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Dive Review of The Hideaway at Browning Passage in
Canada/North Vancouver Island

The Hideaway at Browning Passage, Sep, 2009,

by Paul Vitkus, NV, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 5189.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This is drysuit diving country. A few brave 7mm souls do dive herem but the uniform of the day is a drysuit. This is rugged and rustic diving! You come here for the diving, which is spectacular, with amazing macro and large fish life spread on incredible walls, pinnacles...including Browning Wall (regarded as one of the top 10 wall dives), 7 Tree Island, Rock of Life, Croker Rock and Hoody Nudie (nudibranch) bay. The large tidal exchanges, create a nutrient rich environment where creatures, small and large thrive covering virtually every square inch of the underwater terrain. Some of the attractions here include wolf eels, giant pacific octopus, large lings, red irish lords, variety of rockfish species, not to menton all the well camouflaged little sculpins, including the odd-appearing grunt sculpin. I've been diving these waters with the owner/captain John deBoeck for 20 years now, with many trips (25+) on both the Clavella (a liveaboard that he no longer operates as a liveaboard) and the Hideaway...sometimes you see the creatures you want to see and other times you have to wait till the next trip.
The Hideaway is reached by getting to the northern end of Vancouver Island at a little town of Port Hardy. John meets you at a predetermined time at Ivey's, a local watering hole, with good food and libations. Afterwhich you transfer your gear to one of his dive boats and then cruise for about an hour and half and you arrive at the Hideaway. The Hideaway is an eclectic assemblage of cabins that sit on top of a large raft of cedar logs, and the raft is tethered in Clam Cove (although since clms are non-existent according to John, must be a mispelling of Calm Cove). This is not your traditional dive resort! Rustic, but homey, with odd bits of driftwood and ocean artifacts (natural and man-made) gracing the compound. If you want luxury, entertainment....go elsewhere. This is I repeating myself? Accomodations are basic but acceptable. Food is simple, but ample and varied....nobody goes hungry. You need to bring your own alcoholic beverages. No TV, no cell phone service, no telephone, no internet, no power other than what the generator can provide make this a rustic retreat from reality. So why do I keep coming year after year? It's the diving, topside scenery, bald eagles, orcas, dolphins. This trip we had the late evening opportunity of viewing orcas surfacing all around us in the Queen Charlotte Straits. It is also an opportunity to have an opportunity to talk with John de Boeck, who is quite the storyteller, having 30 years of experience, telling you of things, animals, events, issues, people that have shaped these northern waters off Vancouver Island. John has a great understanding of the how the tides operate, so we can do diving at periods of slack or low current. Large tidal exchanges meas that there are periods that you may have to wait until the currents are sutiable. Typically you get 3-4 day dives...although the 4th dive may turn into a evening into night dive. Tanks (Alum 80's and weights are provided and most diving is done off of one of two different sized skiffs. Briefing at the site, and then you dive (divemasterless), thus you dive your own plan and are picked up by a "live" boat when you surface, because of the currents. While this is diving for the experienced, beginners will do well. All will need drysuits. Great large fish and macro diving in a remote, rustic, relaxing, simple setting!
There is another time zone here...John Zone...he appears and announces "let's go diving" and with a smile you go!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Roatan, Florida, Indonesia, Truk
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 50-51°F / 10-11°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 25-50 Ft/ 8-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions After dive briefing at dive site, you dive you rown plan.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales > 2
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments While there is no dedicated camera area, there is plenty of room to find a comfortable area to take of your underwater camera gear.
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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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