Browning Pass Hideaway - The Legend of Diving in British Columbia

Legendary British Columbia diving in Port Hardy at the Browning Pass Hideaway - photo courtesy of vancouverIslanddive.comThe Browning Pass Hideaway Legend says that the diving in the area 15 miles northwest of Port Hardy has some of the absolute best diving in the world.

In fact, according to the Legend, this area has the absolute "BEST cold water diving in the known universe!!"

The Legend goes on to state you will see larger and more marine life than anywhere else - marine life on top of marine life on top of marine life, with not a spare piece of bare rock in site.

And nobody is going to argue with the Legend, because the Legend is big, strong, knows the local waters like the back of his hand, is powerful and dive-smart, and has been exploring and placing divers in the best spots at the best times for over 30 years!

Photo (above) of Browning Wall courtesy of Darryl Leniuk.

You can now even take Port Hardy PADI dive certifications and upgrades while you are here too, which is great since many dives in this area have made our list as one of Vancouver Island's Best dive sites.

Read our recent Browning Pass Review here - what an amazing scuba diving vacation we had!

To book an amazing Port Hardy & Nakwakto Rapids adventure, fill in the form below and John DeBoeck or cooldives staff will be in touch...





So what or who is this legend you ask?

And why was he featured in the OLN series 'Descending' which highlighted the amazing Emerald Sea diving.

The Legend of Browning Pass Hideaway is none other than John De Boeck, a legend in the British Columbia dive industry.

John was formerly with the liveaboard dive vessel ‘Clavella’, and is now the owner/operator of the infamous floating scuba diving lodge known as the Browning Pass Hideaway.

He is as famous for leading divers to the perfect dive location at the perfect time, as Port Hardy is famous for getting explorers like Jacques Cousteau excited about how fantastic the cool-water diving in British Columbia is.

The Browning Pass Hideaway near Port Hardy, British Columbia

The rustic Browning Pass Hideaway near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island - photo courtesy of Vancouver Islanddive.comSituated just minutes away from the world-famous Browning Pass wall dive site and 7 Tree Island, the Browning Pass Hideaway is also legendary.

Legendary for the amazing home-style food, scenery, wildlife, camaraderie, and the quantity and quality of amazing dives you’ll experience.





According to John Rawlings of Advanced Diver Magazine, "I have dived all over the northwest, all over the Caribbean, all over both coasts of Mexico and Central America, in Thailand, in West Malaysia and the Sea of Japan.....I have never, NEVER, NEVER seen anything that would rival the dive sites that we hit this week. I now have a new "favorite spot in the world" to dive, and it's right here in our little corner of the world."

Their goal is to provide incredible diving and a comfy place to rest before your next amazing set of dives, and they have succeeded.

The rustic Browning Pass Hideaway near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island - photo courtesy of Vancouver Islanddive.comDivers and non-divers alike could choose the comfort of the "HideAway" cottage, with a cozy woodstove and scenic view; the "Bunkhouse" with its large comfortable lounge and fireplace , and the rustic and intimate "Trapper Cabin".

These floating units together with docks and other buildings make up the infamous "HideAway Resort”, which can easily accommodate individuals, couples and small groups in the privacy of one of the units, and larger groups can use multiple units.

That was until 2012 however, with the completion of their new Hideaway addition at the Browning Pass Hideaway dive lodge.

The renovated Browning Pass Hideaway new addition near Port HardyThe Browning Pass diving's new accommodations building is a big improvement from the old bunkhouses.

Each new 2-person room has either 2 single beds or a queen bed, a private bathroom with shower, sink & toilet, plus as an added bonus it has individually controlled heat!

No tv, no internet, no phone, generator power until 11 pm each night, no pampering.

But you will share an amazing experience with friends you came with or the new friends you just met.

And with the amazing 3-5 dives per day, ocean kayaking tours, hiking, wildlife viewing and boating eco-tours, beach combing, forest hikes, potential First Nations tours, and with the use of kayaks, canoes and row boats in your rest time, who needs anything else?

The color at Browning Pass dive site near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island - photo courtesy of Bob the Grateful Diver BaileyThe resort is extremely popular and books up well in advance of the prime diving months (which is almost year-round up in this area), with many options being available….

A number of dive groups, clubs and dive shops purchase certain weeks year after year, but sometimes extra spaces are available if you’d like to join in.

Some weeks are currently open, but fill up fast with smaller groups and individuals.


You can purchase all-inclusive Port Hardy dive packages (with air or nitrox, food, accommodation, non-alcoholic drinks, healthy snacks, weights, etc), or can customize your dive or eco-adventure vacation to suit your needs by just renting the cabins or lodge or booking it hostel or B&B style – they are very flexible.

Orca whales at Browning Pass dive site near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island - photo courtesy of Bob the Grateful Diver BaileyKayakers, film companies, marine and nature photographers, and eco-tourists from around the world flock to this dive destination resort, but the diving is legendary.

If there are a few days, a week, or even longer that you want to stay in this diver’s paradise, let us know what and when you’re looking to stay at the Browning Pass Hideaway and we’ll check the rates and availability for you.

The Diving at Browning Pass on Vancouver Island

The diving at Browning Pass Hideaway is legendary!

North Wall at Browning Pass near Port Hardy - photo by John Rawlings of ADM magazine At the surface, depending on the season, you will experience our incredibly diverse wildlife and may spot, orca, humpback, grey and/or minke whales, Dall’s, white-sided and/or harbour porpoises, sea otters, stellar and/or California Sealions, harbour and/or elephant seals, and many more varieties of wildlife.

The visibility in the Port Hardy area is from 50 to 100 feet in March, April, and September to December, and ranges from 20 to 70 feet in the warmer months of May through August.

The water temperature around Browning Pass is between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius (43-50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the good visibility months, and 6-12 degrees Celcius (45-54 degrees Fahrenheit) in the warmer months.

A few of the possible dive sites you might experience include 7-Tree Island, Browning Pass Wall, Hunt Rock, 7 Tree Island, and of course the legendary Nakwakto Rapids.

Some divers use a wetsuit, but given the temperatures and the number of dives you experience per day (3-5) a drysuit is recommended.

new dive boat at the Browning Pass Hideaway Besides mentioning the area’s famous Giant Pacific Octopus and the friendly wolf eels, there are too many other things to see that I won’t list them here.

Given the strong tides and currents though, you will want to be guided by an expert like John De Boeck who can time the slack tide like no other.

If you’re curious, and you will be, have a look at one of the many dive reviews that have been posted.

The Browning Pass Hideaway is truly considered to be the home of the "best cool water diving in the known universe."

Contact us for more information about the Browning Pass Hideaway to book your space(s) now.




Diving is what they do best at Browning Pass Hideaway - it is what they are famous for.

Fully experienced and equipped kayak groups, and whale watching or photography groups of between 8-10 people can hire the facilities and services of John and his crew in summer months subject to availability....complete and submit the form below for more information.

Browning Pass Hideaway

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World class diving, meals & accommodation package
PADI Dive courses and upgrades
Kayaking, wildlife viewing or photography packages
Accommodation only

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CoolDives Reviews of Browning Pass Hideaway Diving

These dive reviews were submitted by CoolDives viewers and are also listed on our dive reviews page.

Please send along your experience to as as well.


Name: Valerie

State/Prov: WA

Country: United States

What are you reviewing?: Dive Charter Operator

Name(s): Browning Pass Hideaway

Rating: 4 Stars (Great!)

Details (please explain why): Fantastic diving, as good or better than any warm water destination. Walls so full of life that you can not touch a finger down for fear of touching something. Color, color and more color. Topside attractions include humpback whales, seals, bald eagle, deer at the water's edge. And, most dive sites are literally minutes away, which makes everything close and easily accessible.

All meals are included at the Hideaway, and if you go hungry, it's your own fault. John DeBoeck's meals are mouth-watering and filling, and the post-prandial time is taken up with conversation of diving, natural history, and history of the area.

You won't find a better guide for this area; John knows these waters like the back of his hand.

The Hideaway is just that, a rustic escape from the city with a quiet that is almost deafening in it's intensity. If you want complete peace and spectacular, world class diving, this is the place to come to.





Name: Erin

State/Prov: WA

Country: United States

What are you reviewing?: Dive Charter Operator

Name(s): Browning Pass HideAway

Rating: 5 Stars (Fantastic!!)

Details (please explain why): John deBoeck's Hideaway is the most superb resort I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Mind you, the resort is floating!!!

Along with the warm meals, three dives a day, and hot showers comes great company.

John is so knowledgeable about the dive sites, currents and wildlife there is no reason to bring a book.Although, if you wanted to relax all you would have to do is take a kayak over to the shore and enjoy the many bald eagles as they come and go.

This Hideaway is by far better than any tropical vacation I have ever been on. I strongly recommend taking a visit!!




And this Youtube video gives you a sneak preview of what you can expect above and below the water at The Hideaway.




Contact us to check availability and pricing now before the current season sells out.



Travel to Port Hardy and Browning Pass Hideaway

Luckily, the diving in Port Hardy is well worth the effort of getting there.

Dive vacations at the Browning Pass Hideaway start in Port Hardy where you’ll meet up and then be transported to the scenic Queen Charlotte Strait and the HideAway Lodge.

Travel to Port Hardy By Air



Although tanks are provided at the dive lodge, there are luggage and weight restrictions on the small planes that service Port Hardy, so please ensure you check with them in advance.

Pacific Coastal Airlines has scheduled flights from the lower mainland to Port Hardy, and Westjet has flights from a number of BC and Alberta cities to Comox which is 250 km south of Port Hardy.

Float planes are available from Seattle to Port Hardy or Port McNeil with Kenmoreair.com or NW Seaplanes.

Rental cars and vans can be arranged in Port Hardy or in Comox as needed.

Travel to Port Hardy By Car

Get yourself to the Lower mainland and take either the ferry from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo (or Swartz Bay if you plan to visit and/or dive around Victoria first).

From Nanaimo take Highway 19 toward Campbell River and Port Hardy.

Car travel time from lower mainland is about 9 hours in total. You will be ready for some great diving once you get to the lodge!!
Return to Scuba Diving Lodges and Resorts in British Columbia.

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The Browning Pass Hideaway scuba diving lodge near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island