Serving Up Vancouver Lightly Chilled…

The following article was submitted by Tourism Vancouver’s resident dive enthusiast, Stephen Pearce, and Vice President, Marketing.

In late September, I had an opportunity to host Ms. Jing Xu, also known as Layla, for her first ever cold-water dive in Canada. Layla is a self-described travel junkie who shares her global adventures on social media in China with 4.5 million passionate fans.

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Serving Up Vancouver Lightly Chilled…

Defence Islands

Photo: Sea Kayak Association of BC

Porteau Cove, Photo: Sea Kayak Association of BC

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on scuba diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen explores Defence Islands.

SpongeBob’s ultimate fantasy…

Imagine soaring over ivory towers, parapets, walls and cities – majestic, beautiful, awe inspiring – and all made entirely out of delicate sponges!

Welcome to the stunningly beautiful underwater landscape of Defence Islands.

Defence Islands are two small islands in Howe Sound easily seen on the far horizon from Porteau Cove on the Sea to Sky Highway. Both are under the administration of the Squamish Nation. And both are only accessible by boat.

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Defence Islands

Britannia Reprise – Diving the CGC Ready

Scuba Diving around Vancouver

Britannia Beach – Photo: iwona_kellie | Flickr

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on scuba diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen explores the Coast Guard Canada ship CGC Ready.

Coffee and carbs – the breakfast of champions…and scuba divers.

Our return to Britannia Beach began with a happy return to the Galileo Coffee Company. We were plotting where we were going to enter the water to explore our new target – the Coast Guard Canada ship CGC Ready.

The CGC Ready was a search and rescue ship built in North Vancouver in 1963. It was acquired by the Maritime Heritage Society and relocated to Britannia Beach, near Squamish, BC. On January 17, 2011, it sank under mysterious circumstances, coming to rest on her starboard side in shallow water, less than 30 meters from the dock to which she was tied.

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Britannia Reprise – Diving the CGC Ready

Diving in Plumose Gardens at Whytecliff Park near Vancouver

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen visits Plumose Gardens at Whytecliff Park.

A short tour of the plumose gardens at Whytecliff Park near Vancouver. Entry/exit was via the Cut. Maximum depth was 85 feet (26 meters) at low tide. Features include Tanner crab, lingcod, kelp greenling and several memorials. The male Tanner crab carries the female in his claw prior to moulting and mating.

Hunting for Octopus at Porteau Cove


By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen checks out the octopuses at Porteau Cove.

No skeleton, perfect camouflage skills and high intelligence is already an interesting combination. Add in eight arms, three hearts, and a weight of up to 600 pounds (272 kg) and you have something truly extraordinary.

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus in the world. It can have an arm span up to 30 feet (9 m) and a mantle 8 inches (20 cm) in width. It’s one of the treasures of the west coast and finding one is a special treat that’s sure to turn any dive into a great dive.

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Hunting for Octopus at Porteau Cove

Diving for Clouds at the Cut

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen visits Whytecliff Park.

“And shades of deep-embattled clouds were seen,
Spotting the northern cliffs with lights between…
                 “An Evening Walk”, W. Wordsworth: 1793

When William Wordsworth penned those lines to his sister, he probably wasn’t thinking about diving for cloud sponges in British Columbia. Yet, with a little luck, recreational scuba divers can discover fluffy “clouds” of sponges in colours of snowy white, ivory and pale orange that hug the underwater cliffs.
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Diving for Clouds at the Cut

The Wreck of the Nakaya

Copper Rockfish

Copper Rockfish

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen visits the wreck of the Nakaya.

Pale, ghostly, it appears suddenly in the darkness. The Nakaya – a confusion of wood and metal, shards of white paint, timbers sharp and menacing like dragon’s teeth.

It started life as the USS YMS-420 – a minesweeper – commissioned by the US Navy and built for service during WW II. In the 1950’s it was purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy and renamed the HMCS Cordova before being acquired by Harbour Ferries Ltd. of Vancouver. It was there that it was renamed the Nakaya – and that was the name it still held when it slipped beneath the waves at Porteau to become one of British Columbia’s first artificial reefs.

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The Wreck of the Nakaya