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Dive Review of Porpoise Bay Charters/Strongwater Retreat in
Canada/Sechelt Inlet

August, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Mr. Peter Telkins, OR, US (1 report)
Report Number 6662
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Great Lakes, FL Keys, CA coast, OR coast, WA coast, Cozumel, Caymans, Bay
Islands, Philippines, Red Sea, Nanaimo BC, HI Islands, Palau, Chuuk, Flower
Garden Banks, Revillagigedos, Fiji
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy, dry  
calm, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
50   to 54    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Camera buckets provided on dive boat as needed. Picnic tables and large
tables in rooms are fine for setup, maintenance, charging. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Porpoise Bay Charters and Strongwater Retreat are a small diving operation
based just outside Egmont, BC. Getting to Egmont typically involves a ferry
ride out of Vancouver Canada if driving, but seaplane access from Vancouver
is also possible. It's fairly remote, and a beautiful wooded fjord area.
Bring everything you think you'll need as Egmont is a tiny town with very
limited shops.
Cal and Ann, the owners/operators, are a great team that outdo themselves
with quality cold water diving and hospitality. Cal is a highly experienced
waterman who's expert local knowledge makes diving the Sechelt Inlet
possible, as the Skookumchuck Narrows has the 2nd-greatest tidal currents
in the world second only to Norway. The tidal exchange brings in the rich
nutrients that make the Sechelt Inlet so special, but can generate
dangerous currents so a dive operator must know the local conditions VERY
well to safely dive the area and find sites that have the best vis. Vis can
vary immensely from site to site and hour to hour, and Cal knows the area
so well that he can change a site last minute to seek out the best possible
conditions. Cal in fact has 'founded' many of the local dive sites.
Dives are conducted as live-boat drifts, and most diving is conducted at
near-slack tides in order to best enjoy the underwater scenery. We did
manage as much as a 2-knot drift on one dive, but it's up to the group to
decide how much current they want to dive. It's also possible to get very
deep very fast on some of the walls; the inlet itself is thousands of feet
deep. Good buoyancy skills and comfort in cold water gear is mandatory to
enjoy the area. Drysuits are a really good idea, as water is typically in
the low 50s and 3 dives a day are possible. Cal has lots of large HP steel
tanks, but divers not bringing their own lead should set this up in
advance. The custom aluminum dive boats have plenty of elbow room for
gearing up, and feature great ladders (which makes a big difference when
re-boarding in cumbersome cold water gear).
The Strongwater Retreat is a mix of cabins and (very nice) yurts, and can
sleep up to 14 guests. Three hot meals are served daily buffet-style; food
was delicious and plentiful. Cal typically returns to the resort between
dives, allowing the opportunity to recharge divers and their camera gear.
There are rinse tanks, a gear drying hut, a hot tub, and lots of hot water
for showers.
This was my second trip to the Sechelt Inlet diving with Porpoise Bay, and
it certainly won't be my last. The sheer amount of life that the rich, cold
tidal currents support is nothing short of spectacular.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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