Bioluminescence and Kelp! Q Cove by Night!

Curious Rockfish

Quathiaski Cove, better known as Q Cove to the locals and divers in the area, is an enjoyable boat and sometimes drift dive on Quadra Island. I’d been in the area ages ago during a diving vacation with some friends after an overseas tour, and returned to it for some fun by moonlight recently!


Q Cove is a boat access only dive, and follows along a shallow wall to a gently sloping bottom of sand and loose rocks. I hit 12.9m for maximum depth, but if you’re hunting for Sea Pens or other unique fauna, you could easily hit 18m during high tide. Like many other dives around Quadra Island, and the area in general, the area is somewhat tide sensitive; live boating and drifting are very real possibilities here. In particular, it can become a mild drift dive as you pass the point and get near the old ferry docks. As a night dive, you should be sure to take the normal precautions and carry a spare light and a visual surface signal device. Parts of the area are heavy with kelp as well, so having a dive knife or set of shears won’t go far wrong either.

The Sunflower Star King

The area had a fair amount of particulate matter in the water, and complex constellations and galaxies of bioluminescence in your wake or around your arms and hands with even the tiniest motions! My frustration with my camera’s inability to operate in lowlight conditions has never been so great! A video would have been amazing. Beyond that, the waters were light on life that night, with only the usual culprits to the area, although there was a Sailfin Sculpin that his from the camera and a somewhat lost looking Blue Rockfish. The sea stars were enormous… one of which had a disc at least 50cm wide and over 20 rays! I thought it was a strange growth before I approached it and saw it for the monstrous Sunflower Star it was!

Grazing by Night

Like any night dive, you have to plan for this sort of thing; while Q Cove is firmly in the beginner to intermediate area of skill, night diving is still inherently more risky than day time diving. I heartily recommend the dive site to those interested, and hopefully you’ll find the luminescing as captivating as we did and spot more in the way of life!

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.