Glen Dennison was recently joined by Ryanna Yang on a pair of dives to the Lost Reef and North Bowyer. Ryanna was kind enough to share her experiences with us, check out her day!
On our way to the Lost Reef dive site, we saw these dolphins jumping around Howe Sound. From that, I already felt that that day will be extraordinary. That feeling was absolutely right. From dolphins jumping around, seeing a bioherm underwater, a breaching humpback whale, resting sea lions, a lions mane jellyfish chilling on a plumose anemone and a bald eagle resting on a tree branch, the day in Howe Sound was one of the best days I have ever had.
The Lost Reef – 1st Dive Site
Diving a site where only less than forty divers have gone and the only known air dive able glass sponge reef in the world has been a privilege. The Lost Reef has a very unique formation and an amazing story behind it. Seeing live sponges growing on top of dead sponges amazes me. I have never seen anything in this world that can grow above their dead organisms. Being able to see such organisms and seeing other creatures like squat lobsters, rockfishes and box crabs living on them makes the underwater environment so extraordinary.
I was hearing about this bioherm for a couple months now and when the day I got the opportunity to dive it came, I was so excited and was looking forward to see this astonishing formation. During the dive briefing, they were saying how the reef is at 115-120 ft underwater. I have never gone down to that depth before but I have done a couple deep dives in my life. I was a little bit nervous but at the same time very excited to see this one-of-a-kind formation that only lives underwater. When we got into the water, it took us 1.5 minutes to get down to the bottom. As we were heading down, I felt so excited as to what I would see in 115 ft. I assumed that it would be very dark and hard to take pictures of the glass sponges. Startlingly as we got to the bottom, we saw the reef right away and we swam towards it. I also took a couple pictures of the reef and hoping to get a wide-angle picture of the whole bioherm. The picture was blurry but the blurriness made the picture more distinct. (See Picture) My first observation when we saw the reef was the dark colored dead sponges at the bottom of the white living sponges. It was astounding to see, first hand, this amazing formation of glass sponges. When can you see an organism that is growing on its dead parent? Never on land but seldom underwater. While appreciating the view of the underwater world of glass sponges, my dive buddy and I saw this really big sponge that looks like a vase. In this vase-shaped sponge, there was a squat lobster crawling around it. It’s awesome to see that other sea creatures use these sponges as their habitat as well. Not only did we see squat lobster everywhere in the bioherm reef but also rockfishes swimming around and a couple box crabs chilling on top of one of the sponges. After 20 minutes of exploring the world of sponges at 115 ft, we started ascending and doing our safety stop. Even if we were only at the bioherm for 20 minutes, I feel like I saw a beautiful garden underwater that only less than 40 people have seen. 20 minutes was not a lot of time but it was enough time to see how precious the formation is and appreciate it. This dive was definitely one of my best dives I’ve done in my 3 years of diving.
On our way to our next dive site, North Bowyer, we were cruising through islands with some other boats around. From afar, our captain saw a humpback whale giving a show. We went closer to it, as close as we can get, and just watched it play. We did not expect it to breach out of the water and flap back in. It was such an amazing site to see especially being just a couple feet away from it. The humpback whale started swimming across the ocean still flapping its fin which seems like it was waving at us. It breached out of the water a couple more times. I did not expect to do some whale watching while we were out at Howe Sound but there it was, a free whale watching tour while scuba diving. What a perfect day! We were hoping to see the whale on our second dive since it seemed like it was swimming towards our second dive site. Unfortunately, luck was not with us this time.
North Bowyer – 2nd Dive Site
North Bowyer dive site is a very interesting site. It has a lot of plumose anemones and finger sea stars. There were tons of rockfishes as well. The really cool thing I saw in this site was the lions mane jellyfish (the longest known animal in the world, longer than a blue whale) on top of a plumose anemone. I don’t know if it was stuck on the anemone or eating it or just resting on it. It was a pretty epic site to see. (See Picture) It was also the site that Brendan helped in installing the mooring buoy. It is a pretty great site to bring some new divers as well.
The boat ride back to shore was another remarkable ride in Howe Sound. This time of year is when the sea lions give birth to their pups. We circled Bowyer Island and we saw some sea lions and their pups lying by the rocks. The pups were so cute trying to climb the rocks and poking their parents. There was also a bald eagle resting on one of the tree branches. It was just an amazing site to see. That day in Howe Sound was just extraordinary and one of my luckiest days to see all these creatures and experience all these amazing events. I can’t wait to explore more of British Columbia and experience these unimaginable occurrences with nature.