 degree image to look at a bunch of happy divers!
Scuba diving is as much a social activity as it is about exploring. One a day of diving you may only spend a couple of hours actually underwater. The rest of the day you spend with like-minded people, bobbing around on a boat or hanging out on shore. Other divers can be a valuable source of educational info, not only about diving and improving your techniques, but also marine life behaviour, names of species, and how to find them. Below we have a group of divers (including us!) on the Pacific Seeker charter boat out of Campbell River with Pacific Pro Dive.
Scuba diving relies heavily on equipment to support your life in a submerged environment. One piece of gear we need when exploring is a dive computer. Normally these look like a large wrist watch and display essential information such as your depth, the time elapsed during your dive, your No Decompression Limit (how long you can stay at a given depth), and a few other bits such as time, and water temperature.
We now use a new dive computer called the NERD 2 by Shearwater Research. It's a heads up display that shows all your information in your line of sight by way of a device that mounts to your regulator hose. In the image above you can see Trisha; her right eye has a cylinder looking device there, this is the NERD 2. It's a brand new piece of high end dive gear that is perfect for people shooting video underwater.
With a glance of the eye, you can look at the NERD 2 and see all your dive information. This is excellent for shooters like us, we don't have to move our wrist. Whaaat - how hard can it be to move your wrist?! Well, if you're filming a cool marine life encounter, the last thing you want to do is move your arm, wrist, and camera and spoil the shot. The NERD 2 puts your essential dive info right in front of you, so you don't have to move or risk messing up a shot, but you can stay safe and informed.
It's an amazing piece of gear, check out this link to learn more.
The north Vancouver Island town of Gold River is also home to this fantastic little spot, known as Deep Hole. It's a popular swimming and cliff jumping spot with locals, and for us, a fantastic place to go for a 20 foot deep scuba dive, or a snorkel. The water is part of the Heber River; crystal clear, and beautifully carved through the canyon rock.
Did you know Howe Sound, a mere thirty minutes from Vancouver, is actually the largest glacial fjord in the whole of North America? What's more, you can explore it from the surface as a snorkeler or from beneath as a scuba diver.
Howe Sound is one of the wonders of BC - huge mountains towering above the green ocean below it. If you're looking to go for a splash we can highly recommend Sea Dragon Charters for diving and snorkel adventures.
Tyee Cove is a spot well known amongst BC divers, but many non-diving BC residents may not be aware that this little bay is mecca for BC diving.
Located near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, Tyee Cove has undergone a complete landscaping renovation, making what was once a muddy cover into a beautiful landscaped park, complete with a toilet, changing room, footpaths and ample parking. It's a fantastic renovation made possible by local residents, who have always been very supportive of divers exploring in their backyards (well, almost in their backyards!).
Underwater, Tyee has some unique rock stratigraphy.