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Dive Review of Bandito Charters in
The Continental USA/Puget Sound, WA

Bandito Charters, Jan, 2008,

by Tom Carlson, WA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 3806.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 42 to 45 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 10 to 15 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments rinse tank and tables in galley

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Captain Rick Myers, RJ was the DM/deckhand, boat was the Sampan, a 43 14 passenger dive boat. The boat is Coast Guard Inspected with all the equipment required by the Coast Guard for a vessel of that size on the inland waters of Puget Sound. The Sampan is equipped with an Oxygen kit for dive emergencies. This is a wet boat - you can wear your exposure suit throughout. There is a cook stove with hot water for coffee, tea, etc, stuff for sandwiches, water and other snacks in the heated galley. There are tables for camera work and a rinse bucket on the deck. Entry is by giant stride off the port side. Captain Rick knows all the dive sites and conditions very well and can recommend sites based on your groups abilities, changing weather and tidal conditions. Bandito Charters operates year-round with charters running every weekend. They also have several other boats.
We began a twilight drift dive that quickly turned into a night dive at North Wall, Point Defiance, Tacoma. The wall is a sedimentary formation that extends well over 100 yards in length and reaches depths to over 100 ft with the 30-70ft range being optimum for seeing marine life and extended bottom time. Formed in a series of stair-steps, the wall itself resembles a giant slab of Swiss cheese as it is full of tens-of-thousands of fist-size diameter holes that have been bored by Piddock Clams over the years. Once the clam is gone a hole is left where any number of smaller creatures may be found. This habitat enables high-biotic diversity in the marine organisms found there. There are numerous ledges, overhangs and caves of varying sizes along the length of this wall. Due to the strong currents sweeping the area there is a minimum of kelps but an abundance of giant Plumose anenomes.
Drifting along the wall and examining the holes, crevices, caves and overhangs revealed Decorated Warbonnets, Mosshead Warbonnets, Grunt Sculpins, Sailfin Sculpins, Saddleback Gunnels, Clingfish and several huge Wolf Eels and Giant Pacific Octopus along with the biggest Dock Shrimp I've ever seen. We found smaller Red Octopus out hunting some of these shrimp! There were schools of Striped Sea Perch, Pile Perch, roving Brown and Copper Rockfish, Painted and Kelp Greenling and some very large Lingcod present as well as several Red Irish Lords and Buffalo Sculpins.
The site is located on the east side of the Tacoma Narrows at the tip of Point Defiance. This area is subjected to some extreme currents. On flooding currents, most of the incoming current flows by Point Defiance and misses this wall. On the ebb, this area takes the full brunt of the current. Therefore, it is advised to never dive this site on ebbing currents. If you are diving this site on a flooding current, you will notice that current in this area actually flows the opposite direction (towards Point Defiance) of the current in the Narrows (away from Point Defiance). This is because the current rushing by Point Defiance creates a back-eddy where the wall is located. Currents and depth make this a dive for more experienced divers. Puget Sound diving is cold-water diving and dry suits are advised during winter months.
This was an awesome site to dive and an excellent boat and captain to go dive with.
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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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