Location: Entrance to Quatsino Sound, west coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Comments: WOW! Last night we steamed 26 miles down Quatsino Inlet to anchor right at the mouth and be ready to dive the chain of pinnacles that guard the entrance to the sound. Our scuba divers splashed on “Pinnacle #4” this morning and found themselves in a world of fantastic visibility and heavy invertebrate life with lots of typical B.C. west coast fish (all types of rockfish, lingcod, greenlings, etc.).
Divemaster Sandy found 3 different wolf-eels and had no trouble beckoning divers over from 80 feet away. He said it was just like diving at Socorro Island. We staged the second dive on “Pinnacle #3” but unfortunately the wind kicked up to 25 knots which made diver drop-off’s and pickups on a submerged rock in the middle of the inlet a tad more difficult. Dive 3 of the day was in a giant kelp bed on a boulder and creviced bottom with some good caves and yet more fish life.
We capped the day off with a visit to the Quatsino lighthouse and were given a wonderful tour by the very friendly lighthouse keepers. Quatsino is a beautiful place and I won’t soon forget watching the sun stream through the trees on the steep and heavily wooded hillside beside our anchorage. But without a doubt, the highlight of the day was steaming 1/2 mile offshore from dreaded Solander Island off Brooks Peninsula. It was a spectacular sight in surprising calm seas – calm enough that I actually thought of staging a spontaneous dive off Solander (which is something I am sure nobody has ever done before).
Quite something to see a wee little lighthouse perched on the top of the sheersided cliffs of the island. I think most mariners on the BC coast have heard stories of this lighthouse blowing away in hurricane force winds. Brooks Peninsula looked very cool in the background with a solid cloud cover on the upwind side caused by condensation from air being driven over the top of the hill by what seemed like very light winds. Most impressive of all was the wash pattern up the side of the island from storm generated seas – I would guess that this place gets pummeled by 30 foot waves and sometimes much bigger (reportedly close to 100 feet on one occasion). It would have been a cool dive!!
Weather: Beautiful sunny day, mostly calm except for 25 knot winds after lunch, air temp’s mid 60’s.
Water: Water temps 46°F, visibility ranged from 80 feet on Dive 1 to 25 feet on Dive 3