Washington State Dive Destination Shellfish mecca

The environment in Hood Canal makes for some of the best shellfish in the world. It also makes for some of the best diving in the world with abundant marine life and little to no current. Along with shellfish come some of the more popular marine creatures such as wolf eels and Giant Pacific Octopus. Most dive sites in the canal can be accessed by shore, but there is an area charter boat to access difficult areas.

Hoodsport, Washington is located on the South end of the canal. Within this area is ample shore diving suited to both the recreational as well as the Technical diver. Depths of 200+ feet can be reached from shore within 10 minutes of dive time, while the gradual slope is accommodating to the new diver. Visibility is dependent on weather conditions. It can be as low as 5 feet of visibility to beyond 40 feet. The water temperature at depth averages 53 degrees Fahrenheit while the surface temperature can reach into the upper 60’s during the summer months.

Hoodsport was once a popular forestry area. Over the years, with the decline of the forest industry, SCUBA diving has become a prominent tourist attraction. Within the tiny town of Hoodsport is an SDI/TDI/ERDI 5 star training facility and numerous accommodations designed around the travelling SCUBA Diver. Within a 30 minute drive is a dive charter operation which operates in the northern end of the Canal. An active diver can spend a number of days and not see a fraction of what the area has to offer.

Hoodsport’N Dive (www.hoodsportndive.com) has been operating in the area for well over 10 years.  The owners, Ron Ault and Don Kinney have extensive experience between them in military, commercial and public safety diving. The dive store has two compressors and offers both continuous flow blending of Nitrox to partial blending of Trimix using hyper filtered air which is checked for purity on a regular basis. The store also pumps Argon gas and has a 24 hour turn around on most drysuit repairs. The store caters to both the recreational as well as technical diver. They can outfit a casual weekend recreational diver or have the ability to outfit a group of technical divers requiring doubles and numerous stage bottles.

The store allows access to one of the most coveted diving locations on the Hood canal, Sund Rock. Sund Rock is a privately owned piece of land and marine sanctuary owned by the Sund Family. Over the years Ron has worked closely with the Sund family to allow access to this unique diving location. Sund Rock is a rock wall extending to a 100’ depth. Within the rock wall lives Wolf Eels, Octopus, Lingcod and numerous other species common to northwest waters. Because of the exclusivity of the site, along with the ease of entry, port-a-potty and road maintenance, a daily access fee is required for entry.

The hood canal is where much of the northwest brings new divers to be trained because of its central location and calm waters. Edmonds Technical Diving (www.etds.org ), associated with Hoodsport’N Dive, has been training in this area for approximately 9 years. Don Kinney is the primary instructor trainer and handles everything from Open water through Technical Dive Instructor training utilizing SDI/TDI and ERDI curriculum. Edmonds Technical diving refers to their training as “Immersion Diving.” Because of the area, and use of a vacation rental property, divers who sign up for the training live, eat and breathe the dive class during their stay. It is a working, diving, training vacation. If all the requirements are met, you come as a diver wanting skills and knowledge and you leave after a few days as a newly certified Advanced, Technical or public safety diver.

The rental property was built by a diver for divers. It is regularly rented to visiting Dive classes and dive clubs looking to enjoy the beauty of the Hood Canal. The 1920’s farm style house has 3 bedrooms and a sleeping area in the basement. There is a fully stocked kitchen for meals, along with a commercial sized BBQ on the back patio. In between dives you can enjoy a glass of Hoodsport wine on the top deck or watch one of the over 100 movies located in the home. The house has TV, Movies, Cable and free wireless internet access. After a dive you can enjoy the eight person hot tub while your dive gear is drying in the heated drying room.

The barn, aka Dive Locker, was built specifically for the SCUBA diver. It contains benches with ample storage for dive bags and cylinders. The room in the back can be used for additional gear storage or as a classroom. The dry room has numerous shelves and hangers for both wetsuit and drysuit divers. The rinse tank is located within the dry room to help protect the diver from the outside elements. Directly outside the dry room is an external shower to make it easier to rinse off your suits and other diving gear.

Divers coming to the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically the Hood Canal, never leave dissatisfied. From the abundant marine life and calm waters to the dive support and dive training, there is something for everyone. The canal is near the major city of Seattle with easy access to many Northwest tourist attractions. The Pacific Northwest is a must see for divers of all levels.

For Dive conditions and general questions contact Hoodsport’N dive – 360-877-6818 – www.hoodsportndive.com

For dive training at all levels contact 206-618-3096 or www.etds.org

For group accommodations on the Hood Canal contact 206-618-3096 or www.etds.org

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