Originally intending to dive at Furry Creek today, Josh and I drove out to Oliver’s Landing to scope out the conditions. After seeing the very low tide with a long, rocky entry, and the tens of people fishing along the shore, we decided to drive out to Britannia Beach and dive the wrecks out there instead.
Squat Lobsters are easy to photograph.
The low tide had cleared out some of the silt, and below the first few meters of literally zero viz, the visibility opened up to nearly 5 meters or so, and a bit more deeper. The second dive was a different story, as the incoming tide brought back a lot of the sediments near the wreck. Our second dive’s descent out in the bay was perhaps one of the most fun descents I’ve done recently, where we sank through seemingly over five meters of chalk-like water where we had to maintain physical contact so as to not become separated. All of a sudden, everything turned dark and the visibility opened up to over five meters, but was nearly pitch-black. We headed down to 20 or so meters where it seemed to bottom out but there was nothing see but sand and pricklebacks, so we hooked back to the shallow recks.
Having not been out there in over a year, it was interesting to see the changes that have occurred. The wooden fishing vessel butted up against the CCGS Ready had decayed somewhat since I last visited. The radar mast had fallen over, increasing the amount of clutter on the west side of the wrecks. The superstructure in general looks like it had collapsed in upon itself, with the funnel lying on the ground when it had still been firmly attached to the top of the superstructure in February 2012.
The Fishing Vessel’s Funnel near the bottom in Aug. ’13
The fishing vessel’s funnel in Feb. ’12, before the superstructure collapsed
The CCGS ready is still as in-tact as it was a year ago, but there is an increased amount of life growing on the wreck itself. A great comparison photo (in-spite of the atrocious viz) is the propeller, which had nearly no life on it last year.
The CCGS Ready’s port screw in Feb. ’12
Josh behind the same propeller in Aug. ’13
The photo above on the right is a good demonstration of how useful it would be to have a second strobe. I had the one strobe all the way out to the left, but had to angle it in a bit to get everything illuminated. You can see the atrocious backscatter on the left side of that photo, and how it’s not quite as bad on the right. If I had two strobes, one way out to each side and both angled out, I could illuminate everything well without quite as much back-scatter in silty conditions like this.
Some interesting notes about the life in the area, was the huge number of sea urchins, which in some places were gathered in groups of what must have been over a hundred individuals. I’m not sure what causes this kind of clustering, or if it’s natural/healthy/normal or not. I’d have to defer that to biologist familiar with urchins.
Carpet of Sea Urchins
Plenty of squat lobsters and shrimp in the area, as usual. Since they’re so easy to photograph (Since they don’t run away readily!) so a lot of photos of those. Not too many other photos that really stand out this time around.
Also of interest were the hundreds of dungeoness (?) crabs living at the three to six meter zone between the wrecks and our entry point. There were so many crabs scuttling away from us that they stirred up enough silt to severely reduce the visibility; It was almost as bad as an open water class ;). A quick video below:
All in all a fantasic couple of dives. Diving with GUE buddies (in this case Josh) always reinforces why I like the system so much. Even when I’m concentrating on trying to get a photo, maneuvering around with precise fin kicks, I always saw Josh’s light in my peripheral vision. A quick circle of my light and a quick response from him and I knew we were both okay. Practicing S-drills randomly on the dive helps build confidence as well.
The rest of the photos from today are below the jump:
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