Seattle Dive Tours

Summer Scuba Diving Season Heats Up

Red Octopus

Red octopus by David Sisson

As July closes out this week, our Seattle Dive Tours summer season is in full swing. Visibility has been averaging 30′ or more on most dives and wildlife sightings are plentiful. In addition to our Giant pacific octopus, we are also seeing a related, smaller species, Red octopus (Octopus rubescens).  Not sure how to tell them apart? The Seattle Aquarium has a handy cheat sheet to help. The great visibility also allows us to see more mid-water schooling fish, such as perch and some Rockfish species. Our most abundant marine mammal at the dive sites right now is the Harbor seal. Last week one delighted our divers by swimming on the surface and diving to catch fish throughout the morning. Our California and Stellar sea lions are at their breeding rookeries along the Oregon and Washington coasts, and we expect them to return around mid-August.

Divers continue to arrive from the United States and Canada, and this summer we’ve also had divers visiting and scuba diving with us from Australia, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Most divers have commented on the clarity of the water and bright ambient light from the summer sun. We’ve had several divers request PADI courses, with Dry Suit Diver, Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox) and Advanced Open Water being the most popular. Don’t forget that while we regularly schedule all of our PADI classes monthly, we can also teach any class any day of the week for divers visiting Seattle.

Wolf eel

Wolf eel by David Sisson

Looking ahead, our warm summer should continue through August, then transition to fall in the Pacific Northwest, featuring cool, clear nights and warm, sunny days. Don’t forget to book your dive now to experience the beauty of Pacific Northwest waters for yourself.

February Advanced Open Water Certification Becomes a Snow Dive

Mike and Eric warming up

Mike and Eric warming up

We took a break from our regular dive tours in mid-February to teach the PADI Advanced Open Water certification course, and even had a rare Seattle snowstorm in the middle of the course. Our divers for the weekend were Mike, taking both the PADI Advanced Open Water certification and Dry Suit Diver courses, and Eric, taking the Dry Suit Diver course.

The first day (Saturday) started off at Redondo Beach, very popular for it’s well marked dive site and easy access. Plus we’ve had good luck finding GPO’s (Giant pacific octopus) and Wolf eel at the site. The day started off cold, but I had brought a propane heater to help keep everyone warm between dives. The first Adventure Dive of the weekend was Dry Suit Diver, which helped Mike & Eric to orient themselves to their dry suits, and also to work out weighting issues and buoyancy. After some snacks, Mike & Eric went back in to try the second Adventure Dive, Underwater Navigator. The dive had Mike navigate out and back to find a small boat on the dive site at approximately 45’, fist using natural navigation techniques, then using his compass. We had gone out to the boat on the first Adventure Dive, so he had a general idea of where it was and what was around it, plus a map for reference. Mike reported after the dive that using the compass was actually harder than using natural navigation, as there was more task loading involved, such as watching the compass & keeping it level, searching ahead, and keeping track of his buddy. Mike finished off the dive with a square pattern underwater, navigating back at the starting point. For divers using navigation, remember the key is to cooperate with your buddy, one diver navigating while the other diver searches. A dive slate can really help with communication underwater as well.

Seattle skyline by Mitchell Tillison

Seattle skyline at Alki Seacrest Park by Mitchell Tillison

After a dinner break we met back up at Alki Seacrest Park (Cove 2) across from downtown Seattle for our night dive. After a dive site briefing, we entered the water under clear skies and a beautiful nighttime view of the Seattle skyline. Playful Harbor seals followed us on our dive, using our lights to hunt for fish & invertebrates. As we surfaced, the weather topside had changed to snow showers!

Sunday morning brought 3 inches of snow to the Seattle area, and we decided to return to Alki Seacrest Park (Cove 2) instead of our original plan of Three Tree Point. First Adventure Dive was Deep Diver, followed by Search & Recovery Diver, and finally a second dry suit dive to complete the Dry Suit Diver speciality course. During the deep dive, Mike got to see how pressure effects gasses, colors, and even thinking and judgement. The search & recovery dive involved learning how to rig and use a lift bag (Mike said this was his favorite part of the weekend), tie knots, and use search patters to find Spiderman and his friends. The dry suit dive had both Mike & Eric practice buoyancy and demonstrate removing and reattaching their dry suit inflator hoses while underwater. We had our post weekend lunch and wrap up next door at Marination Ma Kai, my favorite because of the SPAM sliders & coleslaw.

Congratulations Mike & Eric!

Congratulations Mike & Eric!

Thought about earning your Advanced Open Water? Our PADI Advanced Open Water course is scheduled on the second weekend of each month, plus we can we can teach it any other day (weekends or weekdays) for divers visiting Seattle. Check out our calendar or contact us to set up your own class. We teach all of our classes with as few as one student, so that you can get the instruction you want on your schedule.