Surprising fun! Diving the Breakwater!


Northern Bay Pipefish

Orange and White Tipped Nudibranch

So, there we were, three divers on a saturday afternoon, all the gear and tanks ready to go… when we discovered our planned dive location was highly tide sensitive (we’re all from out of area) and we’d missed both windows. Desperation was followed with internet searches for shore dives in the Campbell River area, all of which came up woefully short; but we found a lot of great boat and drift dives! Now sadness gripped us, we were looking at a dry weekend. Then inspiration struck! Why not dive the marina’s breakwater? Sure, we’ve dived the one area to death on course, but why not follow it out? Maybe see what’s around the corner? So that’s what we did!

Breakwaters are a surprising source of life and make for easily navigated dives, and the breakwater at the south side of the Coast Marina was no slouch. The maximum depth was around 6m or so, visibility was decent, with a good 4m+/- of clarity. there was a fair amount of particulate matter, but that’s to be expected when the tide is flooding! The breakwater here is composed of irregularly sized broken stones, with lots of flora attached and many crevices for life to hide in. There was mild current that picked up near the tip and turn of the breakwater, unfortunately we hit the turn-around point in air then and had to head back. The only hazard past current we had to worry about was boat traffic, but diligence and safe diving avoided any difficulties there for us!

So, there we were, following the breakwater, enjoying the numerous sights that beckoned us from just past our worksite from the commercial diving course. During the dive we saw several types of sea star, Sunflower Stars for the most part, a species of what I believe was a tanner crab, a new nudibranch, Red Rock Crabs, perch, kelp greenlings, Orange Sea Cucumbers and more! Not to mention at least four types of kelp/seaweed. Had we had 100’s instead of 80’s, we may have been able to see more… as the other side of the breakwater sees little to no traffic!

This was a hasty dive, where I laid out a basic plan, did the DM thing and the result was great! We avoided weekend dryness, saw some new things, and have a partially formed plan to do the same again… but a night! The main gist of this very short entry is that there are lots of places to dive, and just because a place isn’t listed doesn’t mean it can’t be a sweet dive!

About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.