We try to make a couple of trips a year to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island and dive with Ocean Explorers Diving. The water has much better visibility than typical Puget Sound diving, and the crew at Ocean Explorers will spoil you. The HMCS Saskatchewan and HMCS Cape Breton make great wreck dives. We also highly recommend staying at the Buccaneer Inn (Dave and Marlene will take great care of you)!
On October 20, 2001 we watched the sinking of the HMCS Cape Breton, just off the bow of the Saskatchewan ( Snake Island ), and then were one of the first 20 divers to dive the new wreck the following morning. It was covered with silt from the impact, and looked a little eerie sitting on the bottom with the banners sill laying on the deck.
Now, the silt has been carried away, and the wreck is clean, with small marine growth just starting. Be sure to check out the buckled hull just forward of the wheel house ( from the impact with the bottom when it sank ). The picture to the right shows the radar station on the HMCS Saskatchewan. You can see just how magnificent the marine growth becomes after only 5 years underwater.
Our favorite dives off of Nanaimo are Dodd Narrows and Snake Island Wall. The tides have to be just right to dive the narrows, but every square inch of the rock walls are covered with multi-hued anemones! The sound of the tugs overhead is also quite a shock. Don't miss this dive if you have the chance.
Snake Wall slopes gently from 45' to about 80', and then drops out from under you to something like 600' deep. It is an exhilarating dive, and is just covered with critters. Drop down in the 110' - 140' range and there are cloud sponges all over.
When you are finished exploring the cracks and crevices in the wall, head Southwest into the shallows and hang out with the seals for your safety stop. The young ones can be very entertaining! We have found that if you lay on the bottom, very still, they will approach you much closer.
Another great place to dive in Canada is along the Sunshine Coast at Sechelt. Conditions are very similar to those in Nanaimo. When is Sechelt, we dive and stay with Kal and Anne at Porpoise Bay Charters.