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

January, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Tom Carlson, WA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 3806
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Mexico, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
42   to 45    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 15    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
rinse tank and tables in galley
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
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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