The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water. Yet, scientists know more about space than they do about the world’s vast oceans right here on this planet. Scuba diving is a fantastic way to see what lies beneath the emerald waters of our shores.
British Columbia has some of the best scuba diving in the world. Even famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau has ranked certain dive sites off Vancouver Island among the top in the world. It may be a tad colder than diving in tropical waters, but B.C. shores have much to offer the recreational diver – and it’s all right in our backyard.
This week’s adventure took me to Porteau Cove Provincial Park, located along the Sea to Sky Highway in Howe Sound Fjord, which is the most southernly fjord in North America. It’s about 30-minute driving distance from the heart of Vancouver.
Porteau Cove is known for its artificial reefs that have been created by scuttled ships and tankers. Marine life is diverse: sea anemones, seals, starfish, Dungeness crabs, lingcod, dogfish and eels. Divers have even seen the elusive 6 Gill Sharks in these parts.
Water temperature in the Vancouver area ranges from 4 to 18 degrees Celsius, depending on what time of year it is, so it’s always good to have your dry suit certification in addition to the Open Water so you have the option for a warmer dive.
Having both my certificates, I decided to venture off on a “fun dive” with the International Diving Centre, located in Kits. They run all sorts of dive trips throughout the year. For $10 you get one tank, 25% off equipment rentals, and a Dive Master to lead the group. This is especially great for people like myself who aren’t experienced yet. Plus, you get to meet a whole new network of diving buddies. Check the IDC Facebook Page for upcoming dive trips.
Our first descent was a little disorientating due to visibility. Porteau is notorious for having variable visibility during the summer months and we experienced it in spades. There are many factors to check before diving this site, including tide and currents. But, the bottom line is, you just never know what it will be like until you get in the water.
But, amidst the murky waters, there is beauty. This underwater explorer managed to hit Porteau Cove just right and captured some great footage of the wrecks and marine life I will see one day.
PUBLICATION: Vancouver Is Awesome