Our friend and guest contributor Alisha Postma of Dive Buddies 4 Life joins us today to extol the wonders of Canadian diving. Makes us want to go north for a visit.
For all those divers who think Canada is a write off dive country, I’m here to tell you, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Sure we may only enjoy 4 months of summer, have cold northern temperatures and play a lot of hockey, but we also love to dive. With 202,080 kilometers of coastline, diving in Canada offers some of the most pristine and untouched marine environments in the world.
Diving in Canada is Cold
It’s very understandable that cold water diving gets a bad reputation - it certainly takes a special kind of person to brave the elements. Maybe it’s the copious amounts of thermal protection or maybe it’s the fact that you need so much weight to compensate for the gear. Regardless of why, for most people diving in cold water is unpleasant, awkward and lacks the thrill of the sunny south.
Depending on where you live in the world, your concept of hot and cold water will vary considerably, but most divers agree that Canada is COLD! Most Canadian divers use either a drysuit or 7mm, two piece wetsuit with gloves and a hood to weather the low temperatures.
The Canadian Marine Flora and Fauna
One thing prospective divers need to wrap their head around when contemplating a dive in Canada, is the visibility and marine life expectancy. As much as we’d love to say we have tonnes of biodiversity and can see for miles, the reality is diving in Canada isn’t like diving a tropical reef. Don’t get me wrong, there is flashes of brilliant colour here and there, in certain fish, anemones and algae, but in all honesty most of the plant, substrate and even water tone will be a variation of brown, green and beige.
Some Top Diving Ideas For Canada
Canada is a huge country with plenty to see and do, both above and below the water. Being the second largest country in the world, don’t expect to dive it all in one shot. Here are a few Canadian dive adventures to put on your scuba diving list:
Dive the Bay of Fundy
If extreme and unique appeal to you, try your hand at diving in the Bay of Fundy.
Home to the largest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy is nestled right in between the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Because of the extreme tidal range the flora and fauna in this area is bountiful, but the visibility and water can be unpredictable so make sure you visit Fundy with a knowledgeable dive guide.
A definite spot to check out, and one of our favorite dive sites on the east coast of Canada, is Deer Island, part of a small collection of islands at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. Here the largest tides in the world form a mighty and powerful whirlpool like effect during high and low tides. As daunting as it sounds the underwater biodiversity is so bountiful I have yet to find another site like it on the Canadian east coast.
Indulge in an Ice Dive
There is nothing more fitting than putting “Ice Dive” and “Canada” in the same sentence.
The frozen world is a place unlike anything you may have explored to date. It’s super clear and majestic, but if not done correctly can also be very dangerous. Strap on your drysuit an sink into some of the chilliest waters you have every dipped your fins in. Canada is the perfect place to dust off that ice diving bucket list item.
The PADI ice diving course can easily be done over a weekend with a small amount of book study and three ice dives. With tonnes of inland lakes that freeze over in January, February and March, in Canada you will have lots of choice on where to do your ice diving course, but be warned ice diving is not an adventure for the fainthearted.
Explore the Nova Scotia Coastline
The maritime province of Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s ocean playground and with good reason. The beautiful expanse of coastline, extensive fisherman population and famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse make this region of Canada a fun filled place to visit all year round.
Diving in Nova Scotia is a very popular hobby. There are tonnes of boat and shore diving sites that can be visited by many-a-diver. For those with their own transportation and dive equipment, the shore diving sites are easy to find and even easier to dive. Here is a small list of our favorite Halifax and area shore diving sites.
If you are more of a boat diver, there are local dive shops that will be more than happy to take you out to the many wrecks resting at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Dive in Beautiful BC
You haven’t dove in Canada until you have sunk beneath the wave of British Columbia.
Canada’s west coast is a fan favorite among tourists. Maybe it’s the incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, or maybe it’s the azure blue alpine lakes, whatever the case, visit once and the beauty will have you coming back again and again.
From amazing macro life to creature riddled walls, it should come as no surprise that the emerald waters of Canada’s most western province is a jewel to dive. Between shore dives and boat dives, the sites to explore are endless and the diving season is open all-year round!
Visit Lake Country Ontario
That’s right! If you want to try diving in a lake, Ontario is the freshwater diving capital of Canada.
Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, and Ontario is home to 4 of them. The Great Lakes and their associated rivers were, and still are, a major transportation route in North America. They are also known for causing violent storms that arise quickly and unpredictably. Because of this tonnes of shipwrecks can be found littered along the bottom of the lakebed.
Talk to any lake diver and everyone will have a different opinion on which lake diving sites are the best. But the few that seem to remain a fan favourite are Tobermory, 1000 Islands and the crystal clear waters of Lake Superior.
For divers looking to get their fins wet in lake country, expect to get your fill of wreck diving.
Come and Dive Canada
Sometimes adventures happen where you least expect them, and in Canada the underwater world is a relatively untouched place just waiting to be explored. Canadian waters may be cold, but there is still so much life, fragility, and unique things to see. Don’t let the cold stop you from trying a dive or two in our neck of the woods!
About Alisha Postma of Dive Buddies 4 Life:
From staring down a 300 lb sand tiger shark to currently being a certified PADI divemaster, Alisha Postma’s resume is pretty jam packed with extreme water hobbies. A scuba diver, photographer and ocean activist with a background in marine biology, Alisha loves being underwater and the only thing she’s missing is a tail. Alisha and her husband Joey are plunging into as many strange and exotic waters as possible and share their adventures on their scuba diving blog. Together they hope to promote ocean conservation and help the world understand what a beautiful place the aquatic realm can be. Connect with Alisha and Joey from Dive Buddies 4 Life on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram.