There aren't many days when the current is weak enough to make me feel comfortable shore diving in Gabriola Pass. Today (Jan. 16, 2010) there was there a decent slack that also happened to be in the middle of the day on a weekend. During the whole drive up to Nanaimo and the ferry ride over to Gabriola I was feeling a bit glum and bitter. It was a darkly-overcast morning with pouring rain. All the rivers on Vancouver Island were pumping their chocolate milk into the ocean and I was resigning myself to a dark, gloomy, swim-with-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face kind of dive. I drove to the end of the road near Gabriola Pass and put on my gear while sloshing around in the mud. As I was walking down to the water the rain stopped, the clouds parted, the sun blazed down, the choirs of angels sang out and I descended in 40-50 feet of visibility. When it's nice and clear like this, the topography here is stunning. I swam along the stepping walls and could see the boulder bottom of the pass stretching out below me. The last few times I was here I saw a fuzzy coating of orange hydroids over much of the bottom. This time I didn't notice any, but maybe I was just distracted by the overall spectacle. After the dive as I was walking back up the beach, I saw a group of sealions with clouds of misty breath swimming through the pass.
40 feet deep
bottom of wall
urchins near end of pass
sunflower star and urchins
ledge in pass
anemones and urchins 50 feet deep
50 feet deep
cemented tubeworm balls 30 feet deep
near top of walls
50 feet deep
seastars on wall
anemones and sponges
stuff on ledge
looking down wall
looking down wall with kelp greenling
kelp greenlings in bottom of pass 80 feet deep
bottom of pass 80 feet deep
bottom of pass
wall at bottom of pass
looking up under overhang
anemones, etc.
anemones and sponge
bottom of wall
stuff in pass
sunflower star
30 feet deep
urchins 30 feet deep
cemented tube worm colonies and sunflower star
urchins and cemented tubeworm balls
30 feet deep
shoreline in shallows while swimming back
leather stars during swim back
looking down near entry-point
near entry-point
near entry-point
near entry-point
mural at ferry terminal
mural at ferry terminal
ferry terminal