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Canada – Part 2

So, let’s continue our journey across Canada.  We left off in Tobermory, Ontario and I don’t mean to do injustice to the prairie provinces, but let’s move along to Alberta …

Alberta

 

Yes, between the Great Lakes and the west coast … there’s still diving to be had!

I recently taught a student a drysuit course, specifically so that she could dive on a very unique historical wreck, that of a prototype ice (well pykrete – a mixture of ice and wood pulp) aircraft carrier, being developed by the Allies during WWII.  The project eventually stalled towards the end of the war for a variety of reasons and the project’s prototype scale model was left to sink at its location on Patricia Lake in the Jasper National Park in Alberta.

(Credit: Combat Reform; abovetopsecret)

If you want to know more of the history of this crazy project, here are a couple of links:

http://members.shaw.ca/andrewfairservice/malberta/patricia.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk

http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_Habbakkuk.htm

….. but how cool would it be to dive on the model at altitude of 4200 feet above sea level?!  Just remember, you need special training to dive at altitude….

(Credit: Susan Langley)

British Columbia

And last but not least, we reach British Columbia.  Here’s one of the few locations in Canada where you can actually dive year-round and in moderate comfort (yes, even in the winter).  I’ve actually had the pleasure to dive off an area called the Sunshine Coast, from a small town called Sechelt.  If you have the time to head up there, it’s a good chance to see an excellent purposefully-sunk navy wreck, called the HMCS Chaudiere.  After hopping in a zodiak and speeding out into the Sechelt Inlet, you pop over the side and head down to see where she has settled on her side, since being sunk as an artificial reef in 1992.  The “Chaud” has subsequently attracted a lot of marine life and has even been made penetrable (if trained) so that you can dive three of her decks (including a brief drink in the Officers’ Mess?).

(Credits: DND/W. Cridland, courtesy of UWExplorers.net; West Coast Wilderness Lodge)

Out on the edge of Vancouver Island is another famed dive spot for Canada, the Browning Pass!  From those I know who have dived it, it’s unbelievable diving.  One well-known travel television celebrity that we’ve trained in the past thought it was one of their best dive locations ever!  In fact, they even have footage of themselves tickling the chin of a wolf eel they found on one of their dives.  The Pass itself is located in a narrow stretch between two islands (Nigei and Balaklava) that lie off the northeastern corner of Vancouver Island.  Due to the currents sweeping in from the Queen Charlotte Strait, the Pass is constantly fed by rich nutrients, which, in turn form an abundance of sustenance for countless species of invertebrates, fish and mammals.  With so much life to see in one small area, it is not hard to see why this location can compete with the best around the world and why it is a diver’s cold water paradise.

(Credit: Stuart Westmorland; Curt Bowen & John Rowlings; C. Grant)

Of course, there’s lots more to see in B.C. … I imagine any BC’ers reading this are yelling “what about Tofino”, however, I can’t list every place!!  I totally encourage you to keep looking for new and exciting spots …. the more diving the better!

Next up, a quick blog on the Advanced Course …. particularly handy, given our Advanced weekends will be here in a couple of weeks….and then my much promised garbage patch blog!!