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Porlier Pass, The Point Grey & Spanish Hills.  

Underwater photography thanks to  Lakan Baban.

We headed out on a blustery morning with three divers on board and a fourth to be picked up on route at the Thetis Island Pub dock. It was an early start 6:30 and overcast with forecasts of gale force winds for the day. Everyone was pretty excited about the planned dives. The first dive at Virago rock in the middle of Porlier pass, is site of the wreck of the Point Grey. The  second dive we planned as a current dive along the wall at the North end of Galiano Island just south of Porlier Pass.

 

The Plaque on the wreck of the Point Grey

 

 We were excited about the first dive because of the potential for a long dive in a location that due to normal current changes is a 15 minute dive. On this occasion due to an unusual tidal exchange there was going to be a near slack condition of almost two hours with the potential for as long a dive as we had air.

We had a smooth comfortable run through the cut between Thetis and Kuper Island, and then over to Porlier.  We arrived on site by 7:30 and were in the water by 7:45 right on schedule, our dive plan was to have a quick look at the wreck of the Point Gray which we had all seen on previous dives. The real objective was to head on down to the bottom of the pass to see what was down there. Brian dropped us within 20 ft of the wreck about amidships. We checked out the big props and remains of the engine room, enough time for a photo opportunity and then down around to the bow. 

Me on the prop

Ribs of the wreck

Around the bow

Satisfied with seeing that the wreck was still there we started down the valley that the wreck rests in to the bottom of Porlier. There are a  few dives where the deeper you go the more life you see. This was one of those occasions. Around the wreck we saw lingcod, and the normal scattering of Plumose and shell life. The deeper we went the more and more Plumose there was until it was thick like a Big White Shag carpet on the bottom. 

Moving further on we saw more lings, Cabazons and cloud sponges, although viz was not great maybe 20 to 30 feet there was no shortage of life to see. Suddenly however I had become separated  from my buddy, doing the standard 1 minute look around for my buddy and not seeing him or is camera flash which I was sure he would have been firing to catch my attention. I figured we were not going to find each other. After my anxiety of being alone and knowing that my buddy was probably ok being an excellent veteran diver I started heading back the way we came.  I did not want to make a free ascent in the middle of the pass from 80feet as I did not consider that safe and hoped that my buddy also new that I was probably ok. Heading back up I found more scattered debris a little east of the wreck but not wanting to loiter to long I continued on to meet up with my buddy so as not to cause any concern. Surfacing after about 35 minutes not far from where we went in I was pleased to see our boat had already spotted and picked up my buddy and was drifting in to pick me up. Once back on board we shared our experiences with each other. We all had a really great dive we would remember for a long time. Once the other divers returned to the surface and were on board we headed off to our second destination on Galiano Island. While we had been down the wind had built quite a bit,  however the sky had cleared a bit and the day was beginning to warm up.

Our second dive began by gearing up on the Government dock at Galiano, the wind had picked up quite a bit by this time and the sea was tossing us about so we planned to be completely geared up so we could just run out to the spot we had chosen on the way down to the dock and we would just jump right  in. The  boat nosed in to the cliff and then swung the stern around so that we could all jump off the swim grid. I got a cheer from everyone as I recovered from my staggering to make a fairly dramatic giant stride. The surge was pushing us about so we all submerged moments later, we planned to go down to about 70 feet and just drift south with the current. The bottom was at least a good 150 feet below and not visible in the less than ideal visibility. Despite the Viz we saw lots of life on this wall, more painted greenling than I have ever seen on any other dive we were alsos treated with lots of  tiger rockfish. We also found a couple of Puget sound King crab, lots of anemones, some lingcod as well as a fair number of greenlings. Toward the end of the dive the wall broke up into scattered  car size boulders rich with life from scallops to squirts. We made a slow ascent  in the bay just North of the Government dock, to a pretty wild sea. The boat however picked us up with no trouble where we all agreed this was real diving !.  A reasonably quick trip back to our respective pickup points was a little lumpier than the trip out but we were more than comfortable in the cosy cabin. Back home in plenty of time for lunch was the end to a perfect mornings diving.

Underwater photography thanks to  Lakan Baban