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Dive Review of Porpoise Bay Charters/Strong Water Retreat in
Canada/British Columbia

Porpoise Bay Charters/Strong Water Retreat, Aug, 2013,

by Paul Selden, MI, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7183.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The chief attraction for us (me a diver and my wife a non-diver) to Egmont BC was a combination of unique diving opportunities for me, the chance to hike in a safe environment for my non-diving wife, and the novelty of staying in a yurt overlooking the beautiful, fiord-like scenery on the “Sunshine” Coast of British Columbia. This part of Canada has the advantage of being cool, but not cold, when the Midwest is sweltering and steamy. Plus, we were able to leave from Michigan in the morning and arrived in time for a late dinner (via Vancouver, two brief ferry rides, and a fair amount of scenic driving). Noteworthy diving experiences while timing the slack tides, were many. I dove to 142 feet while exploring the cloud sponges of Agamemnon, visited the wreck of the destroyer HMCS Chaudiere, and felt the tugs of the sometimes deadly, whirlpool-filled Skookumchuck (Sechelt) Rapids while exploring the shallower, sheltered bay at Skookum Reef. Although this is drysuit territory, surprisingly, the water temps were not much different from our local lakes. To satisfy my hobby of underwater photography, I found a fair representation of sea life often found in the Pacific Northwest (e.g., nudibranch, anemone, crab, rockfish, kelp). More unusual sightings included diving on near vertical walls of pink granite at Jaggy Crack, where each new face seemed to be covered with tens of thousands of different species of urchin, and the pale yellow and white cloud sponges that only inhabited depths below 90 feet or so. Both settings created a feeling of unworldliness that I rarely get these days while diving. Accommodations on Kal Helyar’s enclosed 36 foot Raider Super Punt were neatly arranged, with room for up to 14 divers. Between the fun and friendly “Depth Chargers” dive club members from Puget Sound and the local divers who occasionally dove, I always had an experienced dive buddy. Kal let us dive our own profiles and managed to hide his impatience pretty well when I was nudging the limits of his suggested bottom times from his well-filled 80’s. His gear drying room was cleverly arranged to capture the heat from his compressor, so undergarments were always dry at the beginning of the day. Kal and his wife Ann Beardsell usually open their Strong Water Retreat on the weekends, but he figured things out so that we could arrive on a Thursday and stay until the following Wednesday, in a package that included all dives and meals (BYOB). Our round, tent-like yurt was very roomy and clean. It sported two queen beds, a sofa, dresser, with table, chairs and plenty of outlets with electricity 24x7 for my camera gear. An easy to open skylight added to the feeling of being outdoors. The smaller yurts housing the separate washroom and shower areas were nearby, and did not pose a problem either with privacy or availability. Prices were extremely reasonable.
Websites Porpoise Bay Charters   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Florida, Vancouver Island, California, St. Vincent, St.
Lucia, Galapagos, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Utila, Roatan,
Andros, Belize, Playa del Carmen, Ceynotes-Akumal, Dominica, Holbox
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas currents
Water Temp 51-59°F / 11-15°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 10-50 Ft/ 3-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Owner strongly suggested reasonable time limits based on need to hit periods of slack tide during multiple dives per day. Kal is an accomplished technical diver with extensive local knowledge; he offered excellent advice and briefings.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Ample space to set up cameras and charge batteries.
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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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