Vancouver Island Diving Delights

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Posted by Merry on October 15, 2014 at 15:26:07:

Our first international, cold-water trip began at Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

An aside: Pacific Coastal Airlines services Port Hardy from Vancouver. When making reservations for this trip, also purchase a baggage seat for dive gear and photographic equipment. Small plane - strict weight restrictions, but a friendly, helpful company, and very pleasant travel.

 photo DSCN0613_zps1ce987c8.jpg

The picturesque town of Port Hardy (pop. 4,500) is a 10 min. walk from the Quarterdeck Marina.

The Quarterdeck Marina photo PortHardy900DSCN0619_zps9217c4c9.jpg

Fishing boats in the morning photo Fishingboatsmorning1DSC_7328_zpsfd4b386a.jpg

Neither stories nor photos of diving in British Columbia does justice to the pristine and majestic dive sites around Vancouver Island. Marine life explosions were not uncommon. Stunning color blanketed 100 -200 foot walls. Diversity is an understatement. One cannot help feeling deeply respectful during each dive.

This diving may not be for everyone. I can't lie - it's cold; most dives were ~47 degrees. Captain Tim organized our dives according to the flood and ebb of the tidal stream, which could pick up quickly and become very strong. We usually ended our dives hanging onto bull kelp, waiting for the boat to pick us up. Bull kelp is a wonderland unto itself!

The Inde dive sled will be the dive boat when the Nautilis land-based operation opens. Gear stays on the boat, and they run a line from the compressor to the whips on Inde. Efficient system, fast boat.
The Inde photo IndeatrestDSCN0667_zpsa30c9f2e.jpg

Towing Inde in the mist.
Towing the Inde photo IndetowedDSCN0622_zps5da4b29b.jpg

Inde at the last dive site.
 photo RaceIslandampIndeDSC_8000_zpsa04d4e1b.jpg

Wolf-eel, Anarrhichthys ocellatus
Wolf-eel photo WolfeelyawnautoDSC_7377_zps593799cd.jpg

Decorated warbonnet, Chirolophis decoratus
Decorated warbonnet photo DecoratedwarbonnetgravidDSC_7430_zps46824679.jpg

Quillback rockfish, Sebastes maliger
Quillback rockfish photo QuillbackrockfishDSC_7834_zpsaf4f2e1d.jpg

Red Irish Lord, Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus
 photo RedIrishLordDSC_7751_zpse9df80fd.jpg

Kelp greenling male, Hexagrammos decagrammus
Male kelp greenling photo KelpgreenlingmaleDSC_7758_zps12069647.jpg

Juvenile sculpin? ID needed
Sculpin ? photo IDSculpinDSC_7415_zpsea3a0888.jpg

China rockfish, Sebastes nebulosus
China rockfish photo ChinarockfishDSC_7370_zpsbea7692a.jpg

Sculpin ID needed
Sculpin ? photo NicesculpinDSC_7673_zpsea840a97.jpg

Giant Pacific Octopus #1, Enteroctopus defleini
GPO photo GPODSC_7637_zps03a873da.jpg

GPO #2 After I found this one resting off the reef, I showed it to the other divers in our group. Later in the dive, I photographed the octo as it slinked back to the protection of the reef.
GPO #2 photo GPODSC_7864_zps2d6569cf.jpg


Orange peel slug the size of a sneaker, Tochuina tetraquetra
Tochuina tetraquetra photo TochuinatetraquetrabrDSC_7721_zps594d046a.jpg

Dirona albolineata, white form
Dirona albolineata photo DironaalbolineataDSC_7682_zps040d6393.jpg

Dirona albolineata photo DironaalbolineataDSC_7965_zps498000e8.jpg

Dirona albolineata, peach form
Dirona albolineata flesh-colored photo DironaalbolineataDSC_7450_zpsafa7d577.jpg

Acanthodoris nanaimoensis
Acanthodoris nanaimoensis photo AcanthodorisnanaimoensisDSC_7346_zps7b11a1b3.jpg

Flabellina amabilis
Flabellina amabilis photo FlabellinaamabilisDSC_7979_zpsa4dd2e98.jpg

Oh so tiny Eubranchus sanjuanensis
Eubranchus sanjuanensis photo EubranchussanjuanensisDSC_7624_zpsab66d441.jpg

Doris odhneri
Doris odhneri photo DorisohneriDSC_7836_zps8d566255.jpg

Serpula columbiana, the pinkest one I've ever seen.
S. columbiana photo PinkwormDSC_7765_zps924649a3.jpg

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