Barkley Sound offers some of the best cold water diving in the world. The high exposure of the far West coast brings with it high productivity and diversity. The network of islands throughout the sound also offer protection for those rough days on the water. We commonly see wolf eels, giant pacific octopus, stellar and california sea lions, many species of rockfish, colourful marine invertebrates, and large kelp forests. We have room for up to 8 divers at a time and can provide tanks and some weights upon request. Unfortunately we are not able to rent any other dive gear at this time. We have numerous world-class sites to choose from, here are some of our favourites:
Arguably the best site in Barkley Sound is Renate reef. The site is a system of pinnacles in the middle of Imperial Eagle channel. The top of the pinnacle is at a depth of roughly 30-40' and is covered with a large expanse of standing kelp and huge schools of rockfish hovering above. The sloping sides plunge down to the depths and are absolutely covered with life. This is a great spot to see wolf eels, tiger rockfish, and many marine invertebrates. Travel time ~30mins.
A small islet located in the Deer Group, Ohiat is a wonderful site to dive. The first twenty feet features walls and ledges covered by kelp forest and large bands of red, green and purple urchins. After twenty feet the rocky substrate continues to gradually slope down to more vertical walls which end in a shell bottom around 60ft. Common highlights are puget sound king crabs, purple ring topsnails, painted greenlings, grunt sculpins, orange cup corals, and much more. Travel time ~15mins.
Sea Pool Rocks
A rocky boulder reef marked by the whistle buoy near the western edge of Trevor channel, Sea Pool rocks is another local favorite. Part of the reef breaks the surface on a low tide, making for an easy decent. This is another very productive site and features a huge diversity of species. Travel time ~30mins.
We have yet to find another site that looks like Nanat, truly a one of a kind dive. This rocky site has a large flat top at 15-20ft filled with dense kelp beds and boulders. The reef then turns to vertical walls plunging straight down to 200-300ft with a few ledges at 50-70ft. The geology is very unique, consisting of overlapping diagonal plates of rock with many cracks, crevices and jagged edges. This increased substrate complexity makes for excellent habitat for many species of fish and invertebrates. Travel time ~25mins.
The last Island in the Deer Group before the open ocean is home to a large sea lion colony from August-March. Both Stellar and California sea lions haul out here in the hundreds, making it an incredibly exhilarating experience! These inquisitive creatures love to come visit divers, especially the sub-adults. The rocky slopes of the island are also home to many large anemones, schools of black rockfish, and striped sunstars. Travel time ~35mins.
This area is known as “the graveyard of the pacific” because of the numerous shipwrecks over the past five hundred years. For those interested in wreck diving, this is definitely a spot to check out. A 473ft freighter carrying 300 Dodge Colts from Japan to Vancouver, the Vanlene ran aground in 1972 and has remained ever since. Much of the vessel is still relatively intact and offers a great opportunity to explore the boat and the dense marine life covering it. Travel time ~45 mins.