Muck Diving in British Columbia

Location: Quatsino Sound, west coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Comments: Well, the weather forecast turned unexpectedly bad on us last night. We typically have benign weather in British Columbia from May through mid-September. Rain yes, but not big storms. So you can imagine our consternation yesterday evening when Environment Canada came on the radio with a revised weather forecast for the west coast of Vancouver Island calling for storm force winds up to 50 knots and seas 15-18 feet. Dang! The previous forecast had been 19 knots and 5 – 6 foot seas but a front that was supposed to dissipate in the Gulf of Alaska started intensifying.

I figured my best choice was to weigh anchor right away, steam around Cape Scott and the dreaded Solander Island/Brooks Peninsula  (famous for 100 foot waves and weather conditions even worse than Cape Mendocino). Unfortunately, we had guests out in kayaks paddling and watching a number of black bears on the beach including a sow and 2 new-born cubs so I had to patiently wait for 45 minutes or so before booking out of there. We made it around Cape Scott without any problem but yet another revised forecast came out making it foolhardy to try and get around Solander Island.

So I made like a chicken and ducked into Quatsino Sound to hide out the storm and try some new dive sites. Dive 1 was “off-slack” on a small island close to Quatsino Narrows. Our scuba divers loved it as they found every imaginable sort of nudibranch and “muck” creature. I was a bit skeptical when they surfaced and gleefully told us that it was fabulous British Columbia muck diving but everyone seemed to have a great time. One diver even found the steel hull of a shipwreck on one side of the island. We staged dives 2 and 3 at slack in Quatsino Narrows and very good dives were had by all.

–Captain Mike


Weather: Overcast, low cloud, heavy rain, calm seas deep inside the inlet.

Water: Water temp 46 – 47 degrees, visibility 10 – 15 feet Dives #1, 2.  30 foot vis Dive #3

By Nautilus Staff

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