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Scuba Diving in Gwaii Haanas

Diving in kelp forests of Gwaii Haanas Diving in kelp forests of Gwaii Haanas
© Parks Canada / Mark Hiebert

Gwaii Haanas offers spectacular diving opportunities in one of the most pristine and sacred destinations in the world. The ocean is teeming with life, as sea creatures forage for food in wildly abundant, intact ecosystems.

Spring is peak season for diving in Gwaii Haanas. Underwater visibility is excellent, with the benefit of northern sunlight, until 11 pm.

Where to Dive
  • Burnaby Narrows

    During high tides you have a perfect opportunity to drift dive through Burnaby Narrows, one of the highest and most amazing concentrations of intertidal life recorded anywhere in the world. Tidal action pushes seawater through a winding channel that is just 50 metres (164 feet) wide. This provides a nearly constant stream of plankton and nutrients to the organisms living there. A kaleidoscope of bat stars, turban snails, sunflower stars, clams, and many other creatures comprise this colourful slice of marine life. Floating through the Narrows allows you to appreciate and experience these creatures without endangering them.

  • Murchison Faraday

    A beautiful dive destination near Hotspring Island, the Murchison-Faraday Passage harbours a high current habitat on numerous underwater reefs and rocky outcrops.
    Reefs are covered in meadows of turkish-towels, kelp forests and sea lettuce. Invertebrate life is rich with orange cup corals, blue top snails, red anemones, sea cucumbers, striped surfperch and sculpins in abundance.

  • Houston Stewart Channel

    A sheltered, high-current area, Houston Stewart Channel is home to a variety of marine invertebrates, such as lobed and stalked tunicates, orange-peel nudibranches, plumose anemones, along with numerous blue and black rockfish - but it's the topography of this site that makes it such a dramatic dive!

Safety

Diving in many places in Gwaii Haanas is suitable for experienced divers only. Watch out for high tidal exchanges and high current areas. Large swells are concentrated in shallow areas, surge channels, and narrow passages.

All divers should be familiar with west-coast ocean and weather conditions. Due to potentially hazardous conditions and unfamiliarity with the area, it is suggested that you dive with Gwaii Haanas licensed dive charter companies, who know the sites well and are in the field frequently enough to be up-to-date on conditions, visibility and the seasonal distribution of marine life.

"See giant kelp forests, stellar sea lions, giant pacific octopus, wolf-eels, crazy beautiful invertebrate life. We call this cold-water adventure and diving at its best."

Nautilus Swell, Tour Operator