Referred to as the Salish Sea by local aboriginal people, the coastal inland waters stretching from Puget Sound to Johnstone Strait provide a vast and diverse area for scuba divers to explore. Not only are these temperate, nutrient-rich waters teeming with colorful marine critters of all sizes, visitors can enjoy underwater activities like photography, shipwrecks, deep walls and drift diving.
Once thought to be near-extinct along the B.C. coast, humpback whales now appear to be thriving in the Salish Sea. According to the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA), whale numbers in the area are "unprecedented", especially around Vancouver Island’s southern tip. Although whales typically travel in groups of two or three in the Salish sea, PWWA executive director Michael Harris said 20 are now being observed, similar to conditions only found in Alaska and Hawaii.
For the local diving community, it is hard to imagine a full year has already passed since the sinking of the HMCS Annapolis in Halkett Bay, off Gambier Island in British Columbia, Canada. It only seemed like yesterday when crowds of onlookers gathered to watch the sinking on 4 April 2015. In little over two minutes, the ship was on the bottom, and Howe Sound had its first substantial wreck at 371ft (113m) in length!
With over 53 miles (86km) of scenic picturesque coastline along Highway 101 and less than 40 inches (104cm) of rainfall per year, it’s no wonder the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia in Canada is a popular getaway for travelers from around the world. Both the upper and the lower sections offer an array of great dive sites and a myriad of other fun activities on a year-round basis.
We walked nearly a mile along the riverbank before finding a place where we could easily enter with our heavy equipment. The rotting carcasses of dead fish lay along the banks, and the associated stench was overpowering. It was late September 2010, and we had come to photograph an enormous migration of sockeye salmon, the largest run of sockeye in a century.
I am often asked, “Where is the best place to photograph underwater critters in British Columbia?” Well, there is certainly no simple answer to this question and I usually end up replying something like this; “Unless there is a plankton bloom, bad weather or visibility is poor, there are no bad places to dive in BC, therefore you can see critters on every dive!”
Although British Columbia’s (BC) coastal area offers numerous shipwrecks, colorful walls and reefs full of life, there are also a considerable amount of freshwater lakes and rivers to explore within what is known as BC’s Interior Region of Canada. Actually, you might be surprised at what you will find to do and see above and below the water.
I first learned about this unusual lake, nestled in Marble Canyon Provincial Park of British Columbia (BC), Canada, when some friends living in Kamloops asked me to join them for a dive at a local, clear freshwater lake. Since it was only a few hours from Vancouver, I decided to take them up on their offer and headed for the interior parts of BC.