the scuba zone - west coast diving 2009
West Coast Diving - 2009
This is a log of my dives and pictures from Vancouver Island for 2009.
Saskatchewan (December 29, 2009 - 15:00)

After a marvelous lunch, moved to the mid-ships buoy on the Saskatchewan. Again, calm flat seas with no surface current as we splashed and headed down. My goal today was to revisit the engine room and take some more video, and find the bathtub in the first aid station.

I headed aft along the deck, and was surprised to find fairly clear perspex windows on the aft gun - you could see where the gunner would operate the guns quite clearly. Took some video then descended into the mortar bay and up Burma road to where I 'take a left' to visit the engine room.

Descended to the engine room via the holes in the side of the ship, then took some video of the engine room. After exiting, headed back up Burma road to where I found the first aid station and the bathtub. Then forward and out the port side, up onto the deck and headed aft. Took some more video inside the wheelhouse, then headed up the line and out. Again, a most excellent dive!

Saskatchewan VideoSaskatchewan Video 

Cape Breton (December 29, 2009 - 11:45)

It was supposed to be showeres today, but wasn't. Instead the sky was overcast, with occasional bits of sunlight poking through. Loaded the gear on the skiff at Moby Dick's dock and then over to the Shawn Tannis. Once the gear was stowed, we headed out to Snake Island and the wrecks. Our first destination was the mid-ships buoy on the Cape Breton. After gearing up, we splashed with no surface current and headed down.

My goal today was to film the drive shaft tube from both the engine room side and the stern. Headed aft and into the engine room through the skylights, then descended to the bottom aft where I found the propeller shaft casing in an alcove, with a maintenance way on the starboard side. The casing had a cover bolted over it. Got some quick video and then headed up to the starboard door to Burma road.

Once in the hallway I headed aft, past the two sets of stairs and out the aft. Then descended to the bottom to see the prop shaft casing with a similar cover and in a similar alcove with the maintenance crawlway. Took some video and then headed back up to return along Burma road the way I had come, taking video along the way.

At the serving station, I headed into the kitchen (where we were silted out in 2005) and over the steam tables, then forward into the main mess before turning to retrace my path back into the engine room. Again down to the keel to take some more video, then back up and out the skylights.

Once on the deck, I took some more video as I headed up the line. The vis was spectacular today - I could see (and video) the boat on the surface from various points on the line. A most excellent dive!

Cape Breton VideoCape Breton Video 

Saskatchewan (December 20, 2009 - 11:30)

Today it was raining when I woke up, but still nice to be on the boat (Diver's Choice) again. Headed out in decent seas, moored to the mid-ships buoy on the Saskatchewan. Seas were rolling but not too bad as we geared up for a splash. Had a problem with my inflagor hose, but got that corrected and headed down with 6 other divers - 3 on open circuit from Seattle and 3 on rebreathers (Kiss, rEvo and Meg) from Portland area.

Once down the line saw the OC divers exploring a hatch just aft of the mid-ship line and took some video of them. Then aft to the mortar bay where the RB divers were exploring. Headed inside along Burma road, then left to the engine room opening and side cutouts. Out, down and into the engine room where I took some video. Then back up the large opening and along the port side of the ship to the bow. Then back in for a bit of exploring near the bow. Eventually back up on deck near the mid-ships line, took more video of divers at that same hatch - this time the RB divers. Then we headed up to the boat and a fine lunch. Overall an excellent dive.

During the surface interval, we spotted one larger eagle on Snake Island, plus a smaller pair. Took some photos.

The seas were getting worse, so we spent the lunch interval off Snake Wall. Afterward we headed back to moor at the Cape Breton, but the rollers were getting large, and I elected not to dive. By the time the others were back, the seas were quite nasty.

Eagles Eagles Eagles

Saskatchewan VideoSaskatchewan Video 

Coffin Point (December 12, 2009 - 13:30)

After a week of below zero temperatures, today was a slight bit warmer at 0C, with the threat of light snow flurries. Nevertheless, we decided to head out to Coffin Point (Elliot Park), across the harbour from Ladysmith on Vancouver Island for another long wall dive. Today's group included three open circuit divers and two rebreather divers (myself included).

After gearing up in the parking lot, we headed down to the very high tide, donned our bail-out bottles or stages and did our bubble checks before heading out towards the deep. Our bearing took us over towards the left wall, which we found at 60fsw as before. Swimming along the wall, we searched for various sea creatures, and saw many shrimp as well as a nudibranch and an octopus.

At 45 minutes, we were sufficiently cold to turn the dive and head back the way we came, eventually returning to our starting point at 84 minutes. All in all a great dive.

Knowing the waters were cold this time of year, I augmented my normal wheezles and thick socks with a t-shirt and my wheezle boots. I also changed my glove equalization from a bungee to a small bit of tygon tubing (1/8" dia). All of these helped greatly, as I was not really cold until near the end of the dive, and not at all in my feet.

Coffin Point Coffin Point Coffin Point

Coffin Point VideoCoffin Point Video 

Coffin Point (November 28, 2009 - 12:45)

Hooked up with Glenn, Steve and Darin today for a longer dive at Coffin Point (Elliot Part - near Ladysmith). The day was overcast but not raining - a perfect day for a November dive. As we geared up in the parking lot, we discussed the dive plan: Glen suggested we head "left" at a max depth of 80fsw for a max run time of 1.5 hours as there was a nice wall out near Coffin Island.

After gearing up, we headed down to the water - again very high tides in the area allowed us to enter at the bottom of the path as the beach and rocks were underwater. After our checks, we headed out toward the left wall at a depth of about 8fsw for a while. This ended in a 4fsw "surf zone" that was entertaining to navigate. After this we were able to descend to our target depth as we headed out down the walls.

We quickly found the wall we were seeking, as it stretched for most of the dive once we were past about 40fsw. There was a ton of life on the wall, so I was having a field day with my camera. Near our turnaround time, we found a wolf eel and then an octopus, which I filmed. Then we headed back in at a nice pace and eventually surfaced at our entry point after a dive time of 107 minutes. Overall, an excellent dive!

Coffin Point Coffin Point Coffin Point Coffin Point Coffin Point

Coffin Point VideoCoffin Point Video 

Madrona Point (November 22, 2009 - 11:30)

The day promised to be fairly dry and perhaps sunny, so I elected to join the NDO (Nanaimo Dive Outfitters) weekly dive outing today. The plan was for an 11am meeting at Madrona Point, near Parksville. Gerald was leading the dive for the single tank crew, while Dave T. and Alan and I planned to do a rebreather dive.

At the site, I placed my bailout at the end of the path to the little V, as the tides were the hightest I'd ever seen - you could not see the rocks for the big V or the little V at all.

After gearing up, we headed to the water where we did our bubble checks and then headed out to the large wall. Once on the wall, we had an excellent dive in pretty good visibility. I took video and photos of various rock fish plus a few other denizens of the area.

We were just past the end of the wall when I found my blood sugar was very low and I did not feel well at all. I intended to bring a bun to eat before the dive, but had forgotten it at home. As I was not feeling 100%, I elected to thumb the dive. Dave headed off to tell Gerald while Al and I headed up the wall and back to the entrance point.

After the dive we headed over to the Rocking Horse Pub for a well appreciated lunch and some good companionship, then home to rinse out the gear. Overall, (even with the low sugar hit) it was an awesome dive!

Madrona Madrona Madrona Madrona Madrona

Madrona Divers VideoMadrona Divers Video 

Madrona Creatures VideoMadrona Creatures Video 

Cape Breton (November 20, 2009 - 15:00)

After a nice lunch, it was still flat and calm on the surface, so we headed over to the Cape Breton. Due to the extremely high tides, we could only moor on the bow marker. After gearing up, we headed down to the bow of the Cape Breton.

Again there was surface muck and lowered visibility until the wreck - maybe 20-30 ft on the wreck itself. I headed down the bow hatch and aft into the washroom, then aft into the larger rooms before heading down Burma Road past the steam tables and the engine room. After exiting aft, I turned around and headed back the same route to the bow. Inside the ship the visibility was a little more disturbed than normal, and the surface muck made for a very dark interior. I took some video of the excursion.

Deco on the line was uneventful and once we were all aboard we headed back to port. Another awsome dive.

Cape Breton VideoCape Breton Video 

Snake Wall (November 20, 2009 - noon)

After a week of rather extreme weather here on Vancouver Island (wind & heavy rain), I was uncertain what the day's diving would bring. It was therefore quite a surprise to arrive at Moby Dick parking lot to find light showers that ended as the weather cleared up. Once on the boat and heading out, the seas were flat and calm as the sun tried hard to break out.

As we neared Snake Wall, it was clear the surface visibility was muck from all the rain, but we hoped it would clear at depth. As it turned out, the first 2 ft. were zero vis, then clearing to maybe 20-30 feet at depth.

The two fellows from Seattle wanted to do a deep (300 fsw) dive on Snake Wall, so we anchored south of the normal spot near the south end of Snake Island where the shelf at 250 fsw is not very wide. Little current on the surface meant an easy swim to the anchor line and a descent to 20fsw. Then headed over to the wall and down. I stopped at 115 fsw and looked about while the two descended. In fairly short time they were back, doing their deco as we all headed up the wall. I spent my time photographing some of the smaller life on the wall. Finally, we headed up the anchor chain and back in for lunch. An excellent dive.

During the dive I did have a look for my missing Prism cover, but no luck today.

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Tyee to Dolphin (November 15, 2009 - 11:30)

It was a rainy day with the pinapple express in full swing, but I wanted to dive and so off to Tyee I headed. There I met up with Alan (trimix) for a dive planned from Tyee to Dolphin, with a stop to see Grandpa. After gearing up in the rain, we headed down to the beach. There was one of the highest tides I'd seen as we entered, and quite a bit of wave action and surge. Still, we were ready without any problems and headed out to the notch.

Once down to the rocking horse, we headed left towards Dolphin at around 80fsw. When we reached grandpa, we stopped so I could take some pictures and video of him. He's become very shy recently, suggesting someone's been harassing him, which is a real shame.

After seeing grandpa, we headed on towards Dolphin, descending to 100fsw on the way. Right at the start of the Dolphin wall there seems to be a tripod-like structure made from tree limbs. Interesting. The wall itself was amazing as always. The cave-like structure was incredible. We same leisurely along the wall, descending to a max depth of 115fsw before we turned the dive at 30 min and started slowly back up to 80fsw, reaching that depth just before we encountered grandpa on the return.

Then up over the wall and back at 50-60fsw until we were again at the rocking horse. There we hovered for a bit, noting the surge was quite noticable even at 40fsw, before gradually heading back in to shore. All in all an excellent dive. Total run time today was 80 minutes.

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Tyee - grandpa VideoTyee - grandpa Video 

Tyee - Dolphin VideoTyee - Dolphin Video 

Snake Wall (November 8, 2009 - 14:00)

We moved out of the waves, which had gotten worse during our first dive, and anchored off Snake Wall, about 25 ft from the ususal anchor spot at "the cut". After lunch, we geared up and splashed. The current was quite fierce. As it turns out, my initial spash dislodged the back cover of my Prism which the current subsequently pulled off and carried away while I was on the granny line heading to the anchor chain.

Not knowing the Prism cowling was gone, I proceeded down the anchor chain with the rest of the divers. We gathered near the anchor, which was located in the middle of a large gravel patch at about 40 fsw. Then we headed out over the wall and down to about 80 fsw, proceeding to the left. After a short while we turned the dive and headed up to 50 fsw as we returned to the anchor chain and back to the boat. Once on board, I realized the cowling was missing, but a quick survey of the surface did not produce the errant cover. Being slightly negative, it's either on the ledge at 250 fsw, or somewhere on the bottom at great depth.

Other than losing the cowling off my Prism, it was a great dive. I got some nice pictures including a starfish, anenome, Mary Beth, a cabizon, a puget sound king crab and some video of the group as well as a nice video of a 6 in. diameter moon jelly.

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Snake Wall VideoSnake Wall Video 

Snake Wall Moon Jelly VideoSnake Wall Moon Jelly Video 

Saskatchewan (November 8, 2009 - 11:30)

Headed out with Ken & Caroline, plus 5 divers from Seattle, who had been doing a wreck course for the past few days. The first dive was on the Saskatchewan. We all geared up and headed out - seas were OK and not too much current. As I descended the line, I realized that I had checked my suit gas on the boat and turned the valve TWICE - once to on, but then to off. Now I was descending to the deck of the Saskatchewan with no suit gas! Reached the deck near the mortar bay with a 4ATA suit squeeze which prevented me from turning the valve on my suit gas. After a few minutes (15) putting about with the squeeze, I headed back up the line to rectify the situation at a depth where the squeeze was less. At 30 fsw I met the course instructor who turned on my bottle, allowing me to descend and finish the dive.

Once back in the mortar bay, I headed down Burma road to the bosun's cabin, and back. Took some video, including a large rock fish (about 16-18" long). After a nice time on the wreck I headed back up for some lunch and nice chatter with the group. Overall a very nice dive.

Saskatchewan VideoSaskatchewan Video 

Tyee (November 2, 2009 - 11:30)

Headed up to Tyee today to dive with Dave & Aaron on our respective rebreathers. When I arrived, Dave was having an issue with the primary display on his unit, but was able to resolve it. Then, as we were finishing our "gearing up", Dave's mask developed a large tear. Invoking the "two foulup rule", Dave elected to sit out the dive, so Aaron and I headed down to the water for a swim over to Dolphin.

After our bubble checks, we headed out and down, then over to the left at about 70fsw towards grandpa. On our arrival, grandpa could be seen and photographed in his den, but he didn't want to come out. Aaron and I then headed over towards Dolphin, dripping over the wall and getting down to about 160fsw before we eventually turned the dive due to deco obligations.

On the way back, we saw a very nice Puget Sound King crab, and then returned to grandpa. Aaron tried to feed him a small urchin, but grandpa was having none of it today. Instead his urchin was nabbed by a fish hovering about - almost waiting for the goodie.

After grandpa, we ascended up the wall to head back. I was just below Aaron when suddenly - he was being buzzed by two rather large sea lions. They swam around us both a couple of times before taking off. After that, we headed back to Tyee, fulfilling our deco obligations in the shallows on our return.

An absolutely awesome dive today! To make things even better, the vis was easily 20-30 feet, so the view was stunning the whole dive!

Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee

Wolf Eel VideoWolf Eel Video 

Tyee (October 26, 2009 - 11:30)

Headed out to Tyee on Sunday to participate in the group dive with 'The Nanaimo Dive Outfitters' (NDO). The dive was led by Shirley White, and lots of newer and seasoned open circuit divers attended. We geared up and then headed out the 'V' down to about 60fsw, then headed to the right looking at all the critters. I saw two of the divers deeper indicating they saw the wolf eel, so headed down for some pictures and a bit of video. Then back up to 50fsw to rejoin the group I was following. Eventually we turned the dive and headed back to a nice pouring rain. At least the gear got a rinse! Overall a very good dive.

Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee Tyee
Saskatchewan (October 17, 2009 - 14:30)

After another excellent lunch, we all splashed midships on the Saskatchewan. Dave and I headed down the anchor locker hatch and then aft and on to burma road. At the forward hatch to the engine room, we descended into the engine room and had a nice swim around that area before heading up the aft engine room hatch back on to burma road. Then aft out the mortar bay and along side the ship checking out the life. Near the bow we headed back into the ship in order to exit out the anchor chain hatch again. Then it was a short deco and back to the boat for the ride home. Again, an awesome dive!

Saskatchewan Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan VideoSaskatchewan Video 

Cape Breton (October 17, 2009 - noon)

The day was overcast and raining, but the winds were low so we headed out to dive the wrecks. Bruce & Lynn Partridge plus Dave Tomblin and I planned our first dive for the Cape Breton. This dive was all rebreathers - Bruce & Lynn diving rEvo's, Dave on his Megaladon and I on my Prism.

We descended to 20 fsw for bubble checks, then down to the wreck amidships. Dave took us over the side, then into the kitchen area and down a flight of stairs, then along a short hallway and into the machine shop. There I took some video before we all exited upwards via a ladder hatch back into the kitchen. Dave and I then headed forward to the washroom and out the bow hatch. A nice swim on the main deck taking pictures and video before a leisurly deco and back to the boat. For the second week I saw the large Cabison on the deck and got a few pictures. Overall an awesome dive!

Cape Breton Cape Breton

Cape Breton VideoCape Breton Video 

Snake Wall (October 12, 2009 - 12:45)

After our Cape Breton dive, the waves started coming up, so we headed around to the lee side of Snake Island for our lunch. After a short lunch break we geared up for a splash on Snake wall. Headed down the anchor line and then down the gravel "trough" to where it plunged to the depths. Stopping at 110 fsw, I observed the various small creatures on the wall before slowly heading back up the wall, taking a few pictures as I went. After a relatively short time, headed back up the anchor line to the boat. Once aboard we headed back (rather early this time) so that the other divers could make the 3pm ferry.

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Cape Breton (October 12, 2009 - 10:30)

Diving on Ken's boat with four other rebreather divers (3 rEvo and 1 meg). So that they could try and catch ferries, we had a 9am start instead of the usual 10am start. Headed out to the Cape Breton in lovely weather. The seas were pretty flat as we tied up to the center buoy and geared up to splash.

Once on the wreck, we headed into the engine room, and then down various corridors inside the wreck - past the large rooms and forward until the washroom, then back along the steam tables and out the stern. Up to the helicopter deck and forward to the bridge, then back to the line for a short deco to finish the dive. A most delightful dive today!

Cape Breton

Cape Breton VideoCape Breton Video 

Clarke Rock (October 7, 2009 - 13:30)

Diving on Ken's boat today. I skipped the first dive (Jessie Island) and elected a longer dive on Clarke Rock. Geared up and splashed in some wind and current. Managed to miss the granny rope and the ladder, so quickly took a bearing and submerged to the sand at 75fsw. Headed over to Clarke Rock, and found a very sheer wall going from about 80 fsw to 50 fsw. Above 50 fsw it levelled off and gradually became shallower to about 20 fsw. Headed back to the wall, then around with the wall on my right. After some distance, found the usual rock formations and the mooring point.

At that time, I saw a small female wolf eel looking at me from her den. She was bout 1 foot out of the den, and seemed curious. I stared videoing her, and she obliged by swimming out of her den, then around and back towards me before heading off to another den some distance away. There I took some pictures and more video. After that, headed back up the mooring line for a welcome cup of coffee.

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Wolf Eel VideoWolf Eel Video 

Madrona (September 20 - 14:00)

Met up with Dave and his Meg student at Tyee, then headed for lunch at the Rocking Horse. Afterward, headed to Madrona for an afternoon dive. Geared up, walked to the little V, and started to splash. Unfortunately, as I was attaching my bailout to my sidemount harness, I noticed a big leak in my right wrist/glove. Further investigation revealed a massive suit flood in progress from somewhere in the wrist area. Attempts to conduct a field repair were unsuccessful, and I was quickly flooded from hand to shoulder on my right side. Reluctantly, I aborted the dive. After the long hike back to the truck, I examined the new zip seals and concluded that one had become detached during the gear-up process.

Later, questions on a few dive forums revealed others had experienced the same problem, and the solution was to inspect the seals every dive, plus never to tighten wrist guages "too tight" near the wrist

Clarke Rock (September 15 - 14:30)

After lunch, our second dive was to be on Clarke Rock, looking mainly for the wolf eels.

On our way out, I spotted three killer whales on the way towards Snake Island. They appeared to be transient, probably planning to grab a 'seal snack' on the way through the area. I called out to everyone on the boat to have a look, and managed to get a couple of pictures myself.

The actual dive was uneventful. Although I scouted the area where I had last seen a large wolf eel, I came up empty. A few pictures of some rockfish, but not much else today. Still, a good dive.

Clarke Rock Killer Whales Clarke Rock Killer Whales
Clarke Rock Clarke Rock Clarke Rock
Rivtow Lion (September 15 - 11:40)

Today I hooked up with Ken of Diver's Choice for a fun run with a newer dive couple from Calgary and a newer dive couple from Portland. We headed out to the Rivtow Lion, where we had a fun dive looking over the ship.

Rivtow Lion Rivtow Lion Rivtow Lion Rivtow Lion
Cape Breton (September 3 - 14:50)

After a great lunch on board the Shawn Tannis (Diver's Choice main dive boat), we all geared up for our second dive. This time I was paired with Lee-Anne as Greg wanted to take Greg McCuaig into the ship's interior. Lee-Anne and I elected to putter about on the main deck.

After descending the bow line and making sure all was well, we separated. I followed Lee-Anne as we searched the decks for various underwater life, which I photographed. After a nice dive we headed back to the bow line and ascended. A terriffic dive.

Cape Breton Cape Breton Cape Breton Cape Breton
Cape Breton (September 3 - 12:00)

The second day of wreck diving with Greg Mossfeldt and Lee-Anne & Greg McCuaig (Murray and Steve had to return to Calgary because of this thing they call 'work').

Greg and I were one team, and would be penetrating the wreck. Lee-Anne & Greg were the second team, planning to circumnavigate the wreck on their Dive-X Scooters.

The team descended the bow line, and Greg and I dropped down the bow hatch. Then we leisurly headed aft with me pointing out various ship features while Greg snapped photos with his pro camera rig. Then from the stern back 'up and over' the deck for more photos until it was time to head up the line for our deco. Again, an awesome dive.

Cape Breton (September 2 - 14:45)

Greg Mossfeldt, Murray Campbell,Steve AAen, Lee-Anne & Greg McCuaig all came down from a trip with Danny and the Mamro at Port Hardy, looking for some wreck diving. We headed out with Ken of Diver's Choice late in the day to get in one dive on the Cape Breton.

The dive plan was to descend the bow line and enter the forward hatch and work aft. Steve was to run the reel, and the rest of the team to follow. Things were uneventful during the dive as Greg took pictures of the team members inside the wreck. After a dive of 50 minutes, we all ascended the bow line for our deco. An awesome dive.

Clarke Rock (August 26 - 13:40)

For our second dive of the day, we headed in from the Cape Breton to Clarke Rock, which appears as a small lighthouse on a concrete block just sticking out of the water. Underwater, the maps show a series of rock formations rising from the ocean floor (approx 72 fsw) to within a few metes of the surface. A set of concrete blocks on the seabed anchors the mooring buoy.

After tying up to the buoy, we geared up and splashed. Descending to the sandy bottom at 72fsw, I could see the signpost left by other divers, and beyond that the rock formations. Swimming over to the rocks, it was clear the area was ideal for life. Many rock cod and smaller fish could be seen hiding in the rock crevases and other gaps. After a nice tour of the area, I came upon a rather large octopus in her den, and took the time for some photos and a video. Heading back towards the mooring area, I found a very large mature wolf eel in his den, and again took some pictures and video. Overall, a very awesome dive.

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Cape Breton (August 26 - 11:30)

Another gorgeous day for diving! We headed out for the Cape Breton at the appointed time, with the weather sunny/cloudy and warm, with a light breeze. The sea was very smooth as we tied up to the midships buoy. After gearing up, we splashed - a couple from France, a fellow from Illinoise and myself. After descending to the deck forward of the engine room, we headed forward towards the bow. At the bow, headed down the hatch and back to the washroom, then aft along the main corridor through the mess, past the steam tables and then out via the engine room. The dive was somewhat shorter so as to avoid deco, but still a nice one.

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Rivtow Lion (August 19 - 11:30)

The day was bright and sunny, but the wind was stronger than we wished. Other divers on the boat were quite new, so we elected to dive the Rivtow Lion for our first dive. I geared up and splashed first - the plan was for we to wait on the wreck for the other divers so that I could assist as necessary. Eventually the first pair came down the line, then right back up! I swam around the wrieck a few times, checking for more divers. After about 20 min, another pair descended, and promptly rose. Finally, at 50 min the third pair descended and we swam around the deckhouse a few times before they ascended. After 70 min, I too asceneded.

The vis was not bad, maybe 20 ft. but no new life on the wreck. Did not see the octopus others had seen the week before, but did see several ling cod. Overall a very nice dive.

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Whitecliff Park (Aug 5 - 15:30)

Took the 11am ferry over to Vancouver to meet up with Mike Burgess for a dive at Whitefield park. After arriving in Vancouver, headed over to Whitecliff, a very short drive from the ferry terminal. Parked and walked about, having a look around. Once Mike arrived, we planned our dive and took our bailout bottles to the beach near the changing shack in preparation for the dive.

We geared up in the parking lot, then headed down the rock steps to the changing shack and then down to the water, collecting our stages on the way. The tide was out quite a ways, but coming in. We headed out and decended to 15 fsw, then headed "right" towards the wall, slowly heading deeper as we went. After a swim, we arrived at the wall at about 50fsw, then descended slowly to 80fsw as we rounded the small point and came upon the cloud sponges and anemonies.

The current was getting quite lively by this time, so we turned and headed slowly upwards and back the way we had come, eventually reaching our entry spot as we exited. An excellent dive. The vis was murky above 30fsw, in large part to a signficant halocline in the water. Below 30fsw the vis was much better, though not great.

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Willis Point (July 2 - 13:15)

For Canada Day, I headed down to Victoria to meet up with Mike Burgess at a local dive shop where I tried on some DUI drysuits. After shocking my hair straight up at the prices, we decided to head up Sidney way to dive Willis point. After only getting lost a few times on the way, we found Willis point, geared up and headed down the path to the dive site. A nice entry and then down to 60 fsw and over to the left. Much sea life evident, many fishes and invertebrates. Took some decent pictures of them. Also tons and tons of small (2inch) shrimp darting about everywhere. Turned around and headed up to shallower water, where Mike had loads of fun with his new underwear and buoyancy. Surfaced not far from the entry and headed back in.

A very enjoyable dive, capped off with a great little ferry ride back from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay (missing the Victoria traffic and the Mallahat).

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Snake Wall (June 23 - 14:30)

Second dive of the day - the seas were not any better, so again headed down the anchor line to Snake wall. The group elected to go to the right at about 60fsw, so we carried on until they were getting low on gas, then headed in to where the seals had been basking during the surface interval. After a short mid-water stop, headed up and swam over to the boat. A very nice dive.

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Snake Wall (June 23 - 11:30)

Jumped on the Shawn Tannis to dive with Diver's Choice today. We headed out and saw that the seas were pretty rough on the wrecks, so with the newer divers on board decided to dive Snake wall instead. Headed down the anchor line, but one of the other divers had mask flood problems and bailed, so carried on relatively shallow to view the left wall for a bit, then returned to the anchor line and up. A very nice dive.

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Port Alberni - China Creek with Mike (May 31 - 11:00)

Decided to head over to Port Alberni today. With the gear prepared last night after the Tyee dive, we were ready for an earlier start. Drove to Port Alberni, then over the rough road to China Creek campground. This time of year it is not at all full, so we were able to get spot #42 with no problem. Geared up, took a bearing on the marker buoy that indicates the immigrant wreck, then headed out.

We elected to surface swim to the buoy, as we've missed the wreck in the past by going underwater. It's about a 50m swim, so no problems. Once at the bouy, descended to the wreck. This time, the buoy was amidships instead of on the stern, so arrived at 75fsw. Then Mike and I proceeded to circumnavigate the entire shipwreck, and have a look in the various compartments (no penetration).

After a nice time on the wreck, we dropped over the stern (50 fsw) to the sand (75 fsw), came back up to 50 fsw and then headed due west to the reef. After a leisurly swim, we arrived at the little tug, then the blue rowboat and the wall. Not much to see, mostly 6 inch crabs. After a time filming the wall, we headed back towards our entry spot, where we exited. An excellent dive!

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China Creek VideoChina Creek Video 

Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa with Mike (May 30 - 12:45)

A great day for diving. Sunny and warm. Mike arrived the night before from Vancouver, and we spent the morning preparing our gear for the day's diving. After that, headed out to Tyee. Geared up and splashed. Then out and down, then over to see if Grandpa was in. He was, and so we both took some video of him. Today I was using my regular Canon A570IS in the Ikelite housing, not the video camera.

There was a lot of stuff in the water, so vis was really bad above 25 fsw, and passable below. Overall, a very nice long dive.

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Tyee VideoTyee Video 

Nanaimo - Snake Wall (May 26 - 14:00)

Second dive of the day. We anchored off Snake wall to get out of the waves and had lunch. Then we geared up and splashed. Down the anchor line, then out and over the wall. Levelled off at 60-70 fsw as buddy needed to stay shallow. Along the wall for 10 min, then back. Found the anchor line first try, then into the shallows to see what was about. Surfaced and swam back to boat.

The camera battery died about 9 min into the dive, so only got the surface prep and anchor line. I really need to add an "on/off" control to the camera housing

Nanaimo - Saskatchewan (May 26 - 11:00)

A great day for diving - a little wind, but nice and sunny. Headed out on the boat with 5 other divers and one passenger. Geared up and splashed on the Saskatchewan. Headed back to mortar bay, then up burma road. Exited at bow, then up and over to the wheel house. Ascended and returned to boat.

I was trying out the video camera on this dive today. The light and light attachment works perfectly, but I really need to improve my 'attention span' when filming things. Saw a large (approx. 20 inches long) red snapper inside the Saskatchewan, but took mediocre video of it.

Ladysmith - Coffin Point / Elliot Beach (May 15, 2009 - 11:00)

Another great day for diving - sunny and warm. I decided to head over to Elliot beach which is very close to the house (12km) to see what the conditions were like there.

I've been preparing my video camera, which is a small solid-state GVC MG500 in a "Wet 'n Rugged" underwater housing. I want to use a greenforce 45W tri-led light as the video light. After preparing the housing, camera and light, I figured it was time to give it all a test.

After gearing up, I splashed. There are no external camera controls, so I had to turn it on and push "record" at a picnic table, then button up the housing and head to the water. Once in, the visibiliy was horrid - less than 2 ft for the most part. I headed out from shore and down to the first wall at 30 fsw. Once there, I spent the dive checking out the camera and just practicing "hovering". After an hour, I headed back in.

I was concerned on the dive that the camera was not behaving as expected, though the housing was quite comfortable to use and the light seemed perfect. Once I got home and checked, it turned out the camera was set to "photo" instead of video, and so I managed just one single shot - of the picnic table! Oh well, now I know for the next dive.

Coffin Point
Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (May 9, 2009 - 11:00)

Excellent dive today. The day was sunny and warm, so gearing up was a pleasure. However, the tide was among the lowest I've ever seen at Tyee, so a longer walk to the water, plus all the nice gravel that we usually wade into was now "beach", so fins donned among seaweed and larger rocks.

Headed out, the ebb current was strong, and carried me down the "v" to 50fsw quite quickly. Headed over to grandpa, missed him on the first try, but came back up and found his home. Started to video grandpa as well as take some pictures - it seems grandpa has a girlfriend! Got some photos and video of the pair, then some of grandpa seeing who was in his "turf". Then back along the wall, pausing to take a video of the boot sponge that has a small resident.

As I swam along the wall, I could see cascades of ocean "junk" pouring down the wall in ribbons from the shallows, no doubt caused by the ebb current. Very neat, even if they did mess with the vis. Overall vis was still quite good today below 20fsw. Finally back into the shallows for some photos of the denizens. Overall an excellent day's diving!

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Grandpa Wolf Eel VideoGrandpa Wolf Eel Video

Boot Sponge VideoBoot Sponge Video

Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (May 1, 2009 - 11:00)

Geared up and headed out today. Low tide, but not extremely low. Headed out and over to see if grandpa was in. He was not. Vis was improved, but still pretty bad. Not much point trying to take pictures today due to the poor vis.

Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (April 19, 2009 - 9:48)

After yesterday's great dive, and especially after seeing grandpa and the stubby squid, Mike and I were quite enthusiastic about today's dive. We chose to dive Tyee again, both for the excellent shore entrance, good shallow practice area and the great sea life.

After gearing up and heading to shore, we did our checks and again headed over to see grandpa. He was in again, and both Mike and I took some video of him. I also got some pictures. Then it was back to our entrance and out. A most excellent day's dive.

Grandpa Wolf Eel & Mike VideoGrandpa Wolf Eel & Mike Video

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Grandpa Wolf Eel VideoGrandpa Wolf Eel Video 

Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (April 18, 2009 - 10:18)

Mike Burgess came over from Vancouver this weekend to do some diving with me. Arriving early, we checked out our gear, and made sure the Prisms were pre-flighted and ready to go. Then off to Tyee for some checkout diving.

Mike had with him his new HD underwater video setup, and was wanting to test out the weighting and lights. Once at Tyee, we geared up and headed down to the shore for our dive. Ray from SOS was there with a group taking their advanced course, and they headed out before us.

Once in the water, Mike and I attached our stages, then down to 20fsw for some equipment checks.

After the checks, we headed down and over to see grandpa wolf eel at about 85fsw. Visibility was not bad - around 5-10 ft. above 30fsw, and maybe 15-20 ft. below that. Grandp was in, so Mike took some video while I took some photos. Then we headed back at 75fsw, turning at the usual place and heading up for some stops at 30fsw and 20fsw.

At the 20fsw stop, Mike and I were just 'hanging' when I saw a movement from what looked like a chunk of kelp. The 'kelp' quickly resolved itself into 8 tentacles and a mantle - a perfect little stubby squid. I took a few photos, then switched my camera to video mode to take a short video of the small creature. Only 4" long, it was quite cute as it jetted about the bottom. Finally, it was time to head in and have lunch before rinsing our gear and preparing for tomorrow's dive

In addition to the photos, there is a link to the video of the stubby squid.

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Stubby Squid VideoStubby Squid Video

Nanaimo - Saskatchewan (APril 9, 2009 - 14:00)

After lunch, we raised anchor and moved to the stern line of the Saskatchewan. After gearing up, we splashed and met at 20fsw for buddy and bubble checks. Then descended to the stern and into the mortar bay.

I led the team into the wreck and down burma road, pointing out some of the more interesting sights along the way (like the room with the huge pile of silt in the center). Once we came to the forward area, we exited out a cutout in the port side, then ascending to the main deck.

Glenn and I then returned to the stern, re-entered burma road but headed left after the engine room hatch to enter the engine room from the port side cutouts I had used on my last dive here. Unfortunately, by the time we looked into the engine room, we were into deco and so elected to return to the stern line as per our pre-dive plan. As it was, Glenn had 5 mins deco while my computer cleared by the time we had ascended to 60 fsw. Still, we spent 5 mins on deco at 15 fsw before surfacing.

Nanaimo - Snake Wall (April 9, 2009 - 10:40)

The day was cloudy with occasional drizzle, but the seas were pretty decent. We anchored off Snake wall, where the ocean was flat and very calm, with a small surface current. After gearing up, we splashed - the two from the rescue course plus Glenn and myself. We same down the ravine to the start of the wall, then over and down to 120fsw to get below the overhang. After 10 minutes or so moving "left" along the wall, we started to ascend back to 80fsw, whereupon we turned the dive to head for our entry point.

As we headed up, I tried to take more pictures, but the camera batteries have been dying the past few weeks, and so no flash was available. I tried "available light" pictures, but although viz was good (20ft or more), the gloom was enough that the exposures meant blurred photos.

Nearing our exit, we found a small wolf eel, and I got a few shots of him, but they were blurred. We missed the anchor, and so did a free ascent from 30fsw, stopping at 20fsw for a safety stop. When we surfaced, we were less than 50 feet from the boat, and were aboard after just a short surface swim.

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Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (April 5, 2009 - 12:10)

After the "rescue" of Dave, we decided to do a nice dive before lunch. Part of the dive involved setting an anchor buoy for a boater near the point, so we headed down to 60 fsw and to the left (towards Grandpa). At the point, we came back up to 40 fsw and set the buoy. Then across and down to see Grandpa. We then returned by coming back at 50fsw on a diagonal from Grandpa to our entrance.

Once back near our exit, in 20fsw, Dave simulated a convulsing "ox-toxing" diver. It was a very convincing performance. The rescue team moved into action upon termination of the active phase, bringing the diver to the surface and then performing rescue breaths while towing him in to shore.

Parksville - Tyee Rescue Course (April 5, 2009 - 11:40)

As part of a mixed-team rescue course, my role was to explain the Prism Topaz rebreather to the students, then lead them on a dive where the instructor would "disappear" and need to be found and rescued. The "back story" about me was such that the divers were on high alert for problems (with me) at the start of the dive. Consequently, when I turned to them at the top of the wall and asked "where's your buddy?", they mis-interpreted this to mean "I'm confused".

Additionally, my HUD light had just turned blue (hypoxic) we descended to 20fsw. The Prism changes setpoint from 0.7 at the surface to the depth setting (in this case 1.3) at between 18 and 18 fsw, and the HUD shows hypoxic until the O2 solenod injects enough O2 to reach the new setpoint.

As a result, the pair decided that I needed rescuing RIGHT NOW. Nothing I did would disuade them. It turns out the day before had provided plenty of "fighting divers" and "divers in denial" for them, so they were ready and eventually wrestled me to the surface, where I was able to call off the drill before I was towed to shore.

I was eventually able to get them to initiate the search for Dave, and they found him fully 12 minutes after he had slipped away. The "rescue" of Dave went without incident.

Nanaimo - Rivtow Lion (March 30, 2009 - 10:25)

Geared up on a nice but cloudy day for a splash on the Rivtow Lion. Descended to midships, swam aft and over the stern to see the prop. Followed other divers as they ventured from aft to bow along the port side, then up to the deck and along the starboard deck. At the entrance to the engine room, entered to have a look. Almost none of the whitish silt that usually lurks on the keel like a mist, so could see more of the lower structures. Then out the aft hatch, poked about a few other rooms in the aft, then circumnavigated the wreck a few times before finally returning to the boat and some hot soup.

Sadly, my left foot sprang a leak, whether from a bit of the wreck or the fin straps, and flooded my left foot completely.

Rivtow Lion Rivtow Lion
Nanaimo - Saskatchewan (March 25 - 13:50)

First time on the boat since November 2008, and it showed! Wind and waves weren't too bad, but after setting the tie-in, I started feeling a little "grey". The other two diver's splashed, but I stayed home. By lunchtime, I was perked up and so geared up for the Saskatchewan dive in the afternoon.

Splashed behind the two other divers and followed them down to the stern, where we headed up Burma Road. Just past the first hatch that opens to the engine room, turned left to the port side, where a second hatch to the engine room awaits. Exited the side cutout, then entered the engine room through the side cutout below. Swam across the turbines and up to the starboard side cutout, avoiding the dangling lines that used to lead across the engine room, but now hang down from attachment points, long weathered and broken. Then forward to the bow hatch, pausing to inspect and photograph the missing bow line attachment point. The chain is still there with it's little buoy, but the rope and shackle is clean missing. Then aft to the bridge and finally back up the line to the boat. An excellent dive.

Vis was incredible today - with the sun out, you could look up from the main deck and see the dive boat clear as anything.

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Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (March 12 - 10:45)

Geared up as usual, but today decided to try the 80cf bailout in sidemount configuration. No problems. Descended, swam over to grandpa, and then back. Vis was better than the wee before, but not by much - maybe up from 5ft. to 7ft. At depth it was like a night dive. Did some bailout drills in the shallows, then in. Very nice dive. Went with 10 lbs in the harness, and this was much better.

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Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa(March 6 - 11:30)

Geared up as usual, sidemounting the 40cf bailout. No problems descending or swimming to see grandpa, except the vis was maybe 5ft. Much like a night dive. As a drill practice, went on bailout at 60 fsw during the final ascent of the dive, and had some issues with expanding counterlungs. Got that squared away and came in. OK dive, but vis was not great. Went with 6lbs again, and definitely too light.

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Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa with Mike Burgess (February 28 - 11:40)

Mike was here for a visit, so we headed to Tyee for a checkout dive. Geared up, sidemounting our bailout and headed down. Swam over to see grandpa, but he was not in his den. Swam back, then along the right wall. Once back at 30 fsw, Mike did some bailout drills, then we came in and went for lunch. Excellent dive.

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Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (February 20 - 12:00)

Another checkout dive to get ready for the dive season. Geared up, splashed and headed down the V, then over to grandpa. Not home today, so no pictures. Tried 6lbs soft weight in the harness, but still a bit too light.

Parksville - Tyee to Grandpa (February 6 - 11:00)

Geared up, splashed and headed out to the V. Down the V, had a look around, then off to grandpa wolf eel at 85fsw. Found grandpa in his den & took some photos. Then back to the V and some playing in the shallows. Overall a very good dive.

I did try a new gear configuration - no weight harness and 5lbs hard weight in a pouch on the harness, just forward of the light canister. This rurned out to be a disaster - I was not able to cinch the waist band as tight as I like, and eventually the weight pulled the harness tri-glide through the backplate, leaving the light sitting on my belly. Not fun at all.

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