|Date Reviewed:||December, 2000|
|Site Description:||Rock breakwater, pilings|
|Main Attraction:||Giant Pacific Octopus|
Keystone is one of those extremely popular dive sites that seemingly gets bombarded relentlessly by divers every weekend. Other than during a certification dive, I stay well clear of this site on weekends. On weekdays, you usually get the entire dive site to yourself, and the diving can be spectacular.
Keystone is actually a ferry landing located on the west side of Whidbey Island (about half way up the island). There are actually two dive sites here. The first is an old pier located just south of the breakwater. The second (and better site, by far) is the breakwater that protects the ferry terminal from the south.
Facilities here are good, as there are picnic tables, ample parking, and restrooms. There is even a small restaurant across the street. The pilings under the peer make an interesting dive. There are some fish here, and plenty of anemones, starfish, and crabs to entertain you on a dive. The depth under the pilings is surprisingly shallow. In fact, on a low tide, you can almost walk right out to the first set of pilings before reaching the water. I could probably do this dive on my 19 cubic foot pony and still get 30 minutes of bottom time.
The breakwater is the main attraction. It starts on the shore and works it's way out to about 60 fsw. The large boulders that make up the breakwater serve as ideal habitat for Giant Pacific Octopus (I have seen five here on one dive), an occasional Wolf-Eel, anemones, Quillback, Copper, and Brown Rockfish, some rather large Lingcod, Cabezon, Striped Seaperch, Shiner Perch and Pile Perch, Painted and Kelp Greenling, Giant Barnacles, and a varied assortment of crabs and starfish. I almost always find Orange Spotted Nudibranchs at this site as well. You can also find some soft corals here if you look carefully.
The octopus here are can be hard to find. Make certain to bring a good light to thoroughly investigate all the potential lairs. Look for the tell-tale signs of an octopus dens (crab shells piled high outside the entrance). Although this is not a deep site, there are four major considerations when diving here.
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