7 Tree Island

Date Reviewed:August 2001
Location:Browning Pass
Access:Boat dive
Site Description:Sheer rock wall, shell-covered rocky sea bed
Main Attraction:Invertebrate life on rock wall

Seven Tree Island is another absolutely wonderful dive site located in the northwest portion of Browning Pass. It is one of my favorite dives in this area. Actually, it is one of my favorite dives in the world! I imagine this island could have had seven trees on it at one time, but don't try to find this island today by counting trees.

This dive is somewhat different from most other Browning Pass dives, although it is very similar to Buttertart Reef in some respects. Like Buttertart, the dive consists of circumnavigating a structure, in this case a small island. Also like Buttertart, the east side of the island consists of a beautiful large shear wall that provides habitat for all the species that this area is well known for. However, that is where the similarities stop. The west side of the island is very different. Whereas the west side of Buttertart consist of rock ledges and structure, Seven Tree offer a relatively flat, shallow sea bed (about 50 fsw) covered in white broken shells and dotted with rock, making for some beautiful scenery. Seven Tree also boasts kelp beds at the ends of the island in the shallows.

When we dive this site, the idea is to dive very close to slack and catch the current around the outside of the island, and ride the back-eddy around the other side. That is the idea, anyway. We usually do a bit of finning around one side of the island. You can easily go around the entire island on a tank, if you go with the current on the outside of the island and don't go too deep. And it is easy to get deep here, as the wall side of the island drops well below the safe limits of recreational diving.

The marine life here is as bountiful as any of the other dive sites in this area. The wall side is covered in red and pink soft corals, bright yellow sulphur sponges, countless white anemones, purple sponges, and Deadman's Finger Sponges. Large Orange Peel Nudibranchs, huge scallops, Red and Purple Sea Urchins, Giant Barnacles, Kelp Greenlings, Basket Stars, Red Irish Lords and other sculpins highlight the hit parade on the wall. Occasional Lingcod, Puget Sound King Crabs, and octopus can be found just hanging out small ledges. Schools of Puget Sound and Yellowtail Rockfish can be readily found along the wall in amongst the kelp. More solitary China, Copper, and Quillback Rockfish also grace this site. Last year, I found a rather large Decorated Warbonnet on the wall with it's head peering out of the soft corals (see the picture on this web site). Again, as with all dives in this area, you are doing yourself a great injustice if you do not spend some time and take in the little things. Focus on a small patch of the wall, and go through it carefully. You will be amazed at the proliferation of life and color.

One of the unusual things about this site are the rockfish. If you don't think fish sleep, dive here. I was amazed to find dozens of Black Rockfish lying on the white crushed shell seated, fast asleep. If I was careful, I could swim right up to them and they wouldn't budge. Very cool! There is a picture of one of these resting Black Rockfish on this web site.

Bill (of God's Pocket Resort) has also spied Rock Greenling at this site.

Speaking of Bill...whenever we dive in this part of the world, we always do so with Bill Weeks and Annie Ceschi of God's Pocket Resort. I have never tried a different dive operator up here, and have no reason to do so. As far as I and thirteen of my diving friends are concerned, Bill has perfected the Port Hardy dive vacation. We have stayed with God's Pocket Resort the last two years and see no end in sight for return trips. Awesome diving, overwhelming hospitality, world class food and service (thanks Grant and Jeannie!), and Bill and Annie's great personalities (not to mention Lewis!) keep us coming back. Bill truly loves what he does and has the utmost respect for all the wildlife in this area, making a vacation here very special. What more could you ask for? If you are extremely lucky, you will get an opportunity to dive the Browning Pass area with God's Pocket Resort. Diving with Bill and Annie is the most enjoyable diving I have done - anywhere in the world. See God's Pocket for more info, and tell 'em Keith and Jon sent you!

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