Emerald Sea Photography
The Alki Rock Piles dive site (also known as Alki Reef) is an artificial reef that was created by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enhance rockfish habitat. Like many of these fish habitat projects, this one makes an excellent dive site. The reef is located about 400 yards offshore south of Alki Point, which makes it a little too far from the beach for shore divers, but is an excellent boat dive in Seattle.
The site consists of very large piles of big boulders in scattered clusters on an otherwise featureless bottom. Some of the rock piles are HUGE, and rise more than 25' off of the bottom. The big pile of rocks are full of nooks and crannies that provide excellent habitat for many species of fish and attract a lot of life. Most of the reef lies in about 60 - 70' of water along a Southeast - Northwest line that is parallel to shore.
We always find lots of huge Ling Cod, Cabezon, Rockfish and Octopus on this site, which is a favorite of charter passengers when diving near Elliott Bay. The Reef is well marked on NOAA chart #18450 as a Fish Haven. Anchor in the middle of the fish haven and swim along a heading of 130° on an ebb tide or the reciprocal heading of 310° on a flood tide.
This site sees very little current and is usually safe to dive in all but the worst tidal exchanges. It is somewhat exposed to Southerly winds, and if a strong South wind is expected, another site might be a better option. However, our typical moderate southeasterly winds are no problem as there is good protection from the East.