Jul 29

Deep Cove: A Quiet Interlude

By Graeme Contributor

Graeme is an experienced and well trained diver, with PADI Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver status in addition to CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2 and being a Canadian standards (CSA Z275.4-02 and CSA Z275.5-05) trained commercial scuba and surface supply diver. Currently employed as a commercial diver in the interior of British Columbia, he is always looking to improve his skills, gain new qualifications, and do as much diving as possible!

Deep Cove is a wall dive site situated in Sidney, BC, just a ways down from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and about 25 minutes to 45 minutes (traffic dependant) out of Victoria. It's not one of the usual suspects for dive sites in the area, usually eclipsed by more challenging sites like Race Rocks or more convenient sites like Ogden Point. Best done as a small group or just with a buddy, it's a starkly beautiful dive where the atmosphere of the dive and the thrill of spotting something are the main draws. Deep Cove is an entry to intermediate dive.

Deep Cove is a wall style dive, where the stones form "steps" at some points and the the bottom can be quite deep. During my dive there I reached 26m, and could have easily gone deeper. The water temperature is a chilly 6˚C, so exposure protection cannot be underestimated. The vis was alright, with over 6m or so of good clear vision through the green waters, but it can get dark at depth, so having a dive light cannot go far wrong. There were no noticeable currents during the dive, and the conditions were pleasant over all. I categorized Deep Cove as an entry to intermediate dive owing to the combination of cold temperature, the multilevel nature of the dive plan that gets you the best exposure to the dive site.

Marine life at Deep Cove is sparse. They are lots of various invertebrates, and the potential macro photography with them is great. Fish were few and far between though, and tended to be Copper Rockfish. Octopus are in the area though, and there are many, many hiding spots for them, so searching the cracks, crevices and crannies can become a bit impulsive after you spot your first octopus! The shallows have some interesting life in them, and is where I got some of the best pictures of a Frosted Nudibranch I've seen to date!

As I said in the opening, Deep Cove is not your typical dive for the Pacific Northwest. It's a somber but exhilarating dive, where finding things and poking around along the rock walls is the challenge. Not a dive for everybody, I quite enjoyed it and it provided me with a chance for some great macro photography shots. Were I to go back (and I want to) I'd explore the wall in the opposite direction and see if there's more life and more opportunity for pictures!

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