Laurie and I had a couple of great dives on with Sea Dragon Charters and Liz Tribe Diving yesterday in Howe Sound.
Our first dive was on the Halkett West Pinnacle which is one of the few places in the world that you can see glass sponges (hexactinellid sponges with a skeleton made of silica) within recreational diving depths. It was the most advanced dive we have ever done with a live drop as the boat drifted by the marker for the down line. We then had to time our descent to get under the surface just as we went by the buoy to descend down the line. We descended down the line to a depth of 100 feet and the line just kept going to some depth beyond. Luckily visibility was good enough that we could see the pinnacle 30-40 feet to our west or else we would have had to call the dive. After swimming over to the pinnacle and spending a couple of minutes getting oriented we were treated to seeing some amazing sponge formations and all of the critters that make them their home. After about twenty minutes it was time to surface where we had to do a drifting SMB ascent for the first time. Once we surfaced the boat was right there (having seen our SMB pop up to the surface) to pick us up. Since most of the other dive teams were doing technical dives with decompression obligations, we were able to watch their SMBs pop up on the water like garden eels sticking their heads up from the sand.
After our surface interval, our second dive was on the wall on the north side of Bowyer Island where the shoreline drops into the water and just continues down for several hundred feet. The boat dropped us off next to the island and we could descend down as deep as we wanted (within our limits) and then swim along with the wall to our right. Laurie and I dropped to 80 feet and then worked our way up the wall as we swam along seeing all the creatures that make the rock wall their home. It was weird to see the wall just keep dropping down and we could occasionally see the lights of the tech divers that were deeper than us shining up from the deep. After surfacing next to the island a few hundred yards from where we descended, the boat again was right there to pick us up.
All in all it was a great day of diving and a nice way to spend our first weekend outside the U.S. in a long time.
Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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