Location: Wooden Island and Port Alexander, Baranoff Island, southeast Alaska
Comments: Wooden Island is one of my best Alaskan dive discoveries ever – second only to Inian Island in Icy Strait and possibly tied with St. Lazaria Island in Sitka Sound. The range of biodiversity here is staggering. My friend Andy Lamb – a retired marine biologist, author of 2 books on coldwater diving and owner of a lovely dive resort on Thetis Island – has been on many trips with me and I am always impressed with how he studiously records every species that he has observed during that dive. I have watched Andy record astonishing numbers like 140 different species at Browning Wall. Well, Andy topped his personal best at Wooden Island by recording an incredible 250 different species. Yes, the diving is that good.
The difficulty is that island is at the entrance to Chatham Sound and the dive conditions can be quite challenging. I’m only able to offer a dive there maybe 1/2 the time due to surge, current, sea fog or high winds. Challenging?? YES. Worth it?? ABSOLUTELY according to everyone that has splashed there. Nice to be back for our first dive of the season on Wooden Island. Finished the day off by drifting with 4 lunge feeding humpback whales off Cape Decision. Quite something (that’s Canadian understatement) to see these big boys barrel along the surface scooping up prey with the pleats under their mouths fully extended. One guy seemed to have a technique all of his own as he repeatedly rolled onto his back before each feeding manouevre to lunge feed upside down!! Very cool stuff.
Weather: Beautiful calm Alaskan summer day. Glassy flat seas. Not even a breath of wind. Air temps in the high 60’s.
Water: Visibility 20 – 30 feet. Water temperature 44°F.