Passage will soon be BC's next marine life sanctuary. Approximately 120
metres wide at its narrowest point with an average maximum depth of
metres, its tidal currents can run up to 8 knots. As a result, diving
is limited to intervals of slack water. Gabriola Passage is an area of
incredibly diverse marine life and colourful rocky ledges. Inhabitants
include Rock Scallops, Kelp Greenlings, Lingcod, Tiger Rockfish, Cabezons,
many species of anemones, Urchins, Giant Barnacles (good buoyancy is a
must) and Giant Pacific Octopus. Along the shoreline a family of River
Otters have been seen during the day.
rocky bench slowly drops down to 18 metres and then a vertical face descends
to 26 metres where, at the bottom, reside three friendly Wolf Eels. Divers
come from all over southern BC to photograph and play with these denizens
of the deep. In the shallow Bull Kelp bed reside clusters of cemented
tubeworms and shallow water fishes including Sea Perch and clouds of
26-metre wall drops abruptly from the shallows. The face is covered with
Chrinoids, Ochre Sea Stars, Mottle Stars, Leather Stars, Sunflower
and dozens of other echinodermata. Nudibranchs & Tubeworms also abound. Frequently
we have seen Giant Pacific Octopus and Harbour Seals.
the bottom stair steps down from 6 metres to 28 metres in a series of
wide terraces before divers encounter a sheer vertical face that drops
to over 75 metres. On the ledges Sea Pens, Rockfish, Lingcod, round Orange
Sponges and Chimney Sponges inhabit the numerous crevices. Also sighted
are Giant Pacific Octopus, Wolf Eels, Spiny Dogfish Shark and Ratfish.
Deeper on the wall large, dramatic Cloud Sponges reign. This site is
a favourite due to its amazing biodiversity, excellent visibility and
small mid-channel reef which can only be dived at slack water. The south
face is a series of rocky outcroppings that form mini-walls with undercuts
and crevices down to 20 metres. A popular site due to the many Wolf
Eels and Giant Pacific Octopus that roam about.