Scuba Diving in Comox Valley & Campbell River
Colourful, diverse & spectacular are only a few of the adjectives you’ll hear when people describe scuba diving & snorkelling adventures in BC.
In recent years the local waters have gained increased notoriety on the world stage after being recognized by the likes of Jacques Cousteau, being called ‘the best temperate water diving in the world’ and second ‘only to the Red Sea’. In addition, Scuba Diving magazine readers continue to vote BC with accolades for Healthiest Marine Environment, Best Value and Best Overall Destination, to name a few.
Besides a plethora of large marine animals like the Giant Pacific Octopus, fierce looking Wolf Eels, prehistoric Sixgill Sharks, mischievous Sealions and Seals, local waters are also famous for ghostly shipwrecks and massive artificial reefs. In the past 20 years, BC operators have become experts in creating artificial reef habitat having sunk eight ships, including the 366’ long Destroyer Escort HMCS Columbia in Campbell River and the most unique, a Boeing 737 aircraft near Chemainus. Top this off with schools of rockfish, fields of colourful corals and sponges, as well as a plethora of smaller critters and you’ve got something to satisfy every explorers interest.
Some favourite dives in the Campbell River & Comox Valley region include Steep Island, Row and Be Damned and wreck diving on the former destroyer, the HMCS Columbia. Popular diving sites in the Comox Valley include the Sixgill Shark Dive (Hornby Island), the Wolf Eel Alley Dive and the Wreck of the Steamship Capilano.
Steep Island > The small island of Steep, off the southwest coast of Quadra Island, is rated as one of the best dives in the world. Colourful aquatic life clings to rock walls nourished by the incessant movement of the water. The steep channel walls are covered in various marine life. As well, there are many types of fish varieties and marine animals, including Pacific salmon, Orca (killer) whales, seals and sea lions, Wolf Eels, Giant Pacific Octopus and more.
Row and Be Dammed > This is an exciting reef/drift dive near Campbell River. The colours and the marine life on the floor are incredible, with a profusion of large boulders and marine life, and Campbell River’s renowned strawberry anemone. This small anemone carpets the ocean bottom turning it a deep red colour.
HMCS Columbia > Prepared and sunk by the Artificial Reef Society of BC in 1996, the 366-foot ex-Navy Destroyer Escort, HMCS Columbia, has been likened to a jungle gym for divers. Accessible to all levels of diver the wreck is located in a protected bay out of the current swept Discovery Passage, and is just a short boat ride from Campbell River.
The Sixgill Shark Dive Hornby Island > A short boat ride from Comox will take you to Flora Islet. Flora is one of the few places on the planet where the usually recluse and deep dwelling Sixgill Shark ascends to shallow enough depths that they can be seen by divers.
The Wolf Eel Alley Dive is done by following a sloping stone bottom to 60 feet leading to an incredible wall of life. Because of its incredible rock formations, many Giant Pacific Octopus and dozens of Wolf Eels call this wall home.
Wreck of the Steamship Capilano > Striking a submerged object in 1915, this union steamship sunk in the Straight of Georgia. The wreck sat undisturbed until 1971 when she was discovered colonized with a plethora of marine life.