Location: Browning Pass, Port Hardy, Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia
Comments: Browning Pass was consistently ranked as the Number 1 scuba dive site in North America for many years in a row by the readers of Rodales Diving Magazine. While I would argue that and say that there is even better diving further up the coast of British Columbia – and that the diving at Inian Islands in Alaska is the best that I have seen anywhere in the world – there is no question that the diving is quite fantastic in Browning Pass.
Dive #1 was on Browning Wall with it’s densely packed populations of soft corals, sponges and invertebrate life. It is just as colourful and dense as the best of the south Pacific. Dive #2 was on Hussar Point. Dive #3 was on Snowfall where all the white plumose anemones were “out” (rather than being retracted). It’s always a bit of a gamble as to whether the anemones will be “in” or “out” at Snowfall and I have never been able to figure out what triggers their retraction en masse. The scuba diving site is a lot more beautiful when they are “out.” I haven’t been able to see any correlation between tides, current, feeding, plankton blooms, visibility, moon cycle, time of day or anything else that makes these guys decide to “pull their tentacles in.” Hmmmm…
Funny thing about this site was a meeting of all the B.C. dive operators years ago when there were still 8 liveaboard diveboats in British Columbia (now it’s down to just us – we are the only liveaboard in B.C. and Alaska). One subject that came up was trying to unify the name of Snowfall/Snowball/Snowflake/Blizzard (named for the incredible profusion of white plumose anenomes). Unfortunately trying to get a bunch of dive boat Captains to agree on one name for a dive site proved impossible!
Weather: Broken mid-layer clouds. Rain sprinkles. Calm winds and glassy smooth seas. Air temp’s low 60’s.
Water: Water temperature 46 – 47°F. Visibility as low as 12 feet at times ranging up to 25 feet..