North America

Diving Coastal British Columbia

Wayne Grant exploring Barkley Sound

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.

Great Lakes: Lake Michigan Shipwreck Mysteries

Explorer Capt. Jitka Hanakova at stern of EMBA wreck, Lake Michigan. Photo by Becky Kagan Schott.

My first dive in the Great Lakes was 20 years ago. I remember descending into dark green water and limited visibility. My joke for years was, “Do you know why they call it Lake Erie? Because it’s just that—it’s Erie.” Soon after that, I moved to Florida with my family and forgot all about the Great Lakes because I had warm, tropical reefs in my backyard. Fast-forward to five years ago and I had my next experience diving in Lake Superior.

Great Lakes: Shipwrecks of Presque Isle

The year is 1880, and you are working on a wooden schooner, one of the most dangerous jobs during the time. It is late November and it is the last run of the season. The ship is overloaded with coal and the seas start to pick up. It is now dark and the icy waves are crashing over the sides, and all you can do is work to keep the ship afloat. Ice is now forming on the rigging, and out of the fog, the bow of another ship suddenly appears.

Yellowstone

A volcano larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, Yellowstone National Park is a geothermal hot spot that attracts more than four million visitors a year. Wildlife roam the landscape freely in this caldera defined by ongoing thermal activity. In this unique landscape, opportunities for exploration above and below the water line abound.

British Columbia's Sunshine Coast

Frosted nudibranchs can be found in both Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast. Photo by Barb Roy.

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.

Mexico's La Paz

Baja California is a peninsula in the western section of Mexico. The peninsula has the Pacific Ocean to the west and is separated from the mainland by the Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez) to the east. These waters are home to 39 percent of the world's marine mammal species. Nine hundred species of fish and five of the world’s seven endangered species of sea turtles live here.

Great American Journey

Whitemouth moray eel, Kona, Hawaii. Photo by Jennifer Idol.

Returning from the pristine reefs of Tobago, I flew over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Aghast, I set out on a journey that would help me illuminate waters of the United States to help people better understand their national treasure. I became the first woman to dive all 50 states at the end of last year.