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Dive Review of The Hideaway at Browning Passage in
Canada/North Vancouver Island

September, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Paul Vitkus, NV, USA
Reviewer   (6 reports)
Report Number 5189
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Roatan, Florida, Indonesia, Truk
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
50   to 51    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
After dive briefing at dive site, you dive you rown plan.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
While there is no dedicated camera area, there is plenty of room to find a
comfortable area to take of your underwater camera gear.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
This is drysuit diving country.  A few brave 7mm souls do dive herem but
the uniform of the day is a drysuit.  This is rugged and rustic diving! 
You come here for the diving, which is spectacular, with amazing macro and
large fish life spread on incredible walls, pinnacles...including Browning
Wall (regarded as one of the top 10 wall dives), 7 Tree Island, Rock of
Life, Croker Rock and Hoody Nudie (nudibranch) bay.  The large tidal
exchanges, create a nutrient rich environment where creatures, small and
large thrive covering virtually every square inch of the underwater
terrain.  Some of the attractions here include wolf eels, giant pacific
octopus, large lings, red irish lords, variety of rockfish species, not to
menton all the well camouflaged little sculpins, including the
odd-appearing grunt sculpin.  I've been diving these waters with the
owner/captain John deBoeck for 20 years now, with many trips (25+) on both
the Clavella (a liveaboard that he no longer operates as a liveaboard) and
the Hideaway...sometimes you see the creatures you want to see and other
times you have to wait till the next trip.
The Hideaway is reached by getting to the northern end of Vancouver Island
at a little town of Port Hardy.  John meets you at a predetermined time at
Ivey's, a local watering hole, with good food and libations.  Afterwhich
you transfer your gear to one of his dive boats and then cruise for about
an hour and half and you arrive at the Hideaway.  The Hideaway is an
eclectic assemblage of cabins that sit on top of a large raft of cedar
logs, and the raft is tethered in Clam Cove (although since clms are
non-existent according to John, must be a mispelling of Calm Cove).  This
is not your traditional dive resort!  Rustic, but homey, with odd bits of
driftwood and ocean artifacts (natural and man-made) gracing the compound.
If you want luxury, entertainment....go elsewhere.  This is I
repeating myself?  Accomodations are basic but acceptable.  Food is simple,
but ample and varied....nobody goes hungry.  You need to bring your own
alcoholic beverages.  No TV, no cell phone service, no telephone, no
internet, no power other than what the generator can provide make this a
rustic retreat from reality.  So why do I keep coming year after year? 
It's the diving, topside scenery, bald eagles, orcas, dolphins.  This trip
we had the late evening opportunity of viewing orcas surfacing all around
us in the Queen Charlotte Straits. It is also an opportunity to have an
opportunity to talk with John de Boeck, who is quite the storyteller,
having 30 years of experience, telling you of things, animals, events,
issues, people that have shaped these northern waters off Vancouver Island.
 John has a great understanding of the how the tides operate, so we can do
diving at periods of slack or low current.  Large tidal exchanges meas that
there are periods that you may have to wait until the currents are
sutiable.  Typically you get 3-4 day dives...although the 4th dive may turn
into a evening into night dive. Tanks (Alum 80's and weights are provided
and most diving is done off of one of two different sized skiffs.  Briefing
at the site, and then you dive (divemasterless), thus you dive your own
plan and are picked up by a "live" boat when you surface, because
of the currents.  While this is diving for the experienced, beginners will
do well.  All will need drysuits. Great large fish and macro diving in a
remote, rustic, relaxing, simple setting!
There is another time zone here...John Zone...he appears and announces
"let's go diving" and with a smile you go!
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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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