Wolf Eel Sea Lemon Nudibranch

Fulton Reef

Giant Pacific Octopus at Fulton ReefFulton Reef is one of Hood Canalís best dive sites and this mysterious gem is virtually unknown to the local dive community.  A chance comment by Don Coleman (Pacific Adventure) to run my side scan unit down by Fulton Creek to look for structure had us chomping at the bit to dive this site.  We had spotted quite a bit of rock structure and a wall on while running the side scan near the creek.  We planned a return trip to the Canal to dive the site and we were not disappointed.

The reef itself starts in about 65 feet of water, with lots of slanted, fractured rock structure and schooling black rockfish.  Cruising over the top of the reef, the bottom drops into the abyss and youíll find a nice vertical wall that ends at about 95 feet of depth.  Along the wall, there are lots of large rocks, cracks, nooks and crannies that are just loaded with critters to admire.  On our first dive at the site, we spotted several friendly grunt sculpins, dozens of hairy crabs, nudibranchs galore and huge lings guarding their eggs.   The highlight of the dive was a big octopus slowly fanning her egg clusters with the water from her siphon.   We watched mesmerized for several minutes as the eggs slowly waved back and forth as she kept them clean and oxygenated.

A cute Grunt Sculpin at Fulton ReefFurther up the wall, a juvenile wolf eel peered out at us, wondering just what the heck these noisy, bubble-blowing creatures were.  We spent nearly 45 minutes exploring Fulton Reef, finding several cavern-like structures along the wall and lots of octopus dens.  The base of wall is home to a nice rubble field where youíll be happy to spot a large number of pregnant rockfish. 

On our way back to the boat, we were entertained with a wide variety of nudibranchs crawling around in the mud flats as well as a few sea cucumbers standing straight up and spawning into the still waters.  We explored this site during the middle of a moderately large flood tide and experienced no current at all until we were in the top 15 feet of water on our ascent back to the boat.

If youíd like to see this amazing dive site for yourself, book a charter on Pacific Adventure and ask Don to take you to Fulton Reef.  He doesnít visit the site very often, but for me itís one of the top three dive sites in Hood Canal and well worth a visit or two.

 

Location:   North of Fulton Creek, Hood Canal                   MAP
Depth:  65-95'               Hazards:  Jellyfish, fishing boats.