Cold Water Diving in British Columbia



There’s a scene in the movie, Along Came Polly in which Ben Stiller and his new bride are in some tropical location and this crazy naked French dude comes up to them on the beach and says: “So, tell me true. Are you guys for scuba?” For some reason, that always plays in my head every time I go scuba diving. And, this weekend was no exception.

A patch of white Plumose Anemone reminds me of cauliflowers as I glide through the frigid Pacific sea off Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, BC. Next, we pass a Sunflower Star, the fastest moving starfish in the world. A few lingcod are chilling out on a rock, while a strange looking white lined Dirona sea slug sways in the current. This 3D ocean world full of alien marine creatures unfolds all around me as I take on my first cold water dive ever.

I received my open water scuba diving certification in the tropical waters of Koh Tao, Thailand, where coral, bright fish and even whale sharks are abundant. But, right in our backyard of British Columbia, Canada lies some of the world’s best diving.

I decided to get my dry suit specialty certification because it’s clearly the best equipment for our cold waters. Growing up in BC, I’ve always wondered what lurked deep in our ocean depths, and this weekend, I finally got to see for myself.

The folks at the International Diving Centre on Arbutus Street in Vancouver were great. Diving in a dry suit definitely has its ups and downs as you inflate and deflate with air, feeling a little bit like the Michelin Man at times. But, we quickly got the hang of it and were on our way to a whole new diving experience.

The benefits of a dry suit are that you can layer your clothing underneath the suit, and stay dry throughout the dive, keeping you way warmer than a wet suit.

The IDC runs fun dives throughout the summer. Shore dives are free, while boat dives cost $90. If you don’t own equipment, you can rent it for 25% off. Check their website for a schedule of dives with their very own Scuba Steve and courses.

During my three days of diving with these guys, I learned that Port Hardy on Vancouver Island is one of the hot spots for diving – er I mean cold spots. Now, I’m determined to visit this magical underwater world come hell or high water.

Don’t let the cold water turn you off exploring our oceans. Take your open water course and discover a whole new world full of quirky and mysterious creatures.

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