Incredible dive site guarded by stellar sealions

Location: Inian Islands, Icy Strait, southeast Alaska.
There is a potential dive site at Inian Island that I have been super keen to check out for a couple of years. It feels right. It looks right with a sheer wall plunging to 220 feet. And it is current swept. So today we kitted up and jumped in the water at this new site. Holy cow! This site was absolutely gorgeous. Loads of soft coral everywhere as well as anemones, sponge, tunicates, bryozoan and all sorts of other intensely colorful animals as well as good fish life and beautiful kelp. The wall was so covered in life that there was literally no place to even put your finger without hurting something.  My dive buddy and I were on closed-circuit rebreathers so we took the  opportunity to continue down the wall into a rubble field with gorgonian coral everywhere. I was totally stoked and excited to find yet another awesome dive site in Alaska. Yeah. The challenge started on our ascent when we saw our first stellar sea lions at 109 feet on the way up. The more we ascended, the more sea lions we saw until it got to the point that we were literally hiding in a cavern at 70 feet with our backs to the wall looking out at  some very, very, very large stellar sea lions. I would estimate the weight of one  of these guys as much as 1400 pounds. It’s quite something to go face-to-face with a sea lion a couple of inches away who weighs 1400 pounds! Almost all of our divers bailed early on the dive to avoid getting the stellar sea lions too excited. One brave diver decided that his best plan was to stay down longer in the hope that the sea lions would go away and busted his dive time by 15 minutes for a total run time of 75 minutes, by himself, with 50-75 sea lions buzzing around. And no, the sea lions didn’t go away!!  The good news is that he had his camera running the whole time. What an unforgettable day. You wouldn’t believe the buzz going on in skiff after the dive and during cocktail hour before dinner. What a rush. What an incredible dive site. I love Alaska. Captain Mike
Surface Conditions: High thin clouds, air temperature high 60’s, calm seas, calm winds, very low swell rolling in from the Gulf of Alaska.
Underwater Conditions: Water temperature 46 degrees.  Excellent visibility 50 feet plus.

By Nautilus Staff

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