Visibility can vary. Some dive sites are virtually always free of plankton blooms and the visibility ranges in 8 - 25 meters. Plankton blooms may affect other sites in which case visibility may be low on the surface but will be always very good underneath (10 - 25 meters). Note that low viz is because of massive upwelling of nutrients which sets out a vast profusion of marine life and that's exactly what makes this place so special. Current can be very strong but dives will only be staged during the slack tide. Current may still run at 1 - 2 knots around slack. All diving is done from a jet- (no props) powered skiff. Water temperature is usually 8 - 9 degrees Celsius, sometimes warmer.
Suitable for all divers with good buoyancy skills and drysuit experience. No problem if you are new to a drysuit as long as you take a training course before joining the ship. One of our divemasters will be pleased to accompany any diver looking for a wee bit of assistance. Diving is easily handled from a high-speed 38-foot dive skiff and most sites are within only 3-4 minutes ride. A good dive light is recommended on all dives.
The Swell operates in the sheltered and calm Inside Passage of B.C. and Alaska. The Nautilus Swell has an impressive draft of 11 feet which makes for a very stable and comfortable ride. Most ships of this size draw 5 – 6 feet. The ship will often go for an entire trip without experiencing any uncomfortable movements.
What We Say About British Columbia
B.C. diving offers some of the best cold water diving in the world. Incredible colour. Amazing diversity of life. Giant pacific octopus. Wolf-eels. Nudibranchs galore. Giant kelp forests. Vertical walls so densely covered in life that there isn’t even a square inch in which you can touch the wall. It’s no wonder that this was ranked as the best diving in the North America 3 years in a row by Rodale’s. This is heaven for those who appreciate and enjoy the challenge of dry-suit diving.
Why Book On The Nautilus Swell
Well, it’s the only liveaboard dive boat operating in British Columbia. But there is more to it than that. The Nautilus Swell is the latest in a long range of dive boats owned and operated by Captain Mike Lever going back 19 years to the early days of liveaboard diving in B.C.. This is the perfect choice if you want to be sure that all your expectations will be met whether it is the experience required to get you onto the right dive site at the right “slack”, the quality and suitability of the vessel itself or a world-class crew famous for excellence in guest services.
Most B.C. trips are 8 days // 7 nights. Dives are planned around the slack tides which usually limits us to 3 dives per day plus the odd night dive.. Diving and itinerary is subject to the Captain’s discretion but you can bet that we will do our absolute best to maximize your satisfaction.
Here is a sample itinerary of a 7 night trip.Day 1: Evening board in Port Hardy. Depart for Shushartie Bay
Day 2: Shushartie Bay and reposition to Browning Pass late afternoon
Day 3: Browning Pass
Day 4: Deserter Group
Day 5: Seymour Inlet and Nakwakto (depending on tides and group experience)
Day 6: Stubbs Island
Day 7: Pearse Islands
Day 8: Disembark in Port Hardy in AM
Please note: Hakai Pass, Smith Inlet, Queen Charlotte Islands, Transpac or Campbell River are available by request on a whole boat charter.
How To Get Here
Trips typically board in Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island. Gateway cities are Vancouver, Victoria or Seattle with connection by ferry or local air carrier. Term car rentals are very affordable and highly recommended especially for those with a bit of time and the desire to explore Vancouver Island on the way to Port Hardy. Andy and Virginia Lamb at Cedar Beach Resort offer a wonderful pre-trip add-on package to get familiarized with diving in British Columbia. The Swell will be available for boarding at 6:00pm on day of departure and returns to Port Hardy at 8 a.m. on the last day of your adventure.