West coast scores high for divers

  • Aug. 27, 2004 10:00 a.m.

By Heidi Bevington–Scuba diving opens up a world of adventure, says Masset diving instructor Channing Cey, and the west coast of the islands is one of the top five places in the world to dive.
Diving is “the kind of thing that can have a very dramatic impression on someone because it’s the door to a whole new world,” said Mr. Cey.
Just below the surface of the ocean is a community of rockfish, perch, sea anemones, wolf eels, crab, sea urchins and sometimes even a baby octopus just waiting to play, Mr. Cey said.
The islands’ cold water-it’s about 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer-is better for diving than the tropics, Mr. Cey said, because it supports more life. And people can dive at any time of the year here because the water temperature on the west coast doesn’t drop radically in the winter. In fact January and February can be a great time of year to dive because the water is so clear.
13 year old Brionne Lavoie just completed his first dive August 15 along with his mother, sister and a family friend.
“It was freaky at first, but once I got used to it, it was kind of cool,” Brionne said. He had no idea the experience would be so interesting and his mother, Claudette Lavoie, had to talk him into it, but he’s very glad he went. “We saw lots of cool things,” like fish he didn’t know existed, sea urchins and starfish in abundance, rock formations and an octopus den.
Diving does have its dangers, said Mr. Cey. Around here the biggest danger is the weather. Divers, like boaters, must have respect for the water. However, the best diving on the coast is in the nooks and crannies where rough water doesn’t pound the rocks.
Mr. Cey instructs at Rennell Sound because it’s accessible by car, but any sheltered spot on the west coast would likely be exciting to dive. Tasu and Seal Inlet are two other areas with excellent diving.
Mr. Cey is a certified diving instructor with 13 years of experience. He offers a four-day course costing $100 per day per person plus $25 for the certificate. He supplies all equipment. The course can be broken up into segments if necessary. Minimum age is 12, and the oldest person he’s trained was over 60. The maximum class size is four.
Divers do need to be in good physical condition and comfortable in water. The course can be taken any time, but the best time of year is August or September when Mr. Cey really focuses on offering courses. Mr. Cey can be reached at 626-5565.