Diving the Pipe at Britannia

Photo: Stephen Pearce

Photo: Stephen Pearce

By Stephen Pearce. Another installment of our series on scuba diving near Vancouver. This time Stephen explores the Pipe at Britannia.

It’s a hard dive spot to miss…

On the shores of Britannia beach a large sentinel looks over the water. It’s a piece of driftwood, crafted in the shape of a face by local carver Ryan Cook.

And in front of it, just under the water’s surface, is a large outflow pipe that extends in a southwest direction for at least several hundred meters. I say “at least” because after a couple of dives we still haven’t found the end.

And it’s not air consumption that’s the problem but depth…we bottomed out at 40 meters and then had to start our ascent to avoid going into decompression.

But there is a lot to see at any depth…

Photo: Stephen Pearce

Photo: Stephen Pearce

The pipe has become an artificial reef; sheltering its inhabitants from the effects of tides, currents and possible predators.  Colonies of sea urchins, colourful anemones, starfish, crab, fish and octopus all call the pipe home. And both flora and fauna change with depth which makes it all the more interesting.

Check it out on a regular basis. Each year the population is only going to get denser and more diverse.

And finding the dive site couldn’t be any easier. ..Thank you Ryan!

The easiest route from Vancouver is to exit at the Galileo Coffee Shop, grab a coffee and homemade baking (for your surface interval between dives J), exit going south back to Vancouver and park adjacent to a billboard, just about half a kilometer down the Sea to Sky Highway. The path through the brush to the water is by the edge of the billboard.

You can suit up down by the water or assemble your gear by the car and then take the short walk down the path to the beach. You do have to cross a train track so be careful and don’t wear your hood until you get to the water. Entry is easy.

To find additional information about Britannia Beach, check out www.tourismsquamish.com/attractions/britannia-beach

Photo: Stephen Pearce

Photo: Stephen Pearce

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