Scuba diving near Victoria

by admin on October 31, 2011

scuba diving near victoriaIf you’re looking for places to scuba dive near Victoria, Sidney is the place to be. While many people travel to Mexico, Thailand or even Australia in the winter to go diving, it’s a little-known secret that the waters off the Saanich Peninsula are a diver’s paradise at any time of the year.

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney is a great introduction to local undersea wildlife.

There are several dives quite close to the Cedarwood, including a shore dive at Sidney Pier, about a block away from our hotel. Here’s a short list of boat dives:

  1. Arbutus Island
  2. The G.B. Church
  3. Imrie Island
  4. Joan Rock
  5. Arachnie Reef
  6. Forest Island
  7. Grahams Wall
  8. Rubly Island
  9. North Cod Reef
  10. The McKenzie
  11. Sidney Spit

Here’s another list of more popular dive sites near Sidney BC.  There are also a number of scuba shops in Sidney and downtown Victoria, and many provide instruction leading up to PADI certification.

Notably, the G.B. Church and the HMCS MacKenzie are two sunken diving reefs accessible by boat from the Sidney waterfront. Both sunken ships provide the opportunity to encounter local wildlife – keep an eye out for nesting lingcod, rockfish, swimming scallops and other filter-feeding animals.

On the other side of the Saanich Peninsula (quite close to Victoria international airport, or YYJ) there are a number of great dives to be found in Saanich Inlet. According to the always awesome Vancouver Island resource

Although diving is good year round, during the winter months you can enjoy several excellent boat dives in Saanich Inlet with crystal clear visibility. At Senanus Island you can find great colonies of cloud sponge at 21-27 meters (70-90 feet). At times the clusters of sponge seem to dwarf a buddy! Looking carefully in the openings of the sponge, you might find small rockfish or crabs partially hidden and peering out. Saanich Inlet also has some impressive wall diving and reefs excellent for macro or close-up photography. Small kelp and decorator crabs, nudibranchs, shrimp and anemones are also easy to find at most locations. Playful seals can be found at Repulse Rock and the snorkeling is good year round at just about any site.

So Sidney really is a spot for winter diving near Victoria BC. Spending the winter in Sidney is cheaper than heading overseas, and a lot more convenient. Want to alternate you winter scuba diving with something above water? Go golfiing in February. Want to do some cross-training? Go for a run through the snowdrops in early March. Want to skiing? Drive up to Mount Washington and check out numerous other dive spots along the way.

Sidney is the ultimate winter playground – if you happen to hate snow! Scuba diving near Victoria has never been better.