|Date Reviewed:||January 2002|
|Location:||North Hood's Canal|
|Site Description:||Rock pinnacle|
|Main Attraction:||Structure, Odner's Dorids|
This is a cool site. Sea Mount is located in the middle of Dabob Bay, which is on the north end of Hood's Canal, just south of the Hood's Canal Bridge. This is a boat dive only, as the site is located a good mile away from any land. It is also quite a drive to this site from Seattle (over two hours unless you take a ferry, who reams$$$ you if you bring a boat on board), so you might want to make at least a day of it.
Sea Mount is actually a huge pinnacle that rises up out of 200 feet of water and peaks about 35 feet from the surface (on a low tide). The top of the pinnacle is rugged and expansive, running from 35 to 55 feet deep. I would guess the "top" is maybe 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. The best way to find this site is with a good set of GPS coordinates and a depth finder. With the coordinate listed in NW Boat Dives and a depth finder, we were easily able to find the pinnacle.
For reference, the pinnacle lies about a mile and a half south of Wawa Point. Although there is supposedly a boat ramp at Wawa Point, none of the locals in Quilcene (the nearest town) seemed to know about it. Therefore, we used the ramp to the north at Point Whitney, which is accessible by turning left on Bee Mill Road off of Highway 101 (south). Follow Bee Mill Road to the very end, where you will find a fisheries building, restrooms, a dock, and a small boat ramp. You might need a 4X4 to get a boat off this ramp at low tide when the ramp is wet. Once you launch you boat, head south to the dive site, which is about three and a half miles from the ramp.
Once you find the pinnacle, anchor on top and make certain to let out a lot of extra anchor line in case your anchor drags. Although the pinnacle is not surrounded by shear walls, a dragging anchor line could easily result in your anchor dangling in mid-water and no boat to return to. It is also very wise to descend on your anchor line and check the anchor's bite when starting your dive. Keep in mind that the winds can really kick up in this area so a good anchor bite on an unattended boat is absolutely critical.
On descent, you will be greeted by spectacular rock formations. Large, rugged protruding rocks and boulders make up the uneven seascape. After we check the anchor's bite, we head off the top of the pinnacle, descend to the desired depth, and circumnavigate the structure. The sides of the pinnacle slope off at about an average 45 degree angle, although there are places where it is steeper for short bursts. We did not have to go below 80 fsw to have a great dive at this site.
Make certain to bring a good light on this dive. There are countless dark holes, cracks, and gaps in and between the rocks to explore - some of them quite large, and all of them serving as potential hide-outs for the plethora of marine creatures that call the pinnacle home. Expect to see some large Lingcod, Copper and Brown Rockfish, Black-eyed Gobies, Squat Lobsters, perch, Painted Greenlings, anemones, sea stars, tons of shrimp, colorful yellow sponges, Red Sea Cucumbers, Burrowing Sea Cucumbers, and an assortment of nudibranchs at this site. In fact, when we dove here in January, I saw more Odner's Dorids than I have seen in all my other dives to date - I must have seen a dozen of them, yellow, pale yellow, and even a few white ones. Anyway, a good light will bring to life all of the vivid color that this reef has to offer.
One great thing about this site is the lack of substantial currents. Like most (but not all) of Hood's Canal, there is not much tidal exchange in Dabob Bay. My experience at this site is that currents were negligible. On the minus side, however, you often get a cold water layer on the surface, as you do at many sites in Hood's Canal. Hood Canal is fed by many rivers from the Olympic Mountains, and the cold water runoff can have a significant effect on the water temp in this area, especially in winter. Although the colder water does not bother me, it does affect some of my friends. If you are lucky enough to be diving dry, you may want to layer up a bit if you are sensitive to the colder water.
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