|Date Reviewed:||August 2001|
|Access:||dock dive from God's Pocket Resort|
|Site Description:||Shallow muddy bay with rock walls on both sides|
|Main Attraction:||Giant Pacific Octopus|
The diving is absolutely wonderful in the Browning Pass area. In fact, it is so wonderful, you can simply jump off the dock at God's Pocket Resort at night and have an awesome dive. The resort is located on Hurst Island (one island to the south of the two islands that form Browning Pass), and is the only sign of humanity on the entire island. I have only done this as a night dive.
Vis comes and goes in the God's Pocket Bay, as it is shallow and mud laden. Vis appears to be markedly better at high tide, and can be downright awful at low tide, especially if there is any kind of surge coming into the bay (which is not too common). All three times I have done this dive, it has been low tide and vis in the bay was about 7 feet. However, once we got outside the bay this year, vis opened up to about 30 feet.
Depth in the bay varies a little, but it is generally flat and runs between 15 and 45 feet. Outside immediately past the point, depth can drop to about 50 feet.
As with all dives, make certain you take a good compass bearing before getting in the water. Every time I have done this dive so far, we have headed to the rock wall to the left of the dock (facing out). Once at the wall, we follow it out to the "point", where vis usually increases. Although I have never noticed current in the bay, there can be some running outside of the bay. I have never noticed it to be strong, just be warned.
As I stated earlier, the bottom is comprised of silt, and is covered in broad-leaf kelp. If you are careful, you will find a number of creatures hiding or sleeping in the kelp. Small rockfish and Kelp Greenling are common. Anywhere there is structure, you will find colorful anemones. You can also find a number of different nudibranchs, including magnificent Giant Nudibranchs up to about a foot long, and colorful Opalescent Nudibranchs. Bill, the owner of the resort, stated that the Giant Nudibranchs tend to show up in the bay in droves beginning in September. There is all sorts of macro life to take in here, so gently work your way through some of the kelp leaves and see what you find.
On the rocky wall, you will kind Bull Kelp clinging to surrounding rock structure, providing cover for a number of different species of rockfish, sculpin, and greenling. On the wall itself, numerous stars, Red and Purple Sea Urchins, Red Irish Lords, and Sailfin Sculpins are in abundance. The rock has many holes and cracks in it, so be sure to explore them. I have found Giant Pacific Octopus in lairs along this wall in as shallows as 15 fsw.
The highlight of this dive for me though has to be the Giant Pacific Octopus. There seemed to be an abundance of these creatures in the bay this year (2001), and we readily found them even in poor vis. This year I dove the bay twice, and saw two octopus on each dive. The first night we encountered a medium sized Giant Pacific Octopus, about 7 feet across (which is the biggest we saw during this trip) just out past the point. It was casually working it's way across the bottom, apparently hunting for shellfish. It was not intimidated by me or my dive buddy in the least. In fact, it let us scratch between its eyes and appeared to enjoy it. Every time we gave the octopus a gentle head massage, it would stop and just soak up the attention. The second we stopped, it continued its hunt. It was an awesome experience!
On your way back to the dock, make certain to spend some time under the old portion of the God's Pocket dock. The new portion doesn't have much life yet, but the old portion is teaming with all sorts of interesting critters. If you feel real generous, you can also scrub the bottom of Bill's boat for him.
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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