A beautiful end of an era

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on September 28, 2014 at 20:38:33:

Sit back, prop your feet up and relax. This is going to take a bit of time.

When Captain George Vancouver charted the Pacific Northwest he missed the real beauty of the area. The underwater life of Vancouver Island rivals that of any warm water destination. Merry and I were fortunate to experience one of the final trips aboard the Nautilus Swell. The century old ship will end its run as the only liveaboard dive boat in British Columbia at the end of November. The remaining trips are heavily discounted. If you have the time you should not pass up the chance to dive into history.

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This was the first trip to Canada for either of us. I've wanted to dive B.C. ever since I was first certified. I was fortunate to steal away some time from my heavy work schedule to experience some of the best diving in the World.

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Arriving in Port Hardy with most of our gear intact was quite the excursion. Merry's gear was delivered to us just a few hours before we were scheduled to leave port. Thank you taxi driver Harry for picking up the suitcase and driving it up to us.

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Camera charging table

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Drysuit rack

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Hot tub

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California Wreck Divers would love this boat

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Aft deck

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Predicted winds of 30-40 knots threatened us as we headed out to our first site. Captain Tim used his nautical superpowers to hold back the weather long enough for the eleven divers aboard to enjoy a week of incredible adventure. While First Mate Shaun navigated and helped out with our dive sled, the Inde, the rest of the crew worked tirelessly throughout the week to provide us with the best time we've had in a long time. Divemaster Tiare' muscled the Inde alongside the Swell, filled tanks, helped everyone with any needed zip, tug or pull as well as her Divemaster duties. Her smile kept the divers from noticing the light rain we had most days.

Sleep-deprived Renae acted as our Hostess, maid, server and savior by offering a tray of hot chocolate each time we returned to the Swell. She averages about twenty hours of work each day.

Chef "Young Buck" Oliver managed to create incredible cuisine every meal from sunrise to late night, taking only enough time away from his oven to laugh every few seconds and lead us on a shore excursion.

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Renae, Oli, Tiare', Tim and Shaun

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Of course, the real reason for the trip was to see the beauty that British Columbia offers below the surface. Sightings of Giant Pacific Octopus were common, and the heads of the wolf eels could double as basketballs. Northwest Passage Wall and Browning Pass Wall are a mural of color splashed with an artist's stroke. The only disappointment was having to surface at the end of each dive.

Water temperatures were not much different than Palos Verdes, with a high of 51 and low of 46. Randall came from Austin Texas to dive here in a wetsuit. He's still alive.

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More photos from our trip can be seen at http://s1179.photobucket.com/user/MaxBottomtime/library/Port%20Hardy?sort=3&page=1

You may now stretch your legs. I'll hit the pillow now and dream about the past week.

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