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Dive Review of Porthole Charters in
The Continental USA/Puget Sound, Washington State

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Tom Carlson, WA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 4062
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, Cozumel, Florida, Washington
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, no currents  
Water Temp
43   to 44    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Recreational Limit  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Table for camera work, rinse tanks for cameras
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
1 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was an excellent trip on a brand new dive boat operated by Captain
Mike Fergeson of Porthole Charters. The boat was the Mark V, a 41 aluminum
catamaran that comfortably carries 14 divers. The Mark V has a covered back
deck, special rinse tank for cameras and one for masks, a head with hot
water shower off the back deck, and two stern mounted dive ladders for easy
exits. This is a plus for Puget Sound divers; the boat is equipped with an
on board compressor that is Nitrox ready, which means you only need to
bring one tank! This provided us with quick, excellent fills between sites.
The boat has a good-sized heated lounge with a full galley, and ample table
space for eating, filling out log-books or camera work.  The Mark V
provides a fast and stable dive platform and the skipper and crew are
superb. This is a nice dive boat! 

Out first dive was at Blakely Rock off Bainbridge Island (west of Seattle,
WA). Only a small portion of Blakely Rock breaks the surface, like the tip
of an iceberg, and it is popular spot for Harbor Seals to haul out and Bald
Eagles to rest. We descended an anchored buoy to about 70ft depth and
encountered the base of China Wall, which is an approximately 20ft high
rock structure, which is about 150ft in length, and the depths range from
60-100 feet, depending on the tide.  The wall is full of cracks, pockets
and small caves which provide excellent habitat for a variety of Puget
Sound creatures. We encountered Lingcod up to 4ft long, big Cabezon,
Quillback Rockfish, along with Copper and Brown Rockfish. We also saw many
Painted and Kelp Greenling, Decorator Crabs, Sunflower Stars, Welk Snails
and eggs, four different types of Nudibranchs and lots of larva in the
water. We had a max depth of 93ft on this dive for a max bottom time of 50
minutes. The viz was decent for here, about 30ft and the water 44 degrees

We surfaced for a live pick up and were back on the boat in no time and had
unzipped dry suits, sitting in the galley having hot chocolate, coffee and
snacks. The crew made quick work of filling out tanks as we took a surface
interval, and filled out dive logs and swapped stories. Then we geared up
for out next dive which just off the southeast side of Blakely Rock. 

Blakely Rock gets deep quickly on the east side and can be current
intensive on tidal exchanges so one needs to be careful here. Due to
potential current and depth, this is a site for more experienced divers. We
kept our dive to 75ft max depth for a 50 minute bottom time. Visibility on
this side of the rock was a little better, maybe up to 40 ft at times and
we hit water at slack so there was very little current. On this dive we saw
more big Lingcod, Kelp Greenling, and found two Wolf Eels in a den. We
tried to coax them out but they didnt seem interested.  We saw lots of
encrusting yellow sponges, many more nudibranchs, cushion starfish,
sunflower stars, other stars, and sea cucumbers as well as Moss head, and
Decorated Warbonnets, Longfin and Buffalo Sculpins, Scallops, and a couple
Red Irish Lords. We saw plenty of evidence of the presence of Giant Pacific
Octopus but didnt find any this day. We surfaced for a live pickup and
were back in the heated cabin in no time with hot soup and bread in hand! 
This was some classic Puget Sound diving on a great new boat!
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