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

Porthole Charters, Mar, 2008,

by Tom Carlson, WA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 4062.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Cozumel, Florida, Washington
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 43 to 44 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational Limit
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 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Table for camera work, rinse tanks for cameras

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 F.

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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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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