Nanaimo Scuba Diving - Three Great Dives, One Convenient Location


scuba diving in Nanaimo - courtesy of ARSBCNanaimo scuba diving offers at least three very good dives located close together and just minutes away from the Nanaimo harbour.

And many Nanaimo dive sites have made our list as one of Vancouver Island's Best dive sites.

Nanaimo is about a 1 1/2 hour drive north from Victoria, and is also easily assessable by BC Ferry (via the Duke Point Ferry Terminal) from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen on the Lower Mainland.

And after your day of diving, you can find out what else Nanaimo is famous for - their world-famous Nanaimo bar.

Not a drinking establishment, but a delicious dessert.

For a popular and easy to follow recipe, check out the City of Nanaimo official Nanaimo Bar recipe.

The best way to try it though, is to dive in Nanaimo and then pick up and eat the decadent bar from a local bakery.

One popular Courtenay based charter operator for Nanaimo scuba diving (who typically operates daily charters anywhere between Campbell River and Nanaimo) is GreenSea Diving.

You can read about our recent GreenSea Diving 3 night dive vacation package review where we enjoyed diving the Heron Rocks area near Courtenay and the former HMCS Columbia near Campbell River.

Custom Nanaimo area wreck trek dive charter packages, wreck penetration, drysuit, enriched air and other courses can easily be arranged for you.

Another Nanaimo dive charter operator for these Nanaimo dive sites is Just Dive In Adventures or Sea Dragon Charters, who both typically operate on weekends.

Follow the links or contact us and we'll get you set up for Nanaimo dive charters.

Dive Nanaimo - The Former HMCS Saskatchewan

HMCS Saskatchewan

Dive Nanaimo - The Former HMCS Cape Breton

HMCS Cape Breton


Dive Nanaimo - The Rivtow Lion

scuba Scuba Diving in Nanaimo - courtesy of ARSBCThe third and newest artificial wreck in the Nanaimo area is the Rivtow Lion, a 47 meter (157 foot) North Sea Rescue Tug which was sunk on February 6, 2005.

Another great local non-profit organization, The Nanaimo Dive Association (NDA) acquired the ship in early 2002, finished the remainder of the clean-up and preparation operation, and sunk her in Departure Bay.

This wreck is a great shallow water artificial reef, ideal for beginner Nanaimo scuba diving wreck diver training and recreational diving all year round.

Even though the sinking is pretty recent, the ship was docked for a long time and attracted a lot of marine life on her hull. You'll also see new arrivals daily.

The Rivtow Lion - photo by Lynn Burrows - viphotoart.comThis old tug rests near perfectly in the sand in a bow down postion with a 15 degree list to the port side. The sand at the bow is 24 meters (80 feet), the bottom of the rudder is 18 meters (60 feet), the aft main deck and the bridge windows are at 14 meters (45 feet) and the top of the funnel is only 10 meters (36 feet) down in what is usually excellent, clear waters.

With all these artificial wrecks, it is easy to see why Nanaimo scuba diving has some of the world’s best diving even before you leave the harbour!

Some other favorite Nanaimo dive sites include:

Dodd Narrows

Dodd narrows is an exciting drift dive with currents up to 9 knots and loads of colorful marine life.

Clarke Rock

Clarke Rock is a great site for divers of all experience levels. Located in Hammond Bay, this rocky pinnacle is home to a wide variety of marine life which seems to be different every time we go there. You will have a good chance of seeing Octopus and wolf eels here.

Gabriola Bluffs

Gabriola Bluffs are sheer walls that drop into the ocean drop to a depth of 270 feet! There are lots of nooks and crannies to look for critters of all types and you will most likely encounter a Giant Pacific Octopus on this dive. Divers should have good buoyancy skills for this dive.

Gabriola Passage

Gabriola Passage is a drift dive done close to slack tide as the currents here can also reach 8 knots. Due to the constant movement of water and mixing of nutrients, there is a great variety of marine life here and lots of it.

Orlebar Point

Orlebar Point is a great wall dive off Gabriola Island. Work your way down through the shallows to a depth of about 60 feet and you come to a sheer wall and overhang that reaches depths of over 200 feet. Lots of invertebrates can be found here as the current through this area can be very strong.

Snake Island Wall

Snake Island wall drops to well over 600 feet and has a nice overhang once you get past 100 feet. Lots of Plumose anemones make their homes on the wall and you may even run into a Harbour Seal or two.

Snake Island Seal Dive

What can our Nanaimo dive charter operator say but these guys are great fun to dive with! They’re a lot more laid back and shy than the Sealions we encounter around here. This is a great photo-op and these guys won’t intimidate you like the sea lions can. This is a very shallow dive (10-25 feet) and if you prefer, you can just snorkel it, but many prefer to use their tanks.

Jessie Island

Over time, the ocean has eroded this sandstone island, creating some very unusual underwater topography here. There is tons of life on this little wall and we have seen Octopus as well as juvenile Wolf Eels here. This Nanaimo scuba diving site is a very easy dive suitable for all skill levels. The maximum depth is about 80 feet.

Please remember to plan your dive and dive your plan.

One popular Courtenay based charter operator for Nanaimo scuba diving (who typically operates daily charters anywhere between Campbell River and Nanaimo) is GreenSea Diving.

Another Nanaimo dive charter operator for these Nanaimo dive sites is Just Dive In Adventures or Sea Dragon Charters, who both typically operate on weekends.

Follow the links or contact us and we'll get you set up for Nanaimo dive charters.

Dive Safe!



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