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Location: Bamfield (Canada (west))
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Bamfield is a small town (pop. 200) located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, at the mouth of Barkley Sound, and it takes about four or five hours to get there by car from Vancouver. Despite the excellent diving to be found within close proximity to the town, Bamfield is perhabs better known as a salmon fishing and sea kayaking hotspot. Fortunately for divers, both the Deer and Broken Island groups, which provide such excellent conditions for the aformentioned above-water activities, make for excellent under water scenery as well.

Bamfield's dive sites are of two main varieties; pinnacles that are open to the pacific ocean, and more sheltered sites scatered among the many small islands that dot the area. The open pinnacle sites usually offer more challenging diving, as they are exposed to the weather rolling in off of the ocean, and heavy swells and surge are often factors, even at depths of 60 ft. or more. As a result of both the wild and unpredictable weather and the many rocks and reefs that make boat navigation so tricky in the area (and the diving so great), there are also a number of divable wrecks around Bamfield.

The variety of underwater life in Barkley Sound is outstanding. Not only are the Pacific Northwest's most saught after big creatures, such as six gill sharks, stellar and california sea lions, wolf eels, and giant pacific octopus present in abundance, but the area also teems with macro and invertibrate life. Especially on the exposed pinnacles, it seems as though every inch of rock is covered in life. From tiny orange cup corals to white and orange plumous anemones to giant acorn barnicles to astonishingly large california mussels. Also plentiful are many types of different tunicates, countless species of crabs, huge cabezons and lingcod, nudibranchs, sculpins, and about six or seven different species of rockfish.

As mentioned above there is much more to Bamfiled than just diving. The sea kayaking and fishing are both world class. One of the draws of Bamfiled as a fishing destination is that great class salmon fishing can be found only a five minute boat ride away from the dock. This means that particularly avid fishermen could even get a few fish in between dives! There is also a beautiful beach about a twenty minute walk from Bamfiled harbour, making it the perfect place to experience a spectacular west coast sunset, or just catch some rays during a day off from diving.

No matter what time of year, the weather in Bamfield is unpredictable and varied at best. One may experience raging storms in the summer or sparkling sunshine in the winter; systems move in fast off of the open ocean. That said, locals do point to August and October as usually reliabe months, weather wise. As for visibility underwater, the winter months are usually the best, but there is a higher risk of rough weather cancelling dives at some of the more exposed (and best) sites. However, during a recent trip in November, we were lucky enough to have five days of perfect sunny weather, with virtually no swell to accompany the excellent viz! Don't let the winter put you off diving in Bamfield.
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Most visitors thought
Bamfield was:
Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews Ranked as Fantastic by independant reviews
Non diving activities: Lots to see and do!
Language: English
Money: CAD
Stability: No travelling problems expected
More Information: Country Bio from Lonely Planet