Fields of painted anemones and a sheer wall full of cloud and chimney sponge... a divers delight! That is what you will find up on the Sunshine Coast... even when it snows. While some folks head south for the winter to get warm, others find there way north to Canada for fabulous winter diving. A small club outing took me north over the long weekend to find adventure in Egmont, BC. There I stayed at Strong Water Retreat with Porpoise Bay Charters. Kal and Ann were fantastic! The yurts were warm and comfortable and the underwater topography spectacular! Fish were few and far between - I'm guessing they are smarter than us bubble blowers and headed south for the winter as the water was definitely cold! I heard temperatures between 42°-46° depending on the underwater computer... at least I didn't have to break ice before I jumped in.
My two favorite sites were Boom Islets and Powerline. Boom Islet sits in the middle of the Skookumchuck Narrows right by the world famous Sechelt Rapids with currents running upwards of 17 knots. Some lay claim they are the fastest in the world. Hard to imagine diving there after watching some of the YouTube videos but none the less I did! All those nutrients flowing through the channel make for colorful fields of painted anemones.
My next favorite was Powerline with it's sheer walls full of cloud and chimney sponge putting the measly four I've seen in Hood Canal to shame.
While the fish were few and far between I definitely saw unique species I don't often get to see like Yellow Eye and Tiger Rockfish. Not to mention numerous little Candy Stripe Shrimp to top it off...sweet!
Hard to end a dive, let alone end the trip. If you ever get a chance to dive the breathtaking waters, do so - it is worth the chill!
Pamela Treischel is a SCUBA diving enthusiast, underwater photography hobbyist and Ambassador for the Inland Ocean Coalition.