Vancouver Island Travel: Scuba Diving in Nanaimo

Outdoor Adventures

Scuba is a great passion, perhaps even a preoccupation in Nanaimo.  There are numerous Dive Shops, and Dive enthusiasts.  Even local artists express their admiration for the activity by creating marine murals on the sides of buildings.  And certainly when all the natural elements add up to an amazing diving experience, as they do in Nanaimo, it’s easy to become a bit preoccupied.

When Jacques Cousteau, the foremost leading authority on all things oceanic labeled the surrounding Nanaimo and Vancouver Island waters “the best temperate water diving in the world, second only to the Red Sea”, scuba divers world-wide headed for this amazing island.

Vancouver Island – Great Weather 365 Days a Year

One of the sweetest things about diving in Nanaimo is that you can do it all year long, any day you choose.  Protected from winds and currents, Nanaimo is blessed with average year-round temperatures of  4°C – 24 °C (40°F -75°F), making it a truly great vacation destination spot for outdoor activities.

You can go fishing or kayaking, do bicycle tours, tackle a hiking trail, go golfing at the nearby Arbutus Ridge or Cowichan Golf and Country Clubs, and of course, you can join the majority of outdoor enthusiasts in a dive.

Diving the Amazing Man-Made Reefs

With the purpose of creating and preserving a marine life community, a series of artificial reefs have been created.  In order to accomplish that, decommissioned and decontaminated ships, buses, trains, and subway cars are intentionally sunk in order to create an undersea-wall, so to speak, that sea-microorganisms like algae, coral, plankton, sponges, etc., can adhere to.  This adhered to structure then attracts oysters and fish, octopuses and eels, and the created sea-life community is born.

Providing  the rainbow colours of amazing sea-life views the following three reefs are 15 minutes from Nanaimo and are not to be missed.  The HMCS Saskatchewan: this naval destroyer has had over 100,000 divers since first sunk in 1997; HMCS Cape Breton: considered a signature dive among the best of them, is the 2nd largest artificial reef in the world; The RivTow: Referred to as an ideal novice diver’s reef, the RivTow yields great underwater pictures for friends and family at about 44’, providing years of memories of an amazing diving adventure.

Let’s Go Snorkeling with the Seals

Snake Island, 5 kilometers (just under 4 miles) from the heart of downtown Nanaimo, is just the place to snorkel with the harbor seals who hang out, just awaiting your arrival.

These amazing and playful fin-footed marine mammals seem to enjoy a good romp – I can hardly wait to join them.  How about you?

Safe Scuba Diving

I’m sure this goes without saying, and yet, I say it anyway:  Follow the standard rules for scuba diving, i.e., don’t leave home without your equipment – dive lights, a compass, a depth gage, and reference lines; boats can appear at any point, and sometimes they don’t announce their arrival so check for boats and other approaching vessels while you are in the water; keep an eye on the weather and watch for changes; get to know local shops and divers and don’t be afraid to ask for information and assistance.

Vancouver Island is one of the friendliest places on earth and its people will be more than happy to guide you towards a safe and amazing dive.

If you’ve been diving or snorkeling in Nanaimo share your experience.

More information about scuba diving in Nanaimo.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Amazing Vancouver Island and a clickable link back to this page.

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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