Eagle Bay, or Scott’s Bay to the locals, has long been a favourite dive site of mine. Located in Bamfield, British Columbia, the semi sheltered waters there were the location of many of my training dives as a scientific diver and continues to be a regular feature in my diving life. Recently while there, we found a previously unknown reef (at least unkown to us!) in the centre of the bay, well away from the well explored wall and seabed area. Finding the reef was exciting enough, but the life on it was even better!
Located roughly in the centre of Eagle Bay, this dive site is relatively shallow, I maxed out at 7m, and during a high tide you might be able to squeeze 10m out of it. The reef itself is rocky and prominent, and coated with all manner of marine life. The temperature was a very agreeable 10˚C, and the current was non existent. Vis in the bay always looks murky, but after you descend about 3m, it clears out nicely and we had at least 6m of good vis. As with any diving in BC, winter is the best time for vis, so 6m is pretty good!
Life is great on the reef, with urchins, huge Red Turban Snails, decorator crabs, sculpins, Black Rockfish, perch and more! The reef is also home to octopus, with numerous cracks and the distinctive detritus of octo feeding habits. Small Buffalo Sculpin and Brown Irish Lords are present as well, laying still and camouflaged against the reef. Easy to miss, these two fish remain still as stone right up when you accidentally put your hand on one! There’s lots of opportunity for photography here, with wildly decorated marine life and macro opportunities with the tiny nudibranchs that roam across the pink coralline algae.
Finding this reef is just good proof that just because you’ve been to a site numerous times doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all! The site is definitely an easy dive, although you may have to search around a bit to find it. Be sure to bring a camera and a compass so you can get great pictures, and so you can navigate to the site more easily when you come back for a second go!